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Journal of Applied Physics

Issue 10 • Date Nov 2012

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 175
  • Nanophotonic light trapping in solar cells

    Page(s): 101101 - 101101-19
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    Nanophotonic light trapping for solar cells is an exciting field that has seen exponential growth in the last few years. There has been a growing appreciation for solar energy as a major solution to the world’s energy problems, and the need to reduce materials costs by the use of thinner solar cells. At the same time, we have the newly developed ability to fabricate controlled structures on the nanoscale quickly and cheaply, and the computational power to optimize the structures and extract physical insights. In this paper, we review the theory of nanophotonic light trapping, with experimental examples given where possible. We focus particularly on periodic structures, since this is where physical understanding is most developed, and where theory and experiment can be most directly compared. We also provide a discussion on the parasitic losses and electrical effects that need to be considered when designing nanophotonic solar cells. View full abstract»

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  • Thermo-optical properties of embedded silver nanoparticles

    Page(s): 103101 - 103101-5
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    Thermo-optical properties of nanocomposite materials consisting of noble metal nanoparticles dispersed in a dielectric medium are appropriate for many applications as imaging, nonlinear optics, or optical monitoring of local thermal exchanges. Here, we analyze the thermo-optical response of silver nanoparticles. The contribution of inter- and intraband transitions to the thermo-optical index of bulk silver is first extracted using experimental results reported earlier in the literature. The influence of these two contributions on the thermo-optical properties of silver nanoparticles embedded in glass is then investigated. The results show that these properties are essentially due to the intraband thermo-optical contribution in the vicinity of the surface plasmon resonance of the nanoparticles, while they are dominated by the interband contribution close to the interband transition threshold. View full abstract»

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  • Index-coupled surface porous grating distributed feedback quantum cascade laser

    Page(s): 103102 - 103102-4
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    We report design of special low loss, index-coupled surface porous grating distributed feedback profile by using holographic lithography combined with electro-chemical etching technology. Room temperature continuous-wave (cw) operation of single-mode quantum cascade lasers emitting at λ ∼ 7.6 μm has been achieved. Due to attenuate interplay between the surface plasmon waves and the waveguide waves, the waveguide loss of the lasers is significantly reduced, when compared to conventional surface metal/semiconductor grating devices. This resulted in an improved overall laser performance, such as a reduction of the threshold current density and an increase in cw output power. View full abstract»

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  • Adjustment of ablation shapes and subwavelength ripples based on electron dynamics control by designing femtosecond laser pulse trains

    Page(s): 103103 - 103103-6
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    A quantum model is proposed to investigate femtosecond laser pulse trains processing of dielectrics by including the plasma model with the consideration of laser particle-wave duality. Central wavelengths (400 nm and 800 nm) strongly impact the surface plasmon field distribution, the coupling field intensity distribution (between the absorbed intensity and the surface plasma), and the distribution of transient localized free electron density in the material. This, in turn, significantly changes the localized transient optical/thermal properties during laser materials processing. The effects of central wavelengths on ablation shapes and subwavelength ripples are discussed. The simulation results show that: (1) ablation shapes and the spacing of subwavelength ripples can be adjusted by localized transient electron dynamics control using femtosecond laser pulse trains; (2) the adjustment of the radii of ablation shapes is stronger than that of the periods of subwavelength ripples. View full abstract»

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  • High order standing-wave plasmon resonances in silver u-shaped nanowires

    Page(s): 103104 - 103104-6
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    Optical measurements of the transmission spectra through nanofabricated planar arrays of silver u-shaped nanowires on a silicon substrate resonating at infrared frequencies are performed. Good agreement with the numerically simulated surface plasmon standing wave resonances supported by the structures is found. Such resonances exhibit field enhancement and are able to provide magnetic and electric responses when used as the unit cell of a metamaterial. The magnetic excitation of the resonators using oblique incidence is shown to be drastically reduced by the existence of a high index substrate such as silicon. View full abstract»

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  • Parametric study of the frequency-domain thermoreflectance technique

