AVS 68 Session AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM: Analysis of Surfaces and Interfaces Related to Energy and the Environment

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 8:00 AM in Room 320

Wednesday Morning

Session Abstract Book
(306KB, Nov 18, 2022)
Time Period WeM Sessions | Abstract Timeline | Topic AS Sessions | Time Periods | Topics | AVS 68 Schedule

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8:00 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-1 Adhesion Properties of Industrial Steel Samples
Lukas Kalchgruber, Michael Hahn, Laura Mears, Markus Valtiner (TU Wien, Austria)

Solving industrial questions is of utmost importance to improve material properties, developing industrial applications and understanding fundamental processes. One of these questions is how different pre-treatments alter the adhesion process between steel and polymers.

To study the effect of the pre-treatment on the subsequent adhesion process, steel was treated either thermally or via plasma.

To characterize adhesion, the surface force apparatus (= SFA) was utilized in reflection mode. In the SFA experiment, the steel is brought into contact with another surface which is prepared on a fused silica optical disc. Before the optical discs can be used in SFA, a semitransparent, reflective layer needs to be deposited on the curved surface. Additionally, they were spin coated with few µm thin, homogeneous, smooth layers of SEBS polymer. Afterwards, a suitable particle free contact was established between the polymer and the steel sample in the SFA, which generated the following data types:

  • Newton rings à Provide information about the contact area
  • Force data à Adhesive pressure (referenced to contact area)
  • Fringes of chromatic order (= FECO) à Time-Distance-Curves

The main selling points of this technique are as follows: firstly, the model system is very close to the actual problem, as the steel sample in question can be used directly. Secondly, direct information about the adhesive pressure can be obtained. Thirdly, considerably more information about the adhesive behavior of the system is available beyond just one number.

The SFA results achieved are promising. We have a method that allows us to quantify the adhesive pressure in a model system and differentiate between differently treated steel samples. We have further put our adhesion results into context with the support of XPS characterization of the surface. Thermally treated samples have a hydroxide/oxide ratio of roughly 50/50 while samples treated with plasma show a ratio of 90/10. The hydroxide to oxide ratio correlates with the adhesion measured by SFA, which emphasizes the role of hydroxide in preventing adhesion.

8:20 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-2 An Electrochemically Polymerized Protective Layer for Magnesium Metal Anode
Yang Wang (University of Maryland College Park); Alexander Kozen (University of Maryland)
Rechargeable magnesium (Mg) batteries are promising beyond Li-ion technologies due to their high volumetric capacity (3832 mAh cm−3) and high natural abundance. Nonetheless, Mg metal anode is incompatible with most conventional electrolytes which leads to the formation of an ionically passivating layer. Mg also suffers from growth of dendrites similar to Li, which causes failure of the cells. In this study, we electrochemically polymerized 1,3-dioxolane (DOL) to form a thin Mg2+-conducting elastomeric artificial solid electrolyte interphase (ASEI) layer by electrochemically pretreating Mg metal anodes. We found that this protective ASEI layer enables excellent cyclability of Mg-Mg symmetric cells at high current density (0.5 mAcm-2) over 400 hours at a stable low overpotential (0.50 V vs. Mg2+/Mg) without cell short-circuiting, while untreated pristine Mg symmetric cells quickly failed. The formation of this ASEI also significantly lowered the impedance of the cells, which proved its capability of conducting Mg2+ ions. Comprehensive surface chemistry analysis was done by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) which showed that an ASEI mainly consists of poly-DOL was formed, along with various Mg salts which are instrumental to the conductance of Mg2+ ions. More importantly, poly-DOL component in the elastomer was well preserved post-cycling, which contributed to the long-term cyclability and low voltage hysteresis of pretreated Mg-Mg cells, as compared to the pristine ones. Focused ion beam (FIB) – scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) mapping showed that a generally uniform layer was formed on the surface and this ASEI is roughly 200 μm thick and was able to suppress the growth of Mg dendrites after cycling for 400 hours at 0.03 mA cm-2 current density, as compared to the rampant sphere-shaped dendrites on the surface of pristine Mg anodes after cycling. This is the first ever report on the successful formation of poly-DOL ASEI on Mg metal anodes as a protective layer and by electrochemical polymerization method that effectively enhanced the electrochemical cycling performance of the Mg metal anodes.
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8:40 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-3 Analysis of Surfaces and Interfaces in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell and Electrolyzer Devices
Svitlana Pylypenko (Colorado School of Mines)

