Microwave-assisted processing of solid materials for sustainable energy related electronic and optoelectronic applications
thesisposted on 2014-06-20, 11:28 authored by Nirmal Peiris
Materials processing using microwave radiation is emerging as a novel and innovative technology that has proven useful in a number of applications. It has various advantages over conventional processing, such as; time and energy saving, very rapid heating rates, considerably reduced processing time and temperature, fine microstructures and improved mechanical properties, better product performance, etc. Microwave irradiation has shown great potential for the processing of different semiconductor materials and inorganic solids for various advanced electronic and optoelectronic devices such as solar cells, batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells etc. This work intends to investigate the effect of microwave radiation on various semiconductor materials and inorganic solids, in particular the changes in their chemical, physical and photoelectrochemical properties after microwave treatment. Microwaves have been used as an alternative method to conventional thermal annealing for post annealing of widely used semiconductors (TiO2, ZnO nanorods), battery materials (lithium aluminium titanium phosphates), and synthesis of materials (ZnO, Ti0.97Pd0.03O1.97). It is found that, in contrast to conventional thermal annealing, microwave treatment of such materials improves the crystallinity without any structural changes by preserving their nanostructure due to the difference in the heating mechanism (volumetric heating). The results demonstrate that microwave processing is a promising alternative method to the traditional conventional sintering for materials processing for advanced electronic and optoelectronic devices. Also the microwave annealing method offers energy savings of up to ~75%, which would make it highly desirable for industrial scale up.
The Johnson Matthey Plc, UK EPSRC