• Characterization of microwave and terahertz dielectric properties of single crystal La2Ti2O7 along one single direction

      Zhang, Man; Tang, Zhiyong; Zhang, Hangfeng; Smith, Graham; Jiang, Qinghui; Saunders, Theo; Yang, Bin; Yan, Haixue; Huazhong University of Science and Technology; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Chinese Academy of Sciences (Elsevier, 2021-08-02)
      New generation wireless communication systems require characterisations of dielectric permittivity and loss tangent at microwave and terahertz bands. La2Ti2O7 is a candidate material for microwave application. However, all the reported microwave dielectric data are average value from different directions of a single crystal, which could not reflect its anisotropic nature due to the layered crystal structure. Its dielectric properties at the microwave and terahertz bands in a single crystallographic direction have rarely been reported. In this work, a single crystal ferroelectric La2Ti2O7 was prepared by floating zone method and its dielectric properties were characterized from 1 kHz to 1 THz along one single direction. The decrease in dielectric permittivity with increasing frequency is related to dielectric relaxation from radio frequency to microwave then to terahertz band. The capability of characterizing anisotropic dielectric properties of a single crystal in this work opens the feasibility for its microwave and terahertz applications.
    • Millimeter-Wave Free-Space Dielectric Characterization

      Liu, Xiaoming; Gan, Lu; Yang, Bin; Anhui Normal University; Wuhu CEPREI Information Industry Technology Research Institute; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-05-07)
      Millimeter wave technologies have widespread applications, for which dielectric permittivity is a fundamental parameter. The non-resonant free-space measurement techniques for dielectric permittivity using vector network analysis in the millimeter wave range are reviewed. An introductory look at the applications, significance, and properties of dielectric permittivity in the millimeter wave range is addressed first. The principal aspects of free-space millimeter wave measurement methods are then discussed, by assessing a variety of systems, theoretical models, extraction algorithms and calibration methods. In addition to conventional solid dielectric materials, the measurement of artificial metamaterials, liquid, and gaseous-phased samples are separately investigated. The pros of free-space material extraction methods are then compared with resonance and transmission line methods, and their future perspective is presented in the concluding part.
    • Volatile Liquid Detection by Terahertz Technologies

      Baxter, Harry W.; Worrall, Adam A.; Pang, Jie; Chen, Riqing; Yang, Bin; University of Chester; Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (Frontiers Media, 2021-04-08)
      The prospect of being able to move through security without the inconvenience of separating liquids from bags is an exciting one for passengers, and there are important operational benefits for airports as well. Here, two terahertz (THz) systems, 100 GHz sub-THz line scanner and attenuation total reflection-based THz time domain spectroscopy (TDS), have been used to demonstrate the capability of identifying different liquid samples. Liquid samples’ THz complex permittivities are measured and their differences have contributed to the variation of 100 GHz 2D images of volatile liquids with different volumes inside of cannister bottles. The acquired attenuation images at 100 GHz can easily be used to distinguish highly absorbed liquids (Water, Ethanol, Fuel Treatment Chemicals) and low loss liquids (Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene and Universal Bottle Cleaner). The results give a promising feasibility for mm-wave imager and THz spectroscopy to efficiently identify different volatile liquids.
    • Terahertz reading of ferroelectric domain wall dielectric switching