Implementing a hydrogen-based infrastructure depends on developing electrochemical energy conversion devices such as fuel cells and electrolyzers. Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) have been the focus of research for lightweight renewable transportation applications such as motor vehicles for years, but they also offer the potential to fuel stationary applications, including residential power, due to their potential to produce industrial amounts of energy via a renewable route. Polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) is a promising strategy to produce and store renewable energy in the form of hydrogen for subsequent use in either manufacturing processes, or to run a fuel cell, which can generate electricity on demand.

Great improvements have been made in the development of catalysts and electrodes for PEM systems, improving their activity and stability while reducing the amount of precious metals used. The properties of the electrodes used in these devices are influenced by multiple parameters: the chemical identity of the catalyst and the ionomer; the morphological properties of the catalyst (e.g. shape and surface area); ink formulations; and the various processing parameters used to prepare the electrode. Due to the breadth of possible variable combinations and the inherent complexity of electrode materials, it is unsurprising that PEM electrodes are both morphologically and chemically heterogeneous. Characterization of relevant surfaces and interfaces in these devices, therefore, represents a challenge that requires a multi-technique approach that evaluates all relevant scales and properties and brings a better understanding of the evolution of surfaces and interfaces under more realistic conditions. This talk will discuss the progress towards the comprehensive characterization of the most critical surfaces and interfaces in PEM devices using a combination of X-ray and electron spectroscopy and microscopy methods. Several challenges related to the characterization of catalyst-gas and catalyst-ionomer interactions in these systems will be covered along with results obtained with near-ambient pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (nAP-XPS). The development of characterization strategies to enable the exploration of a large processing parameter space will be presented, which can then be used to fabricate optimized electrodes with state-of-the-art catalysts as well as electrodes that integrate novel catalysts, all made with scalable routes. And finally, the development of novel approaches toward the characterization of other components of PEM devices such as porous transport layers will also be briefly discussed.

9:20 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-5 XPS Analysis of Battery Materials
Sarah Zaccarine, Ben Schmidt, Kateryna Artyushkova (Physical Electronics USA); Abiral Baniya, Quinn Qiao (Syracuse University)

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have experienced success including rechargeability and long lifetimes but their limited energy density restricts applications moving forward. Lithium metal batteries (LMBs) offer similar benefits but with much higher achievable energy densities, making them a promising future battery technology. Both LIBs and LMBs are multi-layered, complex systems with many materials and interfaces that each play a critical role in performance and stability. Tuning the composition and morphology of these materials is necessary to create stable, high-performing devices, but the multi-component interfaces, interactions, and dynamic nature of these systems makes characterization challenging. In order to optimize materials properties and improve battery lifetimes, there is a pressing need for physicochemical characterization approaches with high spatial resolution, chemical and morphological analysis, and correlation of synergistic properties.

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is commonly used to characterize the chemical composition of battery materials, and the depth resolution (~10nm) is ideal for analyzing thin layers and interfaces. However, modern XPS instruments have a variety of operating modes and analytical accessories that enable characterization across a variety of lateral and vertical size regimes. Small and large spot comparisons can track overall composition and local features and changes, with scanning microprobe analysis allowing for spatial resolution down to a few microns. X-ray induced secondary electron imaging (SXI), including high-resolution mosaic imaging over a wide sample area, can be used for easy identification of important features and morphological imaging of various battery component materials to complement chemical information. Chemical mapping can visualize distribution of individual elements or chemical species to understand how materials are distributed and change with testing. Additional options address stability concerns associated with Li materials, including a cooling stage to preserve battery chemistry during extended experiment times, where time-resolved profiles are used to compare chemical degradation under controlled temperatures, and incorporating Al Kα and Cr Kα X-rays for non-destructive XPS and hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES) analysis of surface (up to ~10nm, Al) and subsurface (up to ~30nm, Cr) composition. Combined, these powerful capabilities enable thorough characterization of battery materials properties for micro- and large-area spectroscopic analysis of surfaces and interfaces and how these properties change under various analytical and operating conditions.

