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Concept: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


A sample of the beta-Ga2O3/wurtzite GaN heterostructure has been grown by dry thermal oxidation of GaN on a sapphire substrate. X-ray diffraction measurements show that the beta-Ga2O3 layer was formed epitaxially on GaN. The valence band offset of the beta-Ga2O3/wurtzite GaN heterostructure is measured by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. It is demonstrated that the valence band of the beta-Ga2O3/GaN structure is 1.40 +/- 0.08 eV.

Concepts: Diffraction, X-ray, Semiconductor, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Band gap, Valence band, Gallium nitride, Sapphire


In this paper, polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) films with and without plasma pretreatment were modified by atomic layer deposition (ALD) and plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (PA-ALD). It demonstrates that the Al2O3 films are successfully deposited onto the surface of PET films. The cracks formed on the deposited Al2O3 films in the ALD, plasma pretreated ALD, and PA-ALD were attributed to the energetic ion bombardment in plasmas. The surface wettability in terms of water contact angle shows that the deposited Al2O3 layer can enhance the wetting property of modified PET surface. Further characterizations of the Al2O3 films suggest that the elevated density of hydroxyl -OH group improve the initial growth of ALD deposition. Chemical composition of the Al2O3-coated PET film was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, which shows that the content of C 1s reduces with the growing of O 1s in the Al2O3-coated PET films, and the introduction of plasma in the ALD process helps the normal growth of Al2O3 on PET in PA-ALD.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Wetting, Surface tension, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Angle, Contact angle, Sessile drop technique, Atomic layer deposition


A scalable solvothermal technique is reported for the synthesis of a photocatalytic composite material consisting of orthorhombic Ta3N5 nanoparticles and WOx≤3 nanowires. Through X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, the as-grown tungsten(VI) sub-oxide was identified as monoclinic W18O49. The composite material catalysed the degradation of Rhodamine B at over double the rate of the Ta3N5 nanoparticles alone under illumination by white light, and continued to exhibit superior catalytic properties following recycling of the catalysts. Moreover, strong molecular adsorption of the dye to the W18O49 component of the composite resulted in near-complete decolourisation of the solution prior to light exposure. The radical species involved within the photocatalytic mechanisms were also explored through use of scavenger reagents. Our research demonstrates the exciting potential of this novel photocatalyst for the degradation of organic contaminants, and to the authors' knowledge the material has not been investigated previously. In addition, the simplicity of the synthesis process indicates that the material is a viable candidate for the scale-up and removal of dye pollutants on a wider scale.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Diffraction, X-ray, Chemical reaction, Light, Hydrogen, Catalysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


To progress from the laboratory to commercial applications, it will be necessary to develop industrially scalable methods to produce large quantities of defect-free graphene. Here we show that high-shear mixing of graphite in suitable stabilizing liquids results in large-scale exfoliation to give dispersions of graphene nanosheets. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy show the exfoliated flakes to be unoxidized and free of basal-plane defects. We have developed a simple model that shows exfoliation to occur once the local shear rate exceeds 10(4) s(-1). By fully characterizing the scaling behaviour of the graphene production rate, we show that exfoliation can be achieved in liquid volumes from hundreds of millilitres up to hundreds of litres and beyond. The graphene produced by this method performs well in applications from composites to conductive coatings. This method can be applied to exfoliate BN, MoS2 and a range of other layered crystals.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, X-ray, Volume, Water, Liquid, Raman spectroscopy, Graphite, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


Animals use adhesive secretions in a plethora of ways, either for attachment, egg anchorage, mating or as either active or passive defence. The most interesting function, however, is the use of adhesive threads to capture prey, as the bonding must be performed within milliseconds and under unsuitable conditions (movement of prey, variable environmental conditions, unfavourable attack angle, etc.) to be nonetheless successful. In the following study a detailed characterization of the prey capture system of the world-renowned glowworm group Arachnocampa from the macroscopic to the ultrastructural level is performed. The data reveal that the adhesive droplets consist mostly of water and display hygroscopic properties at varying humidity levels. The droplet core of Arachnocampa luminosa includes a certain amount of the elements sodium, sulphur and potassium (beside carbon, oxygen and nitrogen), while a different element composition is found in the two related species A. richardsae and A. tasmaniensis. Evidence for lipids, carbohydrates and proteins was negative on the histochemical level, however X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirm the presence of peptides within the droplet content. Different to earlier assumptions, the present study indicates that rather than oxalic acid, urea or uric acid are present in the adhesive droplets, presumably originating from the gut. Comparing the capture system in Arachnocampa with those of orb-spiders, large differences appear not only regarding the silky threads, but also, in the composition, hygroscopic properties and size of the mucous droplets.