    Page(s): 103105 - 103105-9
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    Without requiring regression for parameter determination, one-dimensional (1D) analytical models are used by many research groups to extract the thermal properties in frequency-domain thermoreflectance measurements. Experimentally, this approach involves heating the sample with a pump laser and probing the temperature response with spatially coincident probe laser. Micron order lateral resolution can be obtained by tightly focusing the pump and probe lasers. However, small laser beam spot sizes necessarily bring into question the assumptions associated with 1D analytical models. In this study, we analyzed the applicability of 1D analytical models by comparing to 2D analytical and fully numerical models. Specifically, we considered a generic n-layer two-dimensional (2D), axisymmetric analytical model including effects of volumetric heat absorption, contact resistance, and anisotropic properties. In addition, a finite element numerical model was employed to consider nonlinear effects caused by temperature dependent thermal conductivity. Nonlinearity is of germane importance to frequency domain approaches because the experimental geometry is such that the probe is always sensing the maximum temperature fluctuation. To quantify the applicability of the 1D model, parametric studies were performed considering the effects of: film thickness, heating laser size, probe laser size, substrate-to-film effusivity ratio, interfacial thermal resistance between layers, volumetric heating, substrate thermal conductivity, nonlinear boundary conditions, and anisotropic and temperature dependent thermal conductivity. View full abstract»

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  • Unusual Urbach tail in TlGaSe2 ferroelectric-semiconductor with incommensurate phase

    Page(s): 103106 - 103106-7
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    An analysis of temperature behavior of optical absorption edge is performed for TlGaSe2 ferroelectric-semiconductor with incommensurate phase. Unusual behavior of the Urbach tail manifested by the shift of the absorption edge toward the higher energies with increasing temperature was observed. It was shown that such behavior is due to the specific temperature interval where Urbach energy decreases with the temperature. This interval corresponds to the incommensurate phase-commensurate phase transition region. Unusual behavior of the Urbach energy can be explained interpreting the incommensurate phase as some type of disordered state, and TlGaSe2 crystal as a disordered semiconductor with controllable disorder. View full abstract»

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  • Two-dimensional Bessel-like surface plasmon-polariton beams

    Page(s): 103107 - 103107-4
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    We present experimental evidence of non-diffracting two-dimensional Bessel-like surface plasmon-polariton (SPP) beams using the simultaneous excitation of two grating couplers forming an angle. The Bessel-like SPP beam properties were verified experimentally using the plasmon-coupled leakage radiation microscopy technique. The good agreement between simulations and measured intensity beam profiles confirms the effectiveness of the grating-coupler approach. Our results revealed that the spreading and propagation length characteristics of the Bessel-like SPP beams are primarily influenced by the angle between the grating couplers. View full abstract»

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  • Limiting efficiency of generalized realistic c-Si solar cells coupled to ideal up-converters

    Page(s): 103108 - 103108-9
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    The detailed balance model of photovoltaic up-conversion is revised for the specific case of a c-Si solar cell under the AM1.5G solar spectrum. The limiting efficiency of an ideal solar cell with a band gap of 1.117 eV may be increased from approximately 33% to 40% with ideal up-conversion. However, real solar cells do not demonstrate the step-function absorption characteristic assumed in the standard detailed balance model. Here, we use tabulated Si refractive index data to develop a generalized model of a realistic conventional c-Si solar cell. The model incorporates optical design and material parameters such as free carrier absorption that have a non-trivial impact on the operation of the up-conversion layer. While these modifications are shown to decrease the absolute limiting efficiency, the benefit of up-conversion is shown to be relatively greater. View full abstract»

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  • Dispersion of effective refractive indices of mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers

    Page(s): 103109 - 103109-5
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    We point out the difference between the two mostly used methods for calculating the effective refractive index of mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers, namely by solving the Maxwell's wave equation and by analyzing the frequency spacing of the longitudinal modes of the Fabry-Perot cavity. The effective refractive indices obtained by these methods are shown to be different, as one refers to the phase effective refractive index while the other refers to the group effective refractive index, respectively. Dispersion relationships for these two effective refractive indices are deduced for mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers, which show an increase in group refractive index and a decrease in phase refractive index with wavelength. Experiments are conducted to obtain the group effective refractive indices of quantum cascade lasers emitting at various wavelengths, and good agreement has been achieved between the experimental data and theory. View full abstract»

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  • Structural analysis of silicon co-implanted with carbon and high energy proton for the formation of the lasing G-centre

    Page(s): 103110 - 103110-5
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    We investigate a new approach for efficient generation of the lasing G-centre (carbon substitutional-silicon self-interstitial complex) which crucially is fully compatible with standard silicon ultra-large-scale integration technology. Silicon wafers were implanted with carbon and irradiated with high energy protons to produce self-interstitials that are crucial in the formation of the G-centre. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) and transmission electron microscopy were used to study the structure of the post-implanted silicon samples and to investigate the behaviour of the self-interstitials and damage introduced by the carbon and proton implantation. The effect of substrate pre-amorphisation on the G-centre luminescence intensity and formation properties was also investigated by implanting Ge prior to the carbon and proton irradiation. Photoluminescence measurements and RBS results show a significantly higher G-centre peak intensity and silicon yield, respectively, in samples without pre-amorphisation. View full abstract»

