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11.
Amorphous nanocomposite of polycarbosilanes and aluminum oxide
Andraž Mavrič, 2018, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: This work presents a paradigm for high temperature stabilization of bulk amorphous aluminium oxide. The thermodynamic stabilization is achieved by preparing a nanocomposite, where polymethylsilane dendritic molecules are dispersed in an aluminium hydroxide gel. Upon heat-treatment the gel transforms to the amorphous aluminium oxide that is stable up to 900°C. The dispersion of the macromolecules and their covalent bonding to the alumina matrix induce homogeneously distributed strain fields that keep the alumina amorphous. The first part of the thesis focuses on the synthesis, characterization and solubility properties of the dendritic polymethylsilane. The polymethylsilane is synthetized by electrochemical polymerization from trichloromethylsilane monomer. The polymerization mechanism, involving a single polymerization pathway, is identified. The polymer growth proceeds through reduction of the monomers to the silyl anions and their addition to the growing polymer. The solubility of three chemically related but topologically different polysilanes (linear, dendritic and network) were studied by dynamic light scattering. At room temperature the agglomerates in a range from 500 to 1300 nm are present. They undergo de-agglomeration at slightly elevated temperatures of around 40°C. The de-agglomeration results in formation of stable solutions, where a hydrodynamic diameter of the individual polymer molecules was measured to be in a range from 20 to 40 nm. The obtained diameters of two dendritic polymethylsilane macromolecules, synthesized under different electrolysis conditions, are much larger than the theoretical size estimated for an ideal dendrimer. We determined by 29Si NMR that the reason for this is in a large number of branching irregularities (defects) contained in the molecular structure. Combining the experimental values obtained by DLS and density measurements with a structural model that considers the branching irregularities, it is shown that the inclusion of the defects allows the dendritic polymer to exceed the sterical limitations and form the hyperbranched dendritic structure. The final size depends on a relative amount of the branching defects. In the second part, the synthetized polymethylsilane molecules were successfully used for the nanocomposite formation. The aluminium hydroxide gel with the dispersed polymethylsilane molecules was prepared as a precursor. Upon heat-treatment it gives the amorphous aluminium oxide stable up to 900°C. The dispersed macromolecules induce homogeneously distributed strain fields that keep the aluminium oxide amorphous during the thermal treatment the dispersed macromolecules covalently bind to the matrix, inducing the interface strain. The amorphous state was confirmed by the presence of penta-coordinated aluminium detected by 27Al NMR and a low bandgap measured by UV-vis absorption spectroscopy.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Keywords: amorphous aluminium oxide, polymethylsilane, nanocomposite, electropolymerization, solubility, agglomeration, de-agglomeration, dendrimer, hyperbranched dendritic structure, dynamic light scattering, thermal analysis, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy
Published: 19.07.2018; Views: 2123; Downloads: 110
.pdf Fulltext (5,07 MB)

12.
