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Sub-second Morphological Changes in Nafion during Water Uptake Detected by Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering

Description: The ability of Nafion® membrane to absorb water rapidly and create a network of hydrated interconnected water domains provides this material with an unmatched ability to conduct ions through a chemically and mechanically robust membrane. The morphology and composition of these hydrated membranes significantly affects their transport properties and performance. This work demonstrates that differences in interfacial interactions between the membranes exposed to vapor or liquid water can cause significant changes in kinetics of water uptake. In-situ small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments captured the rapid swelling of the membrane in liquid water with nanostructure rearrangement on the order of seconds. For membranes in contact with water vapor, morphological changes are four-orders-of-magnitude slower than in liquid water, suggesting that interfacial resistance limits the penetration of water into the membrane. Also, upon water absorption from liquid water, a structural rearrangement from a distribution of spherical and cylindrical domains to exclusively cylindrical-like domains is suggested. These differences in water-uptake kinetics and morphology provide a new perspective into Schroeder’s Paradox, which dictates different water contents for vaporand liquid-equilibrated ionomers at unit activity. The findings of this work provide critical insights into the fast kinetics of water absorption of Nafion membrane, which can aid in the design of energy conversion devices that operate under frequent changes in environmental conditions.
Date: September 30, 2011
Creator: Kusoglu, Ahmet; Modestino, Miguel A.; Hexemer, Alexander; Segalman, Rachel A. & Weber, Adam Z.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Interfacial Widths of Conjugated Polymer Bilayers

Description: The interfaces of conjugated polyelectrolyte (CPE)/poly[2-methoxy-5-(2{prime}-ethylhexyloxy)-p-phenylene vinylene] (MEH-PPV) bilayers cast from differential solvents are shown by resonant soft X-ray reflectivity (RSoXR) to be very smooth and sharp. The chemical interdiffusion due to casting is limited to less than 0.6 nm, and the interface created is thus nearly 'molecularly' sharp. These results demonstrate for the first time and with high precision that the nonpolar MEH-PPV layer is not much disturbed by casting the CPE layer from a polar solvent. A baseline is established for understanding the role of interfacial structure in determining the performance of CPE-based polymer light-emitting diodes. More broadly, we anticipate further applications of RSoXR as an important tool in achieving a deeper understanding of other multilayer organic optoelectronic devices, including multilayer photovoltaic devices.
Date: August 13, 2009
Creator: NCSU; Berkeley, UC; UCSB; Source, Advanced Light; Garcia, Andres; Yan, Hongping et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Large-scale Nanostructure Simulations from X-ray Scattering Data On Graphics Processor Clusters

Description: X-ray scattering is a valuable tool for measuring the structural properties of materialsused in the design and fabrication of energy-relevant nanodevices (e.g., photovoltaic, energy storage, battery, fuel, and carbon capture andsequestration devices) that are key to the reduction of carbon emissions. Although today's ultra-fast X-ray scattering detectors can provide tremendousinformation on the structural properties of materials, a primary challenge remains in the analyses of the resulting data. We are developing novelhigh-performance computing algorithms, codes, and software tools for the analyses of X-ray scattering data. In this paper we describe two such HPCalgorithm advances. Firstly, we have implemented a flexible and highly efficient Grazing Incidence Small Angle Scattering (GISAXS) simulation code based on theDistorted Wave Born Approximation (DWBA) theory with C++/CUDA/MPI on a cluster of GPUs. Our code can compute the scattered light intensity from any givensample in all directions of space; thus allowing full construction of the GISAXS pattern. Preliminary tests on a single GPU show speedups over 125x compared tothe sequential code, and almost linear speedup when executing across a GPU cluster with 42 nodes, resulting in an additional 40x speedup compared to usingone GPU node. Secondly, for the structural fitting problems in inverse modeling, we have implemented a Reverse Monte Carlo simulation algorithm with C++/CUDAusing one GPU. Since there are large numbers of parameters for fitting in the in X-ray scattering simulation model, the earlier single CPU code required weeks ofruntime. Deploying the AccelerEyes Jacket/Matlab wrapper to use GPU gave around 100x speedup over the pure CPU code. Our further C++/CUDA optimization deliveredan additional 9x speedup.
Date: January 15, 2012
Creator: Sarje, Abhinav; Pien, Jack; Li, Xiaoye; Chan, Elaine; Chourou, Slim; Hexemer, Alexander et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department