The fuel used for nuclear energy production is normally enclosed in zirconium-based cladding tubes that constitute the first barrier between the radioactive material and the environment. In water-moderated reactors, cladding tubes tend to corrode, generating hydrogen as side product. The study of the hydrogen embrittlement in zirconium alloys is of high relevance for the industry.
Depending on temperature, local hydrogen concentration, and local stress conditions, different hydrogen-induced embrittlement mechanisms can be active in the cladding material: in certain conditions hydrogen in solid solution might cause material softening through a mechanism known as hydrogen enhanced localized plasticity (HELP).
With the goal of determining the conditions necessary to activate the HELP effect in zirconium alloys, samples have been evaluated by different micro-mechanical and macro-mechanical techniques. Results highlight the importance of the interplay between solid solution hydrogen and hydrides on the hardness and yield point of the tested materials.
The van-der-Waals material CrSBr stands out as a promising two-dimensional magnet. Here, we report on its detailed magnetic and structural character- istics. We evidence that it undergoes a transition to an A-type anti- ferromagnetic state below TN ≈ 140 K with a pronounced two-dimensional character, preceded by ferromagnetic correlations within the monolayers. Furthermore, we unravel the low-temperature hidden-order within the long- range magnetically-ordered state. We find that it is associated to a slowing down of the magnetic fluctuations, accompanied by a continuous reorienta- tion of the internal field.
Proteins hover in front of the X-ray beam at a Swiss Light Source beamline. Now, spinning thin films bring on board these trickiest of proteins.
How are the first olefins formed in the early stages of the methanol-to-olefins process? Detection of two reactive ketene species solves this long-standing puzzle.
Thin-Film Oxynitride Photocatalysts for Solar Hydrogen Generation: Separating Surface and Bulk Effects Using Synchrotron X-Ray and Neutron-Based Techniques
The conversion of solar light into hydrogen by photoelectrochemical water splitting is one of the potential strategies that can allow the development of a carbon-neutral energy cycle. Oxynitride semiconductors are promising materials for this application, although important limitations must still to be addressed. One of the most important issues is physicochemical degradation of the semiconductor, at the interface with water, where the electrochemical reactions occur. In this regard, thin films, with well-defined and atomically flat surfaces, are invaluable tools for characterizing material properties and degradation mechanisms, while identifying strategies to mitigate detrimental effects. Thin oxynitride films may allow the use of complementary characterizations, not applicable to conventional powder samples. In particular, the study of the solid–liquid interface can benefit enormously from the use of thin films for synchrotron-based surface-sensitive X-Ray scattering methods and neutron reflectometry. These investigation approaches promise to speed up the design and discovery of new materials for the production of solar fuels, while paving the way for similar applications in other research fields. This work aims at reviewing the literature contributions on oxynitride thin films for solar water splitting summarizing what is learnt so far and suggesting experimental strategies to unveil what is still not clear.
Waves of magnetic excitation sweep through this new material whether in superconducting mode or not – another clue to the mystery of loss-less electric currents.
Hydrogen will play an important role in a future energy system based on renewable sources, providing energy storage, being a base material for industry and an energy carrier in transport applications. For the efficient electrification of hydrogen, polymer electrolyte fuel cell technology is developed and applied today in trucks, passenger cars and stationary applications. It is envisaged that even more demanding applications such as airplanes may follow. For road transport applications an increase in power density is required to further reduce cost and future applications may need these advances to be technically competitive. In this work we describe a novel concept for gas diffusion layers, highly important for achieving high fuel cell power densities.
We present a novel monitoring strategy for 3D print processes that consists of developing and training a hybrid machine learning model that can classify regimes across different time scales based on heterogeneous sensing data.
Zinc deficiency compromises the immune system and is a global public health problem. Through experiments at the Swiss Light Source SLS and BESSYII, researchers gained new insights into zinc storage, with implications for understanding COVID-19 severity.
Topological magnon insulators constitute a growing field of research for their potential use as information carriers without heat dissipation. We report an experimental and theoretical study of the magnetic ground-state and excitations in the van der Waals two-dimensional honeycomb magnet ErBr3. We show that the magnetic properties of this compound are entirely governed by the dipolar interactions which generate a continuously degenerate non-collinear ground-state on the honeycomb lattice with spins confined in the plane.