The detection and study of biologically active compounds in environmental processes and samples
Mojca Žorž Furlan, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Environmental pollution in the 21th century still represents a global problem for human and animal health. Despite general awareness about released substances and their degradation products their fate and possibilities of removal are not well investigated. Even though the chemicals released are dispersed and diluted in water cycles, their poor biodegradability and/or strong accumulation can result in the intoxication of exposed organisms. Similarly, as a part of the environment, food can get contaminated by bioactive substances during different steps of preparation. Not only artificial compounds such as pesticides or pharmaceuticals, but also natural toxins enter the food chain and impact negatively on humans' and animals' health. In addition, the activity of some bacteria can influence the production of amines from amino acids after fermentation, to which the human body responds with several symptoms of intoxication. Several analytical methods for the determination of trace levels of broad range contaminants have been developed. Due to the largely robust, selective and sensitive features of the conventional (rearguard) techniques, they represent the first choice for analysing multiple organic compounds in frequently very complex matrices. However, screening (vanguard) methods are paving the way in the chemical analytics as a solution that provides simplicity and rapid analytical responses with binary (yes/no) answers. They require little or no sample treatment as well as more economically-efficient instrumentation. The combination of vanguard-rearguard analytical strategies hence offers a compromise between classical analytical figures of merit and productivity-related characteristics. In the first part of our research feasibility studies for the application of TLS and/or TLM in novel analytical methods for the determination of lipid-lowering drug atorvastatin and a mycotoxin ochratoxin A . The survey on atorvastatin performed spectrophotometrically has shown a decrease of ATV-sulpho-vanillin product at the wavelength of its maximum absorbance after dilution by organic solvent, which was investigated due to the possible increasing of the method sensitivity. As the predicted LODs that could be obtained by TLM (0.3 mg/L) could not reach the concentration of ATV usually present in the environment (ng/L-g/L) further experiments on this subject were therefore not justified. On the other hand, the ELISA assay for the determination of ochratoxin A was performed. In case of μFIA-TLM, the measurements were influenced by high background signal resulting in high LODs of TLM (470 pg/mL), which is known as a background limited technique. It was estimated that the LODs of standard ELISA assay could not be significantly improved, therefore no further research was conducted in this direction. In the second part of the dissertation, a sensitive rearguard system by coupling HPLC and TLS for the determination of biogenic amines in wine samples was developed. Putrescine, cadaverine, histamine and tyramine were separated and detected on a HPLC-TLS system after derivatization by dabsyl chloride. The method was optimized in terms of chromatographic conditions and in terms of TLS parameters. Also, the sensitivity of the newly developed method was evaluated by comparing the TLS detection with DAD detection in terms of LOD values, where TLS showed 3.6-fold improvement compared to DAD. Afterwards, the standard addition calibration was performed and evaluated for its recoveries (86−117%) in the determination of the four BAs. The applicability of the novel method was tested by the analysis of real white and red wine samples and by comparing the results to the standard HPLC-FL method and concentrations of BAs in wine samples were in good accordance. In addition, the dabsylated BAs showed better stability compared to the OPA derivatives as they have not lost the peak intensity after 17h of storage. In the third part, a vanguard system for detection of the overall biogenic amines concentration was developed by employing μFIA-TLM. Initially, NH4Cl standard solutions were applied in the indophenol reaction for batch mode, off-line μFIA-TLM and in an on-line indophenol formation for μFIA-TLM detection. By adding 50 % of EtOH to indophenol we obtained 9-fold improvement. In addition, indophenol showed good stability under TLM conditions. We optimized the microfluidic and TLM parameters in the off-line and on-line indophenol reaction. The addition of 5% ethanol to the reagent in the on-line reaction resulted in the 3-fold improvement of the signal-to-noise ratio. Further on, the overall reaction, including the enzymatic and the following indophenol reaction, was optimized by choosing the optimal buffer (pH=7, 0.5 M) and alkaline conditions (2M NaOH). The influence of interferences from amino compounds was also evaluated and discussed. The off-line and on-line μFIA-TLM were evaluated by their performance characteristics. The LOD for ammonia detection reached 2.3 μM and the applicability in ammonia detection in water samples was discussed. Similar LOD of 3.2 μM was obtained for the overall concentration of BAs and LOD of 3.8 μM for histamine, which is more than 4-folds lower value as the lowest suggested limits of intake for histamine in wine samples (2 mg/L; 18 μM). Finally, an immobilization procedure on magnetic nanoparticles was developed for the possible implementation of the selected enzyme in a miniaturized biosensor.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Keywords: thermal lens spectrometry, thermal lens microscopy, high performance liquid chromatography, microfluidics, biogenic amines, microbial transglutaminase, indophenol (Berthelot) reaction
Published: 04.06.2018; Views: 1600; Downloads: 146
.pdf Fulltext (2,90 MB)

13.