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  • Laser surface micro-/nano-structuring by a simple transportable micro-sphere lens array

    Page(s): 103111 - 103111-9
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    A micro-sphere array optic was employed for laser surface micro-structuring. This array optic consists of a hexagonally close-packed monolayer of silica micro-spheres. It was organized through a self-assembly process and held together on a glass support, without using any adhesives. The array assembly was then reversed, placed in direct contact with the substrate and exposed to 515 nm, 6.7 ps laser pulses. During the exposure, the silica spheres act as micro-lenses, which enhance the near-field light intensity underneath them. As the spheres are confined in the space between the substrate and glass support, they are not ejected during laser machining. Using this type of direct write laser machining, a large number of identical features (nano-holes) can be produced in parallel simultaneously. The holes drilled are a few hundred nanometres in diameter and the depth depends on the number of laser pulses applied. The impact of laser machining on the micro-spheres was also studied. The micro-spheres were contaminated or partially damaged after micro-structuring. Combination of a moderate laser pulse energy and multiple shots was found to ensure a good surface structuring quality and minimum damage to the spherical particles. View full abstract»

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  • Static and dynamic properties of multi-section InGaN-based laser diodes

    Page(s): 103112 - 103112-8
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    We have studied multi-section InGaN multiple-quantum-well (MQW) laser diodes grown on c-plane freestanding GaN substrate consisting of an absorber section (AS) and an amplifier gain section. As a result of the interplay between external bias applied to the AS and the internal piezoelectric and spontaneous polarization fields inherent to c-plane InGaN MQWs, the devices exhibit non-linear non-monotonic variations of the threshold current due to the quantum-confined Stark effect that takes place in the AS MQWs. We report on how this effect tailors the lasing characteristics and lasing dynamics, leading from a steady-state cw lasing regime for an unbiased AS to self-pulsation and Q-switching regimes at high negative absorber bias. View full abstract»

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  • Optimization of Nb2O5/Ag/Nb2O5 multilayers as transparent composite electrode on flexible substrate with high figure of merit

    Page(s): 103113 - 103113-6
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    Different multilayer structures of Nb2O5/Ag/Nb2O5 have been deposited onto flexible substrates by sputtering at room temperature to develop an indium free transparent composite electrode. The effect of Ag thickness on the electrical and optical properties of the multilayer stack has been studied in accordance with the Ag morphology. The critical thickness of Ag to form a continuous conducting layer is found to be 9.5 nm. A new conduction mechanism has been proposed to describe the conduction before and after the critical thickness. The effective Hall resistivity of the optimized films is as low as 6.44 × 10-5 Ω-cm with a carrier concentration and mobility of 7.4 × 1021 cm-3 and 13.1 cm2 /V-s, respectively, at the critical Ag layer thickness. The multilayer stack has been optimized to obtain a sheet resistance of 7.2 Ω/sq and an average optical transmittance of 86% at 550 nm without any substrate heating or post-annealing process. The Haacke figure of merit (FOM) has been calculated for the films, and the multilayer with a 9.5 nm thick Ag layer has the highest FOM at 31.5 × 10-3 Ω-1, which is one of the highest FOM values reported for TCE deposited at room temperature on a flexible substrate. View full abstract»

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  • On the applicability of laser ionization for simulating hypervelocity impacts

    Page(s): 103301 - 103301-11
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    In-situ measurements, the direct interception and analysis of dust particles by spacecraft-based instrumentation, provide insights into the dynamical, physical and chemical properties of cosmic dust. The most sensitive detection methods for dust particles in space are based on impact ionization. Laser ionization is used for the test, development, and calibration of impact ionization instruments and to complement laboratory based particle impact experiments. A typical setup uses a 355 nm Nd-YAG laser with a pulse length of about 5 ns. It is necessary to investigate the properties of both processes with respect to their comparability. A study was performed to find out to what extent laser ionization can be used to simulate impact ionization. The findings show that laser ionization and impact ionization show similarities, which can be used to test the functionality of dust impact detectors, especially time-of-flight instruments. Our paper provides information on what extent these similarities hold and where their limits are. View full abstract»

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  • Fundamental properties of field emission-driven direct current microdischarges

