First Month: Method Development

Before we got the photolysis lamp (a xenon arc lamp), we did some preliminary trials by exposing the brown carbon to sunlight the old fashioned way.

[Read more…]

Abstract- Characterization of Boron Nitride Nanotube Polymer Nanocomposites for Thermal Management and Structural Performance Materials

Thermal management of the heat produced in ever smaller electronic components is a significant challenge and often limits the performance of CPU’s and other high-performance electronics. Materials used for this purpose must demonstrate high temperature stability, high thermal conductance, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, and most importantly, must be electrically insulating to avoid short circuiting electronic components. Most polymers can fulfill one or two of the conditions, but often fail at being thermally conductive (0.1-0.5 W/ m·K)−1) (Yung, Xu, & Choy, 2016). Embedding the polymer with a nanofiller such as Carbon Nanotubes (CNT’s) can enhance the polymer’s thermal conductivity, but the chief weakness of CNT’s is that they are electrically conductive, making them an invalid choice for electronic thermal management. This is what makes Boron  Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT’s) such an exciting choice as a nanofiller. They are predicted to rival or outperform CNTs in many aspects, including strength, stiffness, thermal conductivity, thermal stability, and chemical stability. In a study comparing BNNT’s to CNT’s, an epoxy composite loaded with just 5% in weight of BNNT’s (Yung et al., 2016) demonstrated a threefold increase in thermal conductivity . There exists no commercial material currently that demonstrates the same amount of potential in electronic thermal management as BNNT’s

[Read more…]

Research Check-In Part 3

It has been confirmed by spectroscopy techniques that my desired ligand has been synthesized, although in small quantity. The next step is to attach the ligand to a metal in order to form a catalytic compound. The chemical reaction which combines the ligand and the metal was performed and the resulting substance was allowed to sit undisturbed in an attempt to crystallize. In this method of crystallization, the substance is dissolved in a liquid solvent #1, which is placed either below or on top of a liquid solvent #2 in a vial. The substance cannot be dissolved in solvent #2. As solvents #1 and #2 begin to mix, the substance slowly travels from #1 to #2 and precipitates out into solid crystals. Once the crystals have precipitated, they can be electrochemically tested for hydrogen oxidation. I will soon be synthesizing more of the initial ligand so that more metal compound syntheses can be attempted.

Next Step: Titanium Dioxide

During my last week of research, I started a new phase of my project. After completing the study of the electron transfer dynamics of the dye Rhodamine 560 on glass, I moved on to studying the behavior of this dye on titanium dioxide. While we can learn a lot from the studies of R560 on glass especially when we compare it to other rhodamine dyes on glass, that entire phase of experimentation was just a control for comparison with the results on titanium dioxide. In actual dye-sensitized solar cells, the application of this research, titanium dioxide or some other semiconductor is necessary for the generation of electricity.

[Read more…]

Single Molecule Blinking Traces

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I had taken a break from trying to measure the fluorescence lifetime of individual molecules of the organic dye Rhodamine 560, since I was unable to get a lifetime curve with a high enough signal to noise ratio at single molecule concentrations. Instead, I returned to a technique called single molecule blinking, which allows us to observe changes in emission intensity while an individual molecule is under continuous excitation.

[Read more…]