PHOTO-EXCITATION ENERGY INFLUENCE ON THE PHOTOCONDUCTIVITY OF ORGANIC SEMICONDUCTORS
Nadiia Pastukhova, 2018, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: In this work, we experimentally studied the influence of photoexcitation energy influence on the charge transport in organic semiconductors. Organic semiconductors were small molecules like corannulene, perylene and pentacene derivatives, polymers such as polythiophene and benzothiophene derivatives, and graphene, along with combinations of these materials in heterojunctions or composites. The first part of this study is focused on the photoexcitation energy influence on the transient photoconductivity of non-crystalline curved π-conjugated corannulene layers. The enhanced photoconductivity, in the energy range where optical absorption is absent, is deduced from theoretical predictions of corannulene gas-phase excited state spectra. Theoretical analysis reveals a consistent contribution involving transitions to Super Atomic Molecular Orbitals (SAMOs), a unique set of diffuse orbitals typical of curved π-conjugated molecules. More, the photoconductivity of the curved corannulene was compared to the π-conjugated planar N,N′-1H,1H- perfluorobutyldicyanoperylene-carboxydi-imide (PDIF-CN2), where the photoexcitation energy dependence of photocurrent closely follows the optical absorption spectrum. We next characterized charge transport in poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) layers deposited from solution. Our results indicate that time-of-flight (TOF) mobility depends on the photoexcitation energy. It is 0.4× 10 −3 cm 2 /Vs at 2.3 eV (530 nm) and doubles at 4.8 eV (260 nm). TOF mobility was compared to field-effect (FET) mobility of P3HT field-effect transistors (OFETs). The FET mobility was similar to the 2.3 eV excitation TOF mobility. In order to improve charge mobility, graphene nanoparticles were blended within a P3HT solution before the deposition. We found that the mobility significantly improves upon the addition of graphene nanoparticles of a weight ratio as low as 0.2 %. FET mobility increases with graphene concentration up to a value of 2.3× 10 −2 cm 2 /Vs at 3.2 %. The results demonstrate that phase segregation starts to influence charge transport at graphene concentration of 0.8 % and above. Hence, the graphene cannot form a bridged conduction channel between electrodes, which would cancel the semiconducting effect of the polymer composite. An alternative approach to enhance mobility is to optimize the molecular ordering of organic semiconductors. For that purpose, we studied an innovative nanomesh device. Free-standing nanomesh devices were used to form nanojunctions of N,N′- iiDioctyl-3,4,9,10-perylenedicarboximide (PTCDI-C8) nanowires and crystalline bis(triisopropylsilylethinyl)pentacene (TIPS-PEN). We characterized the photocurrent response time of this novel nanomesh scaffold device. The photoresponse time depends on the photon energy. It is between 4.5 − 5.6 ns at 500 nm excitation wavelength and between 6.7 − 7.7 ns at 700 nm excitation wavelength. In addition, we found that thermal annealing reduces charge carrier trapping in crystalline nanowires. This confirms that the structural defects are crucial to obtaining high photon-to-charge conversion efficiency and subsequent transport from pn junction in heterostructured materials. Structural defects also influence the power conversion efficiency of organic heterostructured photovoltaics (OPVs). Anticipating that polymers with different backbone lengths produce different level of structural defects, we examined charge transport dependence on the molecular weight of poly[4,8-bis(5-(2- ethylhexyl)thiophen-2-yl)benzo[1,2-b;4,5-b']dithiophene-2,6-diyl-alt-(4-(2- ethylhexyl)-3-fluorothieno[3,4-b]thiophene-)-2-carboxylate-2-6-diyl] (PTB7-Th) from 50 kDa to 300 kDa. We found p-type hopping transport in PTB7-Th, characterized by 0.1 – 3× 10 −2 cm 2 /Vs mobility, which increases with temperature and electric field. The polymer molecular weight exhibits a non-trivial influence on charge transport. FET mobility in the saturation regime increases with molecular weight. A similar trend is observed in TOF mobility and FET mobility in the linear regime, except for the 100kDa polymer, which manifests in the highest mobility due to reduced charge trapping. The lowest trapping at the dielectric interface of OFET is observed at 200 kDa. In addition, the 200 kDa polymer exhibits the lowest activation energy of the charge transport. Although the 100 kDa polymer indicates the highest mobility, OPVs using the 200 kDa polymer exhibit the best performance in terms of power conversion efficiency.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Keywords: organic semiconductors, optical absorption spectroscopy, time-of-flight photoconductivity, transient photocurrent spectroscopy, organic thin film transistors, atomic force microscopy, superatomic molecular orbitals, pn heterojunction, organic nanowires, graphene, composites, charge mobility, charge trapping, temperature dependence, photodetector, photovoltaic, solar cell, organic electronics