    Page(s): 103302 - 103302-8
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    For half a century, it has been known that the onset of field emission in direct current microdischarges with gap sizes less than 10 μm can lead to breakdown at applied voltages far less than predicted by Paschen's law. It is still unclear how field emission affects other fundamental plasma properties at this scale. In this work, a one-dimensional fluid model is used to predict basic scaling laws for fundamental properties including ion density, electric field due to space charge, and current-voltage relations in the pre-breakdown regime. Computational results are compared with approximate analytic solutions. It is shown that field emission provides an abundance of cathode electrons, which in turn create large ion concentrations through ionizing collisions well before Paschen's criterion for breakdown is met. Breakdown due to ion-enhanced field emission occurs when the electric field due to space charge becomes comparable to the applied electric field. Simple scaling analysis of the 1D Poisson equation demonstrates that an ion density of n+ ≈ 0.1VAε0/qd2 is necessary to significantly distort the electric field. Defining breakdown in terms of this critical ion density leads analytically to a simple, effective secondary emission coefficient γ of the same mathematical form initially suggested by Boyle and Kisliuk [Phys. Rev. 97, 255 (1955)]. View full abstract»

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  • Consideration of the electron energy distribution function shape in a Ar and N2 global model

    Page(s): 103303 - 103303-7
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    This paper presents a method to compensate the effects of the electron energy distribution function (EEDF) shape on plasma characteristics when using global models to describe Ar and N2 inductively coupled discharges. A non-Maxwellian global model is developed for the pressure range 1-1000 mTorr by using an user-friendly Boltzmann equation solver to calculate the EEDF. The calculated EEDFs are compared with the measurements performed with a single Langmuir probe in the same conditions. We also compare the calculated results by using the Boltzmann equation solver with the results by assuming a Maxwellian EEDF and point out the influence of both methods on the contribution of the multi-step process on ionization. Finally, to take into account the shape of the EEDF in global models, abacuses are presented as a function of the absorbed power density and the pressure for typical Ar and N2 planar ICP discharges. View full abstract»

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  • Modeling of helium plasma jets emerged into ambient air: Influence of applied voltage, jet radius, and helium flow velocity on plasma jet characteristics

    Page(s): 103304 - 103304-5
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    Simulation of guided positive streamers propagating along helium jets emerged into ambient air is performed, in the framework of a standard two-dimensional streamer model, for various values of parameters (applied voltage, helium flow velocity, and jet radius) governing the streamer dynamics and structure. Obtained dependencies of the streamer velocity, radius, and propagation length on the governing parameters are compared with available results of observations. View full abstract»

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  • Electrical potential measurement in plasma columns of atmospheric plasma jets

    Page(s): 103305 - 103305-5
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    The electrical potential of plasma generated from an atmospheric plasma jet device with Ar or He gas is measured with a high voltage probe in a plasma column inside a tube as well as in the plasma ejected through the open end of the tube. When the double plasma jet devices with Ar-gas are operated by the opposite polarities of an ac voltage with a few kV at both ends of a glass tube, the electrical potential of plasma column is high at both ends of the column, while the electrical potential in the middle of the plasma column is a few tens of volts. When the plasma column is formulated with the double plasma jets of a high voltage electrode at one end of the glass tube and a grounded electrode at the other end of the tube, the plasma column potential decreases linearly from a high voltage to a very low value, as the measurement position moves from the side of high voltage to the grounded location. In the double plasma jets of He-gas operated by high voltages in opposite polarities, the ejected plasma jets are attractive to each other at the intersection, merging together and having the electrical potential of a few tens of volts. On the other hand, if the two plasma jet columns are operated by high voltages of same polarity the ejected plasma jets are repulsive to each other at the intersection, having the electrical potential of a few hundreds of volts and causing an electrical shock. View full abstract»

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  • Embedded argon as a tool for sampling local structure in thin plasma deposited aluminum oxide films

    Page(s): 103306 - 103306-4
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    Al2O3 thin films, either amorphous or of varying degrees of crystallinity, were deposited by two-frequency radio-frequency magnetron sputtering. Film crystallinity was investigated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was employed to determine the amount of Ar naturally trapped within the films during the deposition process. A clear correlation was found between the existence of crystalline phases, as determined by XRD, and a shift towards lower binding energy positions of the Ar2p core levels of embedded gas. The shift is due to differences in the local Al2O3 matrix (amorphous or crystalline) of the embedded gas, thus, providing an XPS fingerprint that can be used to qualitatively determine the presence or absence of crystalline phases in very thin films. View full abstract»

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  • Dislocation-induced fields in piezoelectric AlGaN/GaN bimaterial heterostructures