Concepts: Protein, Oxygen, Ammonia, Nitrogen, Chemical element, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Arachnocampa, Glowworm


Ferromagnetic thin films of Heusler compounds are highly relevant for spintronic applications owing to their predicted half-metallicity, that is, 100% spin polarization at the Fermi energy. However, experimental evidence for this property is scarce. Here we investigate epitaxial thin films of the compound Co2MnSi in situ by ultraviolet-photoemission spectroscopy, taking advantage of a novel multi-channel spin filter. By this surface sensitive method, an exceptionally large spin polarization of () % at room temperature is observed directly. As a more bulk sensitive method, additional ex situ spin-integrated high energy X-ray photoemission spectroscopy experiments are performed. All experimental results are compared with advanced band structure and photoemission calculations which include surface effects. Excellent agreement is obtained with calculations, which show a highly spin polarized bulk-like surface resonance ingrained in a half metallic bulk band structure.

Concepts: Scientific method, Spectroscopy, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Semiconductor, Hypothesis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Spintronics


In-situ functionalization of polar (c-plane) and nonpolar (a-plane) gallium nitride (GaN) was performed by adding (3-bromopropyl)bromopropyl) phosphonic acid or propyl phosphonic acid to a phosphoric acid etch. The target was to modulate GaN’s emission properties and oxide formation, which was explored through surface characterization with atomic force microscopy (AFM), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), photoluminescence (PL), inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and water contact angle. The use of (3-bromopropyl) phosphonic acid and propyl phosphonic acid in phosphoric acid demonstrated lower amounts of gallium oxide formation and greater hydrophobicity for both sample sets, while also improving PL emission of polar GaN samples. In addition to crystal orientation, growth related factors such as defect density in bulk GaN versus thin GaN films residing on sapphire substrates were investigated as well as their responses to in-situ functionalization. Thin nonpolar GaN layers were the most sensitive to etching treatments due in part to higher defect densities (stacking faults and threading dislocations), which accounts for large surface depressions. High quality GaN (both free-standing bulk polar and bulk nonpolar) demonstrated increased sensitivity to oxide formation. Room temperature PL stands out as an excellent technique to identify nonradiative recombination as observed in the spectra of heteroepitaxially grown GaN samples. The chemical methods applied to tune optical and physical properties of GaN provide a quantitative framework for future novel chemical and biochemical sensor development.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Density, Phosphoric acid, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Etching, Gallium nitride, Gallium, Sapphire


The preparation of polymer-functionalized graphene nanoribbons (PF-GNRs) in a one-pot synthesis is described. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were intercalated by potassium under vapor- or liquid-phase conditions, followed by addition of vinyl or epoxide monomers, resulting in PF-GNRs. Scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric mass spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to characterize the PF-GNRs. Also explored here is the correlation between the splitting of MWCNTs, the intrinsic properties of the intercalants and the degree of defects and graphitization of the starting MWCNTs. The PF-GNRs could have applications in conductive composites, transparent electrodes, heat circuits and supercapacitors.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Light, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Graphene, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Scanning electron microscope


Using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, we demonstrate that the 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition between a terminal alkyne and an azide can be performed under solvent-free ultrahigh vacuum conditions with reactants adsorbed on a Cu(111) surface. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy shows significant degradation of the azide upon adsorption, which is found to be the limiting factor for the reaction.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Light, Microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition, Vacuum, Ultra high vacuum


α-Fe(2)O(3) (hematite) photoanodes for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) were prepared by a cost-efficient sol-gel procedure. Due to low active photoelectrochemical properties observed, it is assumed that the sol-gel procedure leads to hematite films with defects and surface states on which generated charge carriers are recombined or immobilized in trap processes. Electrochemical activation was proven to diminish unfavourable surface groups to some extent. More efficiently, a plasma treatment improves significantly the photoelectrochemical properties of the OER. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis reveals an oxygen enriched surface layer with new oxygen species which may be responsible for the improved electrochemical activity. Due to surface photovoltage an increased fraction of transferred charge carriers from these newly produced surface defects are identified.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Spectroscopy, Oxygen, X-ray, Iron, Oxide, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Oxygen evolution