This project involves the study of nanostructured materials using Ab-Initio, molecular dynamics, and Monte Carlo modelling tools do theoretically develop and practically implement new materials suitable for thermoelectric applications. The modelling tools are used to explore effects such as surface roughness on phonon conduction, quantum confinement on electron transport, and heterostructure influences on overall electrical and thermal conduction properties of a material. Specialize software is then used to predict structures composed of common elements that may be synthesizable with low cost fabrication technologies for the purpose of building practical, high efficiency thermoelectrics for applications in heat recovery, power generation plants, and scalable concentrated solar applications.
Journal: Thin Solid Films, vol. 592A, no. 0040-6090, pp. 76–80..
Abstract: Zinc oxide (ZnO) is electrochemically grown using Zn(NO3)2 with both platinum and zinc counter electrodes. The effect of the counter electrode at different potentials and varying durations on the quality of the resulting ZnO film is examined. Measurements included time-varying pH, surface morphology, deposition current, film thickness, and crystallinity. It was observed that films grown at high potentials or for long durations using an inert electrode caused a drop in solution pH due to zinc ion exhaustion in the growth medium. In the standard electrochemical reaction, zinc ions are consumed faster than nitrate ions, causing hydrogen ions resulting from the electrolysis of water at the counter electrode to persist in the growth solution. The resulting acidity when at a sufficiently low pH significantly inhibits further growth of ZnO and damages the existing film. The growth of high quality, thicker films using Zn(NO3)2 therefor requires mitigative measures such as using a zinc counter electrode, replacing lost zinc, or by diluting the acid in the growth solution.