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Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Nanocrystalline Oxide Film Structures:
Interface Controlled, Self-Assembled Oxide Quantum

EMSL Project ID


This Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Nanocrystalline Oxide Film Structures Proposal focuses on Oxide Quantum Dots (OQDs). Interface controlled, self-assembled oxide quantum dots (QDs) are promising new materials with potential for application in a wide variety of applications. Self-assembly and many of the resulting electronic and chemical properties, are strongly influenced by interaction with the substrate on which the QDs are formed. This proposal is aimed at investigating structural and electronic properties that govern the formation of these particular QDs, and the catalytic, photocatalytic, magnetic, electronic, and other properties resulting from such systems. Quantum dots often exhibit novel optical, chemical, and electronic properties that can be tailored by controlling their size, composition, and interfacial interactions. Most investigations on QDs have focused on conventional semiconductors and their electronic and optical properties. While these investigations have resulted in many exciting findings, a great number of important questions remain open, including issues such as material stability and the effects of interfacial interactions on the resulting structure and properties. Two specific topics are being addressed in this work. First, the role of interfacial stress on QD formation, stability and self-ordering in two and three dimensions is being investigated by both experimental and theoretical methods. The second area focuses on controlling the interfacial electronic structure to achieve desirable photochemical, catalytic or electronic properties. Earlier stages of the project focused on the synthesis and behavior of Cu2O nanosized structures on SrTiO3. This system allows the creation of a p type oxide nano-structures on an n type substrate and provided a technical basis for a proposal to DOE for photocatalysis studies. Our current focus will shift to different system with other potential application or research areas. The two new objectives are the creation of an inverse form of the photoactive structure (n type nano-structures on a p type substrate) and the use of OQD nanostructures to stabilize metal clusters for catalysis studies. The secondary electron emission behaviors of the OQD structures are being examined for potential application in radiation sensing systems.

One aspect of this program is a collaboration between PNNL OQD team and the University of Virginia to examine the ability to use ion beam damage to nucleate the growth of Cu-Oxide nanodots.

Project Details

Project type
Exploratory Research
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Donald Baer
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Team Members

Janos Szanyi
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Yingge Du
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

James Groves
University of Virginia

Anter El-azab
Purdue University

Charles Windisch
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Related Publications

Presentation: Metal Oxides, the Environment and Functional Nanostructures