Graduate Studies


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Chemistry, Under the Supervision of Professor Chin Li Cheung. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2011

Copyright (c) 2011 Hsin-Yu Liu

This thesis is embargoed until December 2013.


Lanthanide compounds often possess unusual physical properties due to their high spin f-electron atoms. The study of the semi-metallic nature of gadolinium nitride (GdN) for the fabrication of spin-filtering devices is hindered because of the lack of high quality oriented crystalline GdN films and efficient synthesis method. Samarium sulfides have many interesting physical, electronic, optical properties including low resistivity, high mobility and visible wavelength absorption. However, applications of samarium sulfides have been limited due to the unavailability of synthetic procedures for high quality crystalline thin films and thus insufficient study and understanding these materials.

In this thesis, a novel low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) technique was introduced for the synthesis of gadolinium nitride (GdN) films and αlpha phase samarium sesquisulfide (α-Sm2S3) nanowire textured films. The as-synthesized samples via LPCVD were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, selected area electron diffraction and x-ray powder diffraction and UV-Vis spectroscopy. The described synthetic method yielded highly polycrystalline [100] textured GdN films and highly crystalline with preferential growth along the (100) crystal plane. The assynthesized crystalline nanowire textured α-Sm2S3 thin films was showed to characteristic f to f transition peaks.

Advisor: Chin Li Cheung