9:40 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-6 Novel Battery Material Analysis with High-Resolution and High-Throughput XPS
Jonathan Counsell, Sarah Jane Coultas, Chris Moffitt, Chris Blomfield (Kratos Analytical Inc.); Adam Roberts (Kratos Analytical Limited, UK)

Several material systems will be discussed to give an overview on how XPS can yield information regarding the distribution and chemical speciation of battery materials.

Na-ion batteries are considered to be environmentally favourable alternatives to Li-ion batteries, particularly in the extremely large-scale application of grid storage, given the abundance of Na. However, to date, the battery performance has not been competitive, and promising ternary materials have been plagued by poor stability in air and unsatisfactory long-term cycling. Herein, air/moisture stability is effectively and systematically investigated with XPS, paving the way for material stability to be modified through rational design. Chemical assignments were correlated with performance and oxidation degradation [1]

The significance of sensitivity and detection limit, comparisons of surface and bulk and an approach for pragmatic peak fitting of difficult elemental lines will be discussed along with considerations such as etch artefacts and degradation.

[1] Shipeng Jia et al., J. Mater. Chem. A, 2022,10, 251-265

10:00 AM BREAK - Complimentary Coffee in Exhibit Hall
11:00 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-10 Multimodal Analysis and Imaging of the Boehmite Layer on AA6061
Lyndi Strange (Pacific Northwest National Lab); Xiao-Ying Yu (Oak Ridge National Laboratory); Vaithiyalingam Shutthahandan, Miao Song, Quin R. S. Miller, Mark Bowden, Jun Gao, Yuchen Zhang, Jiyoung Son, Rick Shimskey, Ramprashad Prabhakaran (Pacific Northwest National Lab); Vineet Joshi (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Low-enriched uranium (LEU) alloyed with 10% Mo (U-10Mo) is being considered as a promising alternative to oxide-based dispersion fuel with high-enriched uranium for use in research reactors. The configuration of this proposed LEU monolithic fuel plate consists of the U-10Mo plate-type fuel foil with a 25 μm Zr interlayer barrier clad with an aluminum alloy (AA6061). The clad AA6061 is coated with a boehmite layer to prevent corrosion. The boehmite layer has a high pH passivation range, which makes it resistant to oxidation and preferable to protect the Al cladding. Boehmite is usually formed on the AA6061 surface by autoclave processing. Various surface cleaning techniques have been employed such as polishing and etching to clean the surface of the AA6061 prior to boehmite formation. In this study, we examine how pre-treatment of AA6061 using polishing followed by both acid and alkaline etching affects the chemical composition of the boehmite layer using multimodal analysis. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), x-ray photoelectron microscopy (XPS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and grazing incidence x-ray diffraction (GI-XRD) were used to understand the changes in the boehmite layer as a result pre-treatment. ToF-SIMS provides a surface sensitive technique to understand the surface composition and characteristics. Spectral similarities were verified using principal comment analysis (PCA). XPS is a complimentary technique that provides quantitative information about the oxidation states present on the surface. Both the SIMS and XPS results suggested oxidation at the surface, which was further investigated using TEM-SAED and GI-XRD. While the GI-XRD results suggested the dominant phase present on the coupon surface is boehmite, TEM-SAED found small amounts of α- and γ-Al2O3 present as a result of alkaline etching.

