Non Aqueous Lithium–Air Cells IR neaSCOPE+s

Non-Aqueous Lithium–Air Cells

Metal–air batteries, such as Li–air, may be the key for large-scale energy storage as they have the highest energy density among all electrochemical devices. However, these devices suffer from irreversible side reactions leading to battery failure, especially when ambient air is used as the O2 source. This study uses nano-FTIR to track the chemical composition changes at the nanoscale of electrode surface during cell discharge. The results obtained here open an instructive operando chemical analysis of the Li–Air battery development. The authors observed a high sensitivity to humidity and CO2 in atmospheric conditions, and that the interaction between DMSO and carbon nanotubes (CNT) generates formate species. From 140 s of operation, the DMSO presented a low decomposition rate that remained the same until the end of the discharge.

nano-FTIR is an important tool to study complex discharge processes typically found in conversion batteries, as the case studied here for Lithium–Air.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Molecular Identity of Catalytic Agent IR neaSCOPE+s

Molecular Identity of Catalytic Agent

Unambiguous identification of catalytic poisoning species requires experimental methods simultaneously delivering accurate information regarding adsorption sites and adsorption geometries of adsorbates with nanometer-scale spatial resolution, as well as their detailed chemical structure and surface functional groups. However, to date, it has not been possible to study catalytic sulfur poisoning of metal/metal-oxide interfaces at the nanometer scale without sacrificing chemical identity. In this study, nano-FTIR & s-SNOM identify the chemical nature, adsorption sites, and adsorption geometries of sulfur-based catalytic poisons on a Pd(nanodisk)/Al2O3 (thin-film) planar model catalyst surface at the nanometer scale. In addition, this study reveals striking variations between sulfate species from one nanoparticle to another and even vast alterations of sulfur poisoning on a single Pd nanoparticle.

s-SNOM & nano-FTIR provide critical molecular-level insights crucial for the development of high-performance heterogeneous catalysts with extended lifetimes.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Luttinger liquid Plasmons IR neaSCOPE+s

Luttinger-liquid Plasmons

1D Luttinger-liquid plasmons formed inside carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are long-lived excitations with extreme electromagnetic field confinement. In the past, s-SNOM amplitude studies were limited to semiconducting CNTs which require additional doping. This s-SNOM phase study, allows investigation of metallic carbon nanotubes as they support strong tip-launched Luttinger-liquid plasmons at ambient conditions. The Authors extracted the dispersion relation of the hybrid Luttinger-liquid plasmon–phonon polaritons. The dispersion shows pronounced mode splitting, and an ultrastrong coupling regime with phonons of both investigated substrates, i.e., native silica and hBN. Such strong coupling of quasiparticles allows now applications like induced transparency, polariton lasing, changing of the rate of chemical reactions, or enhanced sensitivity in infrared and Raman spectroscopy

s-SNOM studies of Luttinger-liquid plasmons is an essential  application to develop novel low-loss plasmonic circuits for the sub-wavelength manipulation of light.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Solid State Battery IR neaSCOPE+s

Solid-State Battery

Solid-state batteries possess the potential to significantly impact energy storage industries by enabling diverse benefits, such as increased safety and energy density. However, challenges persist with physicochemical properties and processes at electrode/electrolyte interfaces. Thus, there is great need to characterize such interfaces in situ and unveil scientific understanding that catalyzes engineering solutions. In this study, the authors conduct multiscale in situ microscopies (optical, atomic force, and infrared near-field) and nano-FTIR of intact and electrochemically operational graphene/solid polymer electrolyte interfaces. They find nanoscale structural and chemical heterogeneities intrinsic to the solid polymer electrolyte initiate a cascade of additional interfacial nanoscale heterogeneities during Li plating and stripping; including Li-ion conductivity, electrolyte decomposition, and interphase formation.

nano-FTIR applies to buried interfaces and interphases in their native environment and  readily adaptable to a number of other electrochemical systems and battery chemistries.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Plasmon in Suspended Graphene IR neaSCOPE+s

Plasmon in Suspended Graphene

Plasmons in 2D graphene have been invariably studied in supported samples so far. The substrate provides stability for graphene but often causes undesired interactions (such as dielectric losses, phonon hybridization, and impurity scattering) that compromise the quality and limit the intrinsic flexibility of graphene plasmons. This s-SNOM study demonstrate the visualization of plasmons in suspended graphene and introduces the graphene suspension height as an effective plasmonic tuning knob that enables in situ change of the dielectric environment and substantially modulates the plasmon wavelength, propagation length, and group velocity. Such active control of micrometer plasmon propagation facilitates near-unity-order modulation of nanoscale energy flow that serves as a plasmonic switch with an on-off ratio above 14.

