Nanomaterials have great scientific appeal due to their unique properties and prevalence in the environment, but the fundamental mechanisms that drive nanoparticle growth, phase transformation, and assembly into larger structures are still shrouded in mystery. Considerable progress has been made in elucidating these mechanisms in the past several decades, and a comprehensive picture of nanoparticle growth is closer than ever. Advances in electron microscopy and computational modeling play a particularly important role in understanding crystal growth at the atomic-level. We use a broad suite of characterization techniques, including X-ray diffraction, conventional and cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, analytical chemistry, and magnetic property measurements, in an attempt to answer fundamental questions about the processes of nanoparticle growth and phase transformation and their assembly into larger—but still nanoscale—objects. This work documents the formation of hematite and goethite via particle-mediated growth under a variety of reaction conditions and presents, for the first time, direct images of the products of hierarchical self-assembly of uranium polyoxometalate clusters.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2015. Major: Chemistry. Advisor: R Lee Penn. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 154 pages.
Growth, phase transformation, and self-assembly in iron oxide and uranium oxide nanostructures.
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