    Page(s): 103501 - 103501-9
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    The fields produced by an arbitrary three-dimensional dislocation loop in general anisotropic piezoelectric bimaterials are analyzed. A line-integral formula is developed for the coupled elastic and electric fields induced by a general dislocation loop in piezoelectric bimaterials, and an analytical solution is also obtained for the fields due to a straight dislocation line segment. As a numerical example, the fields, especially the piezoelectric polarization and polarization charge density, induced by a square dislocation loop in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures are studied. Our numerical results show various interesting features associated with different kinds of dislocations relative to the interface. Particularly, we find that when an edge dislocation is parallel and close to the interface, the dislocation-induced peak charge density on the interface becomes comparable to the two-dimensional electric gas (2DEGs) charge density, thus contributing to the 2DEGs on the AlGaN/GaN interface. View full abstract»

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  • Mechanically robust Si nanorod arrays on Cu/Ti bilayer film coated Si substrate for high performance lithium-ion battery anodes

    Page(s): 103502 - 103502-6
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    The deformation behavior and mechanical properties of a tilted Si nanorod array structure on Cu/Ti bilayer film coated Si substrate were studied for the first time by coupled atomic force microscopy and nanoindentation techniques. The individual Si nanorods fabricated by an oblique angle deposition technique are composed of many fine Si nanofibers with the diameter ranging from 10 to 50 nm. They are not brittle, but ductile. The ductile metallic Cu/Ti bilayer film roots contribute remarkably to the mechanical robustness of the Si nanorods. The toughening mechanism of such Si-based nanoanodes has been elucidated by experimental mechanics studies. View full abstract»

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  • Optical and elastic properties of diamond-like carbon with metallic inclusions: A theoretical study

    Page(s): 103503 - 103503-6
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    A tough material commonly used in coatings is diamond-like carbon (DLC), that is, amorphous carbon with content in four-fold coordinated C higher than ∼70%, and its composites with metal inclusions. This study aims to offer useful guidelines for the design and development of metal-containing DLC coatings for solar collectors, where the efficiency of the collector depends critically on the performance of the absorber coating. We use first-principles calculations based on density functional theory to study the structural, electronic, optical, and elastic properties of DLC and its composites with Ag and Cu inclusions at 1.5% and 3.0% atomic concentration, to evaluate their suitability for solar thermal energy harvesting. We find that with increasing metal concentration optical absorption is significantly enhanced while at the same time, the composite retains good mechanical strength: DLC with 70–80% content in four-fold coordinated C and small metal concentrations (<3 at. %) will show high absorption in the visible (absorption coefficients higher than 105 cm-1) and good mechanical strength (bulk and Young's modulus higher than 300 and 500 GPa, respectively). View full abstract»

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  • General performance characteristics and parametric optimum bounds of irreversible chemical engines

    Page(s): 103504 - 103504-7
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    Based on the weak-dissipation assumption, a general cycle model of irreversible chemical engines, including non-isothermal chemical engines, isothermal chemical engines, and other classes of heat engines is established, where finite-rate heat and mass transfers are considered. Expressions for the power output and efficiency of the cycle system are derived. The power output is optimized for a given efficiency of the cycle system by using the Lagrangian-multiplier method and the corresponding characteristic curves are represented. The region of the efficiency of the cycle system at the maximum power output is determined. The results obtained may be directly used to discuss the optimal performance of non-isothermal chemical engines, isothermal chemical engines, and heat engines. Furthermore, it is explained that when different values of two dissipation parameters in the model are chosen, these results obtained may be further used to derive the optimal performance of several novel thermodynamic cycles, such as quantum heat engines, Brownian heat engines, etc. It is thus clear that the results obtained here are not only universal but also important. View full abstract»

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  • Unexpected metastable transition in high superheating state

    Page(s): 103505 - 103505-5
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    By high temperature microscopy, we conducted in-situ observation on the evolution of peritectic melting of YBa2Cu3O7-y thin films (denoted as the α phase). As the α phase was highly superheated above a critical temperature, we found that a non-equilibrium phase transition occurred. An unexpected metastable Y2O3 phase (denoted as the γ phase), resulted from the decomposition of the α film, nucleated preferentially to the stable phase of Y2BaCuO5 (denoted as the β phase). Both high superheating capability of the α film and low interface energy of the γ phase with substrates are responsible for the metastable phase transition in this work. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

Journal of Applied Physics is the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) archival journal for significant new results in applied physics

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Editor
P. James Viccaro
Argonne National Laboratory