Published: 08.10.2018; Views: 1843; Downloads: 77
.pdf Fulltext (4,56 MB)

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DETEKCIJA KOVINSKIH KOMPLEKSOV IN ORGANOKOVINSKIH SPOJIN V VZORCIH IZ OKOLJA S SPEKTROMETRIJO TERMIČNIH LEČ
Leja Goljat, 2019, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Environmental pollution is one of the greatest challenges that the world is facing today. Toxic compounds, such as pesticides, allergens, pharmaceuticals, toxins and heavy metals are widely present in the air, water and soil, and can affect the health of people and animals even in small quantities, as well as they may cause long- or short-term damage in plants [Hill, 1997]. Heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, cadmium…) are widely spread in the environment. They derive from a number of sources, including mining, industrial wastes and vehicle emissions [Tchounwou et al., 2012]. They are easily incorporated into biological molecules and exert their toxic effects by displacing essential metals of a lower binding power in biologically active molecules or by acting as noncompetitive inhibitors of enzymes, affecting neurological, reproductive, renal and hematological systems [Sunil D’Souza et al., 2003; Heavy-Metal Pollution, 2018]. Metals form countless compounds (e.g. metal complexes and organometallic compounds) which are essential for living organisms (vitamin B12, hemoglobin, chlorophyll) and/or have a wide range of applications in industry and other areas, including analytical chemistry. Because of the potential risk which toxic metals represent to the living organisms and also because of the importance of some essential metals, different analytical techniques and detection methods have been developed for studies of their occurrence, fate and concentration in the environment and in organisms. However, providing a required sensitivity for determination and speciation of different metals and their compounds, especially in small- volume samples is still a challenge. Therefore, general objectives of this dissertation were development of novel analytical methods for sensitive, reliable and fast determination of metal species, based on highly sensitive optothermal technique thermal lens spectrometry (TLS), which can be used as detection tool following colorimetric reaction of a selected metal ion or for direct detection of colored organometallic compounds. This dissertation is composed of the following chapters: introduction, research goals, theoretical background, results and discussion, conclusion and references. The core of this dissertation is presented in the fifth chapter (results and discussion), which is divided into three parts. They separately cover development of methods for determination of iron redox species, pyoverdine and Fe-pyoverdine complexes and mercury. Pyoverdine is a siderophore, excreted by a certain bacteria in order to scavenge iron in the environment and is closely related to the chemistry of iron in such biological systems. Therefore, the first two parts are closely related. Procedures for batch mode thermal lens microscopy (TLM), flow-injection thermal lens sprectrometry (FIA-TLS) and µFIA-TLM (flow injection and TLS detection in microspace) were developed for Fe(II) and Fe(III) determination, based on colorimetric reaction of Fe(II) with 1,10-Phenanthroline. All these procedures were focused on cloudwater examination with a tendency to minimize sample consumption but at the same time preserve low limits of detection (LOD) and limits of quantification (LOQ). TLM measurements with highly collimated probe beam were performed in a 100 μm optical path length cell (40 µL volume), which resulted in a considerably smaller sample volume requirement (500 µL in total) and consumption, as compared to UV-Vis spectrophotometry, which required at least 25 mL of sample due to large volume (almost 30 mL) of the 10 cm optical path-length sample cell. LODs for mode-mismatched TLM were 0.16 and 0.14 µM for Fe(II) and Fe(total) (sum of Fe(II) and Fe(III) concentrations), respectively, while LODs for UV-Vis spectrophotometry were 0.01 µM for both Fe(II) and Fe(total). By using the