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Solid Electrolyte Materials for use in Li-water Primary Batteries and the Synthesis and Characterization of Lanthanide Orthoferrite Magnetic Nanomaterials Open Access

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This thesis was developed in two parts with the overall goals of this work being (1) synthesize and develop solid electrolyte materials for use in a lithium-water battery and (2) synthesize and characterize ternary magnetic nanomaterials.Lithium metal in combination with water is a highly attractive power source due to its high specific energy. Because of the vigorous nature of the reaction between lithium and water, many obstacles must be overcome in order to harness the energy that this system is capable of producing. Parasitic reactions must be controlled so as not to passivate the lithium or consume it totally. In addition, production of hydrogen gas that accompanies both the electrochemical and parasitic reactions can present a serious challenge. As a result it is difficult to maintain high voltage and control the current density in these systems. In order to overcome these obstacles we have developed composite membranes of various lithium-ion conducting solid electrolytes and polymers. Lithium-ion conducting solid electrolytes are known to achieve ionic conductance as high as 10-3 S/cm2. Utilizing these materials in conjunction with polymers, we have created hydrophobic membranes that allow us to limit the parasitic reactions and maintain low cell impedance. Lanthanide orthoferrite materials are technologically important classes of magnetic materials. They have found application in magneto-optical devices as well as in magnetic recording devices. We have explored the syntheses and magnetic properties of nanocrystalline materials. The synthesis of the nanomaterials was done by co-reduction of lanthanide, Ln3+, and iron, Fe3+, cations with alkalide solution producing the Ln-Fe alloy of the desired stoichiometry. Removal of the byproducts and oxidization of the alloy was accomplished by washing the product with aerated water. Presented herein, several nanoscale lanthanide orthoferrite materials (LnFeO3, Ln = Gd, Tb, Er, Tm, Sm, Dy, Ho, and La) have been prepared. The products have been characterized by X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and magnetic properties characterized by use of a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID).

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