      Zhang, Man; Chen, Zhe; Yue, Yajun; Chen, Tao; Yan, Zhongna; Jiang, Qinghui; Yang, Bin; Eriksson, Mirva; Tang, Jianhua; Zhang, Dou; et al.
      Ferroelectric domain walls (DWs) are important nano scale interfaces between two domains. It is widely accepted that ferroelectric domain walls work idly at terahertz (THz) frequencies, consequently discouraging efforts to engineer the domain walls to create new applications that utilise THz radiation. However, the present work clearly demonstrates the activity of domain walls at THz frequencies in a lead free Aurivillius phase ferroelectric ceramic, Ca0.99Rb0.005Ce0.005Bi2Nb2O9, examined using THz time domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS). The dynamics of domain walls are different at kHz and THz frequencies. At low frequencies, domain walls work as a group to increase dielectric permittivity. At THz frequencies, the defective nature of domain walls serves to lower the overall dielectric permittivity. This is evidenced by higher dielectric permittivity in the THz band after poling, reflecting decreased domain wall density. An elastic vibrational model has also been used to verify that a single frustrated dipole in a domain wall represents a weaker contribution to the permittivity than its counterpart within a domain. The work represents a fundamental breakthrough in understanding dielectric contributions of domain walls at THz frequencies. It also demonstrates that THz probing can be used to read domain wall dielectric switching.
    • Enhanced design of an offgrid PV-battery-methanation hybrid energy system for power/gas supply

      Xu, x; Hu, W; Cao, D; Liu, W; Huang, Q; Hu, Y; Chen, Z; University of ESTC; Utrecht University; University of Chester; Aalborg University
      Extensive studies have been carried out on various hybrid energy systems (HESs) for providing electricity to off-grid areas. However, a standalone HES that is capable of providing power and gas, has been less studied. In this paper, a standalone Photovoltaic (PV)-battery-methanation HES is proposed to provide adequate, reliable and cost-effective electricity and gas to the local consumers. Identifying a potential solution to maximize the reliability of the system, asked by consumers, and to minimize costs required by the investors is challenging. Bi-level programming is adopted in this study to tackle the pre-mentioned issue. In the outer layer, an optimal design is obtained by means of particle swarm optimization. In the inner layer, an optimal operation strategy is found under the optimal design of the outer layer using sequential quadratic programming. The results indicate that 1) The bi-level programming used in this study can find the optimal solution; 2) The proposed HES is proved to be able to supply power and gas simultaneously. 3) Compared with the right most and leftmost points on Pareto set, the total costs are reduced by 17.77% and 2.16%.
    • Ultrafast Electric Field-induced Phase Transition in Bulk Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 under High Intensity Terahertz Irradiation

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Man; McKinnon, Ruth A.; Viola, Giuseppe; Zhang, Dou; Reece, Michael J.; Abrahams, Isaac; Yan, Haixue; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Central South University
      Ultrafast polarization switching is being considered for the next generation of ferroelectric based devices. Recently, the dynamics of the field-induced transitions associated with this switching have been difficult to explore, due to technological limitations. The advent of terahertz (THz) technology has now allowed for the study of these dynamic processes on the picosecond (ps) scale. In this paper, intense terahertz (THz) pulses were used as a high-frequency electric field to investigate ultrafast switching in the relaxor ferroelectric, Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3. Transient atomic-scale responses, which were evident as changes in reflectivity, were captured by THz probing. The high energy THz pulses induce an increase in reflectivity, associated with an ultrafast field-induced phase transition from a weakly polar phase (Cc) to a strongly polar phase (R3c) within 20 ps at 200 K. This phase transition was confirmed using X-ray powder diffraction and by electrical measurements which showed a decrease in the frequency dispersion of relative permittivity at low frequencies.
    • Enhanced design of an offgrid PV-battery-methanation hybrid energy system for power/gas supply

      Xu, Xiao; Hu, Weihao; Cao, Di; Liu, Wen; Huang, Qi; Hu, Yanting; Chen, Zhe
      Extensive studies have been carried out on various hybrid energy systems (HESs) for providing electricity to off-grid areas. However, a standalone HES that is capable of providing power and gas, has been less studied. In this paper, a standalone Photovoltaic (PV)-battery-methanation HES is proposed to provide adequate, reliable and cost-effective electricity and gas to the local consumers. Identifying a potential solution to maximize the reliability of the system, asked by consumers, and to minimize costs required by the investors is challenging. Bi-level programming is adopted in this study to tackle the pre-mentioned issue. In the outer layer, an optimal design is obtained by means of particle swarm optimization. In the inner layer, an optimal operation strategy is found under the optimal design of the outer layer using sequential quadratic programming. The results indicate that 1) The bi-level programming used in this study can find the optimal solution; 2) The proposed HES is proved to be able to supply power and gas simultaneously. 3) Compared with the right most and leftmost points on Pareto set, the total costs are reduced by 17.77% and 2.16%.
    • Structure and dielectric properties of double A-site doped bismuth sodium titanate relaxor ferroelectrics for high power energy storage applications