mode mismatched TLM we were able to detect concentrations corresponding to absorbances as low as 1.5 × 10-5, while the lowest absorbance detectable on the UV-Vis spectrophotometer corresponded to 1.1 × 10-3, despite the use of the 10 cm optical path-length cell. Another important step in the development of new methods for Fe(II) and Fe(III) determination was the use of TLS detection in FIA (FIA-TLS). By injecting 50 µL of the sample into the FIA-TLS system, cca. 10 times lower LODs were achieved (1 × 10-3 µM for Fe(II) and 8 × 10-4 µM for Fe(total)), as compared to the UV- Vis spectrophotometry. Nevertheless, the development of μFIA-TLM method, with on-line colorimetric reaction for Fe(II) and Fe(III) determination is considered as the most important achievement of this study. The results show that despite 100 times shorter optical path length and low sample consumption (3 µL of each sample/injection) compared to UV-Vis spectrophotometry, LODs for µFIA-TLM were 0.10 and 0.07 μM for Fe(II) and Fe(total) respectively, which is sufficiently for cloudwater analysis, since concentrations, lower than 0.1 μM are not expected [Parazols et al., 2006; Deguillaume et al., 2014]. Linear range for Fe(II) and Fe(III) determination by μFIA-TLM was between 0.1 and 70 µM. To test the accuracy of this method, artificial cloudwater was prepared, spiked with different amounts of Fe(II) and Fe(III) and analyzed for iron content by µFIA-TLM and UV-Vis spectrophotometry. Good agreement was observed between the two methods. To ascertain the ruggedness of the method 7 (or more) replicate determinations at two different concentrations for both, Fe(II) and Fe(total) in artificial cloudwater were carried out on day 1 (replicates were measured instantly after fortification), day 2 and day 5. A student’s t-test (p=0.05) was applied to compare 3 sets of obtained data (day 1, day 2 and day 5) and showed that sets are not significantly different from each other. Considering very low sample volume requirement of µFIA-TLM, this should be the method of choice for determination of Fe(II) and Fe(III) in investigations of processes in cloudwater, where multiparameter analysis is desired (determination of other ions, ligands, microbial counts, etc.). When larger sample volumes are available, FIA-TLS can be used for accurate determination of iron species at lowest concentration levels. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was applied for separation and detection of pyoverdine (PVD), produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens 36b5, a bacterial strain isolated from the aqueous phase of clouds at the Puy de Dôme station (1465 m, France). Reversed-phase (RP) chromatography (RP-18 chromatographic column Hypersil gold), hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) (ZIC®-Hilic column) and three different detection systems (diode-array (DAD), spectrofluorimetry (FLD) and TLS) were tested for their performance in separation and determination of pyoverdines and corresponding complexes of pyoverdine with iron (Fe(III)-PVDs). PVDs and Fe(III)-PVD complexes could not be separated and quantified by applying HILIC technique, therefore it was concluded, that HILIC is not suitable for HPLC-DAD and also not for HPLC-TLS, since the method should offer a simultaneous sensitive detection of free PVDs as well as Fe(III)-PVD complexes in a single chromatographic run. Since pyoverdine standards were available only as a mixture of several different forms of PVDs, whereby the exact composition was unknown, the quantification of each of the four major specie (two fluorescent PVDs and two nonfluorescent Fe(III)-PVDs) in the standard, which was obtained from Université Clermont Auvergne, Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand, was performed. When applying Hypersil gold column, a linear correlation between fluorescence intensity and absorbance of each component was observed in a concentration range 3–24 µg/mL, whereby LODs were estimated to be 0.03–0.04 µg/mL for each of the major PVD species (HPLC-DAD). Even though HPLC-FLD method provided cca. 100 times lower LODs, it is not the method of choice for determination of PVD species in cloudwater, because it does not allow detection of PVD complexes with Fe(III). When comparing HPLC-TLS and HPLC-DAD, LODs were 5 to 8 times lower in case of HPLC-TLS, which was a significant improvement. Furthermore, recoveries (89–111 %) at two concentration levels of four PVD species in two independent samples, showed good reliability of the method. Almost all mercury in uncontaminated drinking-water is thought to be in the form of Hg2+ [WHO, 2010]. Therefore, the