11:20 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-11 Study of Csx(CH3NH3)1-xPbBr3 Perovskite with XPS Imaging and Small Area Spectra
Tatyana Bendikov (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel); Yevgeny Rakita (Columbia University); Hadar Kaslasi, Gary Hodes, David Cahen (Weizmann Institute of Science)

Interest in halide perovskite (HaPs) is motivated by the combination of superior optoelectronic properties and ease in synthesizing these materials with a surprisingly low density of electrically active defects.1 HaPs possess high chemical sensitivity, especially those having an organic cation at their A position (AMX3). Although a direct role of the A cation in this sensitivity is unclear, and the structural and optoelectronic backbone lie within the M-X bond, the type of the A cation was shown to impact the chemical stability and, usually indirectly, affect optoelectronic properties of HaPs.2-3

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), is a surface sensitive technique with a sensitivity that goes down to a single atomic layer, and can provide unique information that relates the elemental composition with the chemical and electronic states of the different elements in the material. Our study focuses on the XPS imaging in combination with selected small area XPS spectra and uses solution-grown, single crystals of mixed A-cation CsxMA1-xPbBr3(MA = CH3NH3+) HaPs as a candidate for investigating heterogeneity within the crystals. With XPS we followed the variations in chemical composition of these crystals. By observing the surface, we found significant changes in the N/Cs ratio, which increases towards the interior of the crystal. Similar variations in N/Cs, but also in Pb/(N+Cs) ratios were found when we studied cross-sections of cleaved crystals. This compositional heterogeneity within the HaPs crystal was not previously reported and was discovered and monitored due to exclusive capabilities of the XPS technique.


  1. P. K. Nayak, S. Mahesh, H. J. Snaith, D. Cahen, Nat. Rev. Mater., 2019, 4, 269-285.
  2. H. Kaslasi, Y. Feldman, Y. Rakita, D. Cahen, G. Hodes,Cryst. Growth Des, 2020, 20, 4366-4374.
  3. D. R. Ceratti, A. V. Cohen, R. Tenne, Y. Rakita, L. Snarski, N. P. Jasti, L. Cremonesi, R. Cohen, M. Weitman, I. Rosenhek-Goldian, I. Kaplan-Ashiri, T. Bendikov, V. Kalchenko, M. Elbaum, M. A. C. Potenza, L. Kronik, G. Hodes, D. Cahen, Mater. Horiz., 2021, 8,1570-1586.
11:40 AM AS+BI+CA+HC+LS+PS+SE+SS-WeM-12 Surface Characterization of Mineral Associated Organic Matters in Environmental Samples by Using X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)
Qian Zhao, Mark Engelhard, Odeta Qafoku, Kirsten Hofmockel (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Surface characterization is an important analytical approach to understanding the most dynamic interface of a material. The understanding of soil organic matter (SOM) persistence is critical to global carbon (C) cycling. Minerals play an important role in persisting SOM by associating with organic matters (OM) through different interactions. Yet mechanisms of the accumulation of OM in soil are still unclear. Chemical characterization of OM that is associated with minerals provides a mechanistic understanding of mineral-OM interactions. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis allows us to probe the chemical states and speciation of OM on the surface of mineral grains or soil particles. This work used both synthetic mineral-OM complexes and natural soil samples to investigate the chemistry of organics that associate with minerals. In the synthetic system, we adsorbed four organic compounds on a calcite crystal. XPS analysis found the relative concentration of C was higher in OM adsorbed calcite than that in pristine calcite. Further, the deconvolution of C 1s spectra reveals that the calcite surface had a relatively lower abundance of carbonate but a higher abundance of alkanes in the OM adsorbed calcite than pristine calcite, indicating the adsorption of OM on the calcite surface. In the soil system, we incubated agricultural soils with 13C-glucose for 12 months to trace the fate of microbial residues. Size and density fractionation was used to separate mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) from whole soil. XPS analysis determined C chemistry of necromass on soil particle surfaces by scanning C 1s region of MAOM and non-MAOM fractions. We found that the MAOM fraction had a relatively higher abundance of carbonyl and carboxylic C functional groups and a relatively lower abundance of C-C/C=C group than non-MAOM fraction. It suggests that MAOM fraction is enriched in microbial-derived molecules (i.e., proteins) but has fewer plant detritus (i.e., carbohydrates or lignin) on mineral surfaces. XPS technique allows us to understand the surface chemistry of microbial necromass that is associated with minerals in soil. The chemical speciation information provides us with the potential bonding environment at the interface of minerals and OM.

Session Abstract Book
(306KB, Nov 18, 2022)
Time Period WeM Sessions | Abstract Timeline | Topic AS Sessions | Time Periods | Topics | AVS 68 Schedule