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Hangfeng; Fortes, Dominic; Yan, Haixue; Abrahams, Isaac; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
      The structural and dielectric properties of barium/strontium substituted Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 were examined in compositions of general formula (Ba0.4Sr0.6TiO3)x(Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3)1-x. An average classic cubic perovskite structure is maintained from x = 0.5 to 1.0. The temperature dependence of dielectric properties of studied compositions shows relaxor-ferroelectric behaviour attributed to the existence of polar nano-regions. Ferroelectric measurements under variable temperature demonstrated two transitions from normal ferroelectric to relaxor-ferroelectric and relaxor-ferroelectric to paraelectric, at the dipole freezing temperature, Tf, and temperature of maximum permittivity, Tm, respectively. The obtained value of Tf coincides with the onset of linear thermal expansion of the cubic unit cell parameter obtained from high resolution powder neutron diffraction data. Careful analysis of the neutron diffraction data revealed no significant change in the average cubic structure from -263 to 150 C. However, changes in the Gaussian variance component of the neutron peak shape, reveal three distinct regions with transitions at about -100 and 100 C corresponding to the beginning and end of the dielectric dispersion seen in the permittivity and loss spectra. This variation in the Gaussian variance parameter is attributed to the activity of the polar nano-regions. The composition (Ba0.4Sr0.6)0.5(Bi0.5Na0.5)0.5TiO3 was found to exhibit the maximum recoverable energy storage density, with a value of 1.618 J cm-3 and 76.9% storage efficiency at a field of 17 kV mm-1.
    • Multiscale Understanding of Electric Polarization in Poly(vinylidene fluoride)-Based Ferroelectric Polymers

      Yang, Bin; Meng, Nan; Xintong, Ren; Zhu, Xiaojing; Wu, Jiyue; Gao, Feng; Zhang, Han; Liao, Yaozu; Bilotti, Emiliano; Reece, Michael; et al.
      Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and PVDF-based copolymers with trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE) have attracted considerable academic and industrial interest due to their ferroelectric properties, which are only presented in very few polymers. However, the underlying fundamentals of molecular ordering and induced polarizations are complex and not fully understood. Herein, PVDF, PVDF-TrFE and their blends, prepared using melt extrusion and hot pressing, have been selected to obtain controlled case studies with well-defined chain ordering and microstructures. Impedance analysis and terahertz time-domain spectroscopy are exploited to investigate electric polarization in PVDF-based polymers at different length scales. The extruded ferroelectric films show in-plane chain orientation and higher domain wall density compared to hot pressed films with randomly-distributed polymer chains, which favors the polarization at low frequencies (Hz to MHz), as concluded from the higher dielectric constants and more prominent high electric field polarization switching features. However, the domain walls cannot respond at high frequencies, which leads to lower dielectric constants in the extruded films at THz frequencies.
    • Terahertz Signatures of Hydrate Formation in Alkali Halide Solutions

      Ligang, Chen; Ren, Guanhua; Liu, Liyuan; Guo, Pan; Wan, Endong; Zhou, Lu; Zhu, Zhonglie; Zhang, Jianbing; Yang, Bin; Zhang, Wentao; et al.
      We systematically studied the ability of 20 alkali halides to form solid hydrates in the frozen state from their aqueous solutions by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy combined with density functional theory (DFT) calculations. We experimentally observed the rise of new terahertz absorption peaks in the spectral range of 0.3-3.5 THz in frozen alkali halide solutions. The DFT calculations prove that the rise of observed new peaks in solutions containing Li+, Na+ or F‾ ions indicates the formation of salt hydrates, while that in other alkali halide solutions is caused by the splitting phonon modes of the imperfectly crystallized salts in ice. As a simple empirical rule, the correlation between the terahertz signatures and the ability of 20 alkali halides to form a hydrate has been established.
    • Domain wall free polar structure enhanced photodegradation activity in nanoscale ferroelectric BaxSr1-xTiO3