method for Hg2+determination based on colorimetric reaction with triamterene, described originally by Al-Kady and Abdelmonem was further investigated in this study, as well as the possibilities of application of this reaction for Hg2+ determination by TLS. The stoichiometry of the complex formation was determined by the method of continuous variations and saturation experiment, suggesting formation of the complex with the formula Hg2-triamterene. The obtained value of the molar absorption coefficient was 9988 Lmol-1cm-1 at 403 nm, which significantly contradicts the existing data in literature, which reports the molar absorption coefficient of 5.32 × 104 Lmol-1cm-1 [Al-Kady and Abdelmonem, 2013]. Even though the spectrophotometric results were not encouraging for triamterene as colorimetric reagent for Hg2+ determination, it was further investigated for its performance in TLS system. Fe(II)-1,10-phenanthroline (ferroin) was used for comparison, because it was well studied for TLS applications previously. The results showed that Hg2-triamterene in solutions was degraded when it was exposed to the light of the excitation beam. Due to the lower molar absorptivity than reported in literature, fotodegradation and unfavorable complex stoichiometry, triamterene was not confirmed as a suitable colorimetric reagent for highly sensitive Hg2+ determination by TLS. In summary, this dissertation investigates alternative approaches for analysis of metal complexes and organometallic compounds in small-volume environmental water samples. Methods, which were developed in this research, could potentially serve as improvements of existing technologies, to facilitate analysis of such samples, by offering simple handling of samples and superior sensitivity over the UV-Vis spectrophotometry.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Keywords: thermal lens spectrometry, thermal lens microscopy, high performance liquid chromatography, microfluidics, metal complexes, organometallic compounds, iron, pyoverdine, mercury
Published: 05.09.2019; Views: 832; Downloads: 45
.pdf Fulltext (3,65 MB)

18.
Elucidation of Donor:Acceptor Phase Separation in Nonfullerene Organic Solar Cells and Its Implications on Device Performance and Charge Carrier Mobility
Sebastian F. Hoefler, Georg Haberfehlner, Thomas Rath, Andreas Keilbach, Mathias Hobisch, Alexander Dixon, Egon Pavlica, Gvido Bratina, Gerald Kothleitner, Ferdinand Hofer, Gregor Trimmel, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: In bulk-heterojunction solar cells, the device performance strongly depends on the donor and acceptor properties, the phase separation in the absorber layer, and the formation of a bicontinuous network. While this phase separation is well explored for polymer:fullerene solar cells, only little is known for polymer:nonfullerene acceptor solar cells. The main hurdle in this regard is often the chemical similarity of the conjugated polymer donor and the organic nonfullerene acceptor (NFA), which makes the analysis of the phase separation via atomic force microscopic (AFM) phase images or conventional transmission electron microscopy difficult. In this work, we use the donor polymer PTB7-Th and the small molecule acceptor O-IDTBR as the model system and visualized the phase separation in PTB7-Th:O-IDTBR bulk-heterojunctions with different donor:acceptor ratios via scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) high-angle annular dark-field (HAADF) images and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) based elemental mapping, which resulted in a good contrast between the donor and the acceptor despite very low differences in the chemical composition. AFM as well as grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS) investigations support the electron microscopic data. Furthermore, we elucidate the implications of the phase separation on the device performance as well as charge carrier mobilities in the bulk-heterojunction layers, and a high performance of the solar cells was found over a relatively broad range of polymer domain sizes. This can be related to the larger domain sizes of the acceptor phase with higher amounts of O-IDTBR in the blend, while the polymer donor phase still forms continuous pathways to the electrode, which keeps the hole mobility at a relatively constant level.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Keywords: nanomorphology bulk-heterojunction scanning transmission electron microscopy organic photovoltaics charge carrier mobility
Published: 15.01.2020; Views: 442; Downloads: 22
.pdf Fulltext (6,22 MB)

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