Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Dissertation (CMU Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemical Engineering


Andrew J. Gellman


Multicomponent metal alloys play an essential role in many technologies and their properties must be optimized by rational selection of the alloy’s components and its fractional composition of each. High-throughput materials synthesis allows us to prepare Composition Spread Alloy Films (CSAFs), sample libraries that contains all possible compositions of a binary or ternary alloy. In our lab, a Rotatable Shadow Mask (RSM) – CSAF deposition tool has been developed for the creation of CSAFs. Such CSAFs can be prepared with composition gradients and/or thickness gradients in arbitrarily controlled directions and on a variety of substrates. Once prepared, the CSAF libraries can be characterized thoroughly using a variety of highthroughput spectroscopic methods. Their bulk composition is mapped across the library using Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). The near-surface compositions are mapped across composition space using X-ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS). Finally, the electronic structure can be mapped using UV photoemission spectroscopy (UPS) and valence band XPS. Once characterized, these CSAFs are being used for high-throughput studies of alloy catalysis and thermal properties of the alloys and of alloy-substrate interfaces. First of all, PdzCu1-z CSAF was prepared to show that alloy nanoparticles (aNPs) and thin films can adopt phases that differ from those of the corresponding bulk alloy. The mapping of XPS-derived core level binding energy shifts across PdzCu1-z SCSNaP library shows a promising result that the FCC phase can be dimensionally stabilized over the composition range where B2 phase exists in the bulk. This observation can potentially improve the performance of PdzCu1-z NP catalysts in H2 separation. Secondly, the relationship between catalyst activity-electronic structure-composition has been investigated. A high throughput characterization of electronic structure (valence band energy) of binary PdxAg1-x and ternary PdxCuyAu1-x-y CSAFs were performed by XPS. This XPS-derived valence band center is compared with UPS-derived data across PdxCuyAu1-x-y CSAFs. In addition, H2-D2 exchange reaction was studied on PdxAg1-x CASF. A higher HD formation rate is experimentally observed but cannot be predicted by the Langmuir-Hinshelwood model when the surface coverage is saturated. However, the proposed H2-D2 exchange mechanism (breakthrough model) involved with surface and subsurface hydrogen reaction is investigated to produce a same reaction order as Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism, which cannot explain the experimental observation. Furthermore, the thermal interface conductance (G) was studied as a function of metal alloy composition. A high-throughput approach to preparation, characterization, and measurement of G was also demonstrated to study the thermal property of alloyed materials. Our result in studying the G across the AuxY1-x (Y = Pd and Cu) CSAFs-dielectric interfaces has shown a linear relationship with alloy composition, which monotonically increases with decreasing Au (at. %). Lastly, the effect of interdiffusion in metal films on G at metal-dielectric interface was also examined. The XPS depth profiling was designed to experimentally determine the temperature effect on compositional profiles in the Au-Cu system, and how to further influence G. This study provides fundamental understanding of stability of adhesion layer of Cu and the effect of interdiffusion in Cu-Au alloy on the heat dissipation. All in all, the key value to these CSAF libraries is that they enable measurement of important alloy properties across entire binary or ternary alloy composition spaces, without the need to prepare and characterize numerous discrete composition samples.

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