      Wang, Yaqiong; Zhang, Man; Jianguo, Liu; Zhang, Haibin; Li, Feng; Tseng, Chiao-Wei; Yang, Bin; Smith, Graham C.; Zhai, Jiwei; Zhang, Zhen; et al.
      Ferroelectric materials exhibit anomalous behavior due to the presence of domains and domain walls which are related to the spontaneous polarization inherent in the crystal structure. Control of ferroelectric domains and domain walls has been used to enhance device performances in ultrasound, pyroelectric detectors and photovoltaic systems with renewed interest in nanostructuring for energy applications. It is also known that the ferroelectric including domain walls can double photocatalytic rate and increase carrier lifetime from μs to ms[1] However, there remains a lack of understanding on the different contributions of the domain and domain walls to photo-catalytic activities. Herein it is found, by comparing samples of nanostructured BaxSr1 xTiO3 with and without a polar domain, that the material with polar domains has a faster reaction rate (k=0.18 min-1) than the non polar one (k = 0.11 min-1). It is further revealed that the observed enhanced photoactivity of perovskite ferroelectric materials stems from the inherent polarization of the domain instead of domain walls. Here, the new understanding of the underlying physics of materials with a spontaneous dipole opens a door to enhance the performance of light induced energy harvesting systems.
    • Probing NaCl hydrate formation from aqueous solutions by Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy

      Yang, Bin; University of Chester
      The cooling-induced formation of hydrate in aqueous NaCl solutions was probed using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS). It was found that the NaCl hydrate formation is accompanied with emergence of four new absorption peaks at 1.60, 2.43, 3.34 and 3.78 THz. Combining the X-ray diffraction measurement with the solid-state based density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we assign the observed terahertz absorption peaks to the vibrational modes of the formed NaCl⋅2H2O hydrate during cooling. This work dedicates THz-TDS based analysis great potential in studying ionic hydrate and the newly revealed collective vibrational modes could be the sensitive indicators to achieve quantitative analysis in phase transitions and lattice dynamics.
    • Overcurrent relays coordination optimisation methods in distribution systems for microgrids: a review

      Abeid, S; Hu, Yanting; University of Chester
      Electric power networks connected with multiple distributed generations (microgrids) require adequate protection coordination. In this paper, the overcurrent relay coordination concept in distribution system has been presented with details. In this available literature, the previous works on optimisation methods utilised for the coordination of over current relays; classification has been made based on the optimisation techniques, non-standard characteristics, new constraints that have been proposed for optimal coordination and dual setting protection schemes. Then a comprehensive review has been done on optimisation techniques including the conventional methods, heuristic and hybrid methods and the relevant issues have been addressed.
    • Mechanism between Material Microstructures and Terahertz Dielectric Properties

      Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE, 2019-10-21)
      Significant progress has been made in developing reliable Terahertz (THz) measurement spectroscopy to extract materials’ dielectric properties, however, systematic research on exploring intrinsic mechanism between microstructure of ceramics and THz dielectric properties such as loss, permittivity and dispersive characters has barely started. The paper focuses on one dielectric ceramic system (TiO2), its addition with Zn2SiO4 dielectrics and one hexa-ferromagnetic system to expatiate the association.
    • Terahertz Probing Irreversible Phase Transitions Related to Polar Clusters in Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3-based Ferroelectric