The suspended graphene plasmons possess long propagation length, high tunability, and controllable energy transmission simultaneously, opening up broad horizons for application in nano-photonic devices.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Organic Semiconductors IR neaSCOPE+s

Organic Semiconductors

Semiconductors based on organic polymers have several advantages over their conventional, mostly silicon-based cousins. They are simpler and cheaper to manufacture, and can be produced in the form of thin, flexible layers, which allows them to be attached to diverse substrates and surfaces. Their electrical conductivity and energy efficiency are a function of the properties of the materials of which they are made. This degree of molecular order affects the mobility and transport of the charge carriers within them. Up until now, it has been very difficult to access these structures experimentally. s-SNOM and nano-FTIR make a valuable contribution to our understanding of these layered systems and to organic electronics in general.

s-SNOM & nano-FTIR is ideally suited for monitoring and optimize growth parameters to get highly ordered organic films and thus faster devices with crucial impact in development of optoelectronic devices such as OLED technology, or organic solar cells.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Enzymatical Biocatalytic Reactions IR neaSCOPE+s

Enzymatical Biocatalytic Reactions

Biocatalytic transformations in living organisms, such as multi-enzyme catalytic cascades, proceed in different cellular membrane-compartmentalized organelles with high efficiency. Nevertheless, it remains challenging to mimic biocatalytic cascade processes of natural systems. One method to mimic natural enzymes is the use of multi-shelled metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Such MOFs can be used as a hierarchical scaffold to spatially organize enzymes on nanoscale to enhance cascade catalytic efficiency. In this study, the authors employed s-SNOM and nano-FTIR technology, which resolves nanoscale heterogeneity of vibrational activity associated to enzymes encapsulated in multi-shelled MOFs. This work provides important insights into developing complex multi-spatial compartmental systems for multi-enzyme catalytic cascades that hold great promise in many industrial processes.

Infrared nanoscale analysis reveals molecular identity of nm-small materials. Method which can be applied in many chemical and pharmaceutical industrial processes.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Phonon Polaritons & Organic Molecules IR neaSCOPE+s

Phonon Polaritons & Organic Molecules

Light plays an essential role in modern science and technology, with applications ranging from fast optical communication to medical diagnosis and laser surgery. In many of these applications, the interaction of light with matter is of fundamental importance. The images obtained in this work reveal that the interaction between infrared light and molecular vibrations can be so strong that eventually the material properties are modified, such as conductivity and chemical reactivity. This effect, called vibrational strong coupling, could be used in the future for development of ultrasensitive spectroscopy devices or to study quantum aspects of strong vibrational coupling that have been not accessible so far. 

Infrared s-SNOM imaging reveals vibrational strong coupling between propagating phonon polaritons and small organic molecules. A phenomenon with high potential to control fundamental physical and chemical material properties.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.


Secondary Structure of Sigle Proteins IR neaSCOPE+s

Secondary Structure of Sigle Proteins

The secondary structure of a proteins is highly relevant in the pathogenous mechanism leading to Alzheimer, Parkinson, and other neuro-degenerative diseases. Although a variety of methods have been developed to study the protein chemistry and structure, recognizing and mapping the secondary structure on the nanometer scale, or even with single protein sensitivity, is still a major challenge. nano-FTIR technology is used in this study to enabled nanoscale chemical imaging and probing of protein’s secondary structure with enormous sensitivity. In short, a sharp metalized tip is illuminated with a broadband infrared laser beam, and the backscattered light is analyzed with a specially designed Fourier transform spectrometer.

nano-FTIR probes the infrared spectroscopy and resolves the secondary structure of proteins complexes with diameter of 12 nm, 6 nm protein monolayer and even of 3 nm thin fibrils.

This measurement was realized with the IR-neaSCOPE+s.