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- Carbon nanotube/microwave interactions and applications to hydrogen fuel cells.
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One of the leading problems that will be carried into the 21st century is that of alternative fuels to get our planet away from the consumption of fossil fuels. There has been a growing interest in the use of nanotechnology to somehow aid in this progression. There are several unanswered questions in how to do this. It is known that carbon nanotubes will store hydrogen but it is unclear how to increase that storage capacity and how to remove this hydrogen fuel once stored. This document offers some answers to these questions. It is possible to implant more hydrogen in a nanotube sample using a technique of ion implantation at energy levels ~50keV and below. This, accompanied with the rapid removal of that stored hydrogen through the application of a microwave field, proves to be one promising avenue to solve these two unanswered questions.
- The Concept of Collision Strength and Its Applications
- Collision strength, the measure of strength for a binary collision, hasn't been defined clearly. In practice, many physical arguments have been employed for the purpose and taken for granted. A scattering angle has been widely and intensively used as a measure of collision strength in plasma physics for years. The result of this is complication and unnecessary approximation in deriving some of the basic kinetic equations and in calculating some of the basic physical terms. The Boltzmann equation has a five-fold integral collision term that is complicated. Chandrasekhar and Spitzer's approaches to the linear Fokker-Planck coefficients have several approximations. An effective variable-change technique has been developed in this dissertation as an alternative to scattering angle as the measure of collision strength. By introducing the square of the reduced impulse or its equivalencies as a collision strength variable, many plasma calculations have been simplified. The five-fold linear Boltzmann collision integral and linearized Boltzmann collision integral are simplified to three-fold integrals. The arbitrary order linear Fokker-Planck coefficients are calculated and expressed in a uniform expression. The new theory provides a simple and exact method for describing the equilibrium plasma collision rate, and a precise calculation of the equilibrium relaxation time. It generalizes bimolecular collision reaction rate theory to a reaction rate theory for plasmas. A simple formula of high precision with wide temperature range has been developed for electron impact ionization rates for carbon atoms and ions. The universality of the concept of collision strength is emphasized. This dissertation will show how Arrhenius' chemical reaction rate theory and Thomson's ionization theory can be unified as one single theory under the concept of collision strength, and how many important physical terms in different disciplines, such as activation energy in chemical reaction theory, ionization energy in Thomson's ionization theory, and the Coulomb logarithm in plasma physics, can be unified into a single one -- the threshold value of collision strength. The collision strength, which is a measure of a transfer of momentum in units of energy, can be used to reconcile the differences between Descartes' opinion and Leibnitz's opinion about the "true'' measure of a force. Like Newton's second law, which provides an instantaneous measure of a force, collision strength, as a cumulative measure of a force, can be regarded as part of a law of force in general.
- Non-Poissonian statistics, aging and "blinking'" quantum dots.
- This dissertation addresses the delicate problem of aging in complex systems characterized by non-Poissonian statistics. With reference to a generic two-states system interacting with a bath it is shown that to properly describe the evolution of such a system within the formalism of the continuous time random walk (CTRW), it has to be taken into account that, if the system is prepared at time t=0 and the observation of the system starts at a later time ta>0, the distribution of the first sojourn times in each of the two states depends on ta, the age of the system. It is shown that this aging property in the fractional derivative formalism forces to introduce a fractional index depending on time. It is shown also that, when a stationary condition exists, the Onsager regression principle is fulfilled only if the system is aged and consequently if an infinitely aged distribution for the first sojourn times is adopted in the CTRW formalism used to describe the system itself. This dissertation, as final result, shows how to extend to the non-Poisson case the Kubo Anderson (KA) lineshape theory, so as to turn it into a theoretical tool adequate to describe the time evolution of the absorption and emission spectra of CdSe quantum dots. The fluorescence emission of these single nanocrystals exhibits interesting intermittent behavior, namely, a sequence of "light on" and "light off" states, departing from Poisson statistics. Taking aging into account an exact analytical treatment is derived to calculate the spectrum. In the regime fitting experimental data this final result implies that the spectrum of the "blinking" quantum dots must age forever.
- Random growth of interfaces: Statistical analysis of single columns and detection of critical events.
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The dynamics of growth and formation of surfaces and interfaces is becoming very important for the understanding of the origin and the behavior of a wide range of natural and industrial dynamical processes. The first part of the paper is focused on the interesting field of the random growth of surfaces and interfaces, which finds application in physics, geology, biology, economics, and engineering among others. In this part it is studied the random growth of surfaces from within the perspective of a single column, namely, the fluctuation of the column height around the mean value, which is depicted as being subordinated to a standard fluctuation-dissipation process with friction g. It is argued that the main properties of Kardar-Parisi-Zhang theory are derived by identifying the distribution of return times to y(0) = 0, which is a truncated inverse power law, with the distribution of subordination times. The agreement of the theoretical prediction with the numerical treatment of the model of ballistic deposition is remarkably good, in spite of the finite size effects affecting this model. The second part of the paper deals with the efficiency of the diffusion entropy analysis (DEA) when applied to the studies of stromatolites. In this case it is shown that this tool can be confidently used for the detection of complexity. The connection between the two studies is established by the use of the DEA itself. In fact, in both analyses, that is, the random growth of interfaces and the study of stromatolites, the method of diffusion entropy is able to detect the real scaling of the system, namely, the scaling of the process is determined by genuinely random events, also called critical events.