      Yang, Bin; University of Chester (Wiley-VCH, 2020-02-16)
      Electric-field-induced phase transitions in Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 (BNT)-based relaxor ferroelectrics are essential to the controlling of their electrical properties and consequently in revolutionizing their dielectric and piezoelectric applications. However, the fundamental understanding of these transitions is a long-standing challenge due to their complex crystal structures. Given the structural inhomogeneity at the nanoscale or sub-nanoscale in these materials, dielectric response characterization based on terahertz (THz) electromagnetic-probe beam-fields, is intrinsically coordinated to lattice dynamics during DC-biased poling cycles. The complex permittivity reveals the field-induced phase transitions to be irreversible. This profoundly counters the claim of reversibility, the conventional support for which, is based upon the peak that is manifest in each of four quadrants of the current-field curves. The mechanism of this irreversibility is solely attributed to polar clusters in the transformed lattices. These represent an extrinsic factor which is quiescent in the THz spectral domain.
    • Isolation of a Ferroelectric Intermediate Phase in Antiferroelectric Dense Sodium Niobate Ceramics

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Hangfeng; Yan, Haixue; Abrahams, Isaac (Elsevier, 2019-08-22)
      Switchable ferroelectric/antiferroelectric ceramics are of significant interest for high power energy storage applications. Grain size control of this switching is an interesting approach to controlling polarization and hence dielectric properties. However, the use of this approach in technologically relevant ceramics is hindered by difficulty in fabricating dense ceramics with small grain sizes. Here an intermediate polar ferroelectric phase (P21ma) has been isolated in dense bulk sodium niobate ceramics by grain size control through spark plasma sintering methods. Our findings, supported by XRD, DSC, P-E (I-E) loops and dielectric characterization, provide evidence that the phase transition from the antiferroelectric (AFE) R-phase, in space group Pnmm, above 300 C, to the AFE P-phase, in space group Pbma, at room temperature, always involves the polar intermediate P21ma phase and that the P21ma to Pbma transition can be suppressed by reducing grain size.
    • Fabrication of Graphene Oxide Supercapacitor Devices

      Down, Michael P.; Rowley-Neale, Samuel J.; Smith, Graham C.; Banks, Craig E. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-02-14)
    • Dielectric and Double Debye Parameters of Artificial Normal Skin and Melanoma

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Rui; Yang, Ke; AbuAli, Najah A.; Hayajneh, Mohammad; Philpott, Mike; Abbasi, Qammer H.; Alomainy, Akram; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-05-16)
      The aim of this study is to characterise the artificial normal skin and melanoma by testing samples with different fibroblast and metastatic melanoma cell densities using terahertz (THz) time-domain spectroscopy (TDS) attenuated total reflection (ATR) technique. Results show that melanoma samples have higher refractive index and absorption coefficient than artificial normal skin with the same fibroblast density in the frequency range between 0.4 and 1.6 THz, and this contrast increases with frequency. It is primarily because that the melanoma samples have higher water content than artificial normal skin, and the main reason to melanoma containing more water is that tumour cells degrade the contraction of the collagen lattice. In addition, complex refractive index and permittivity of the melanoma samples have larger variations than that of normal skin samples. For example, the refractive index of artificial normal skin at 0.5 THz increases 4.3% while that of melanoma samples increases 8.7% when the cell density rises from 0.1 to 1 M/ml. It indicates that cellular response of fibroblast and melanoma cells to THz radiation is significantly different. Furthermore, the extracted double Debye (DD) model parameters demonstrate that the static permittivity at low frequency and slow relaxation time can be reliable classifiers to differentiate melanoma from healthy skin regardless of the cell density. This study helps understand the complex response of skin tissues to THz radiation and the origin of the contrast between normal skin and cancerous tissues.
    • Quality Mapping of Offset Lithographic Printed Antenna Substrates and Electrodes by Millimeter-Wave Imaging

      Zhang, Jiao; Tang, Jianhua; Sun, Wenfeng; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Bin; Wang, Xinke; University of Chester (MDPI, 2019-06-14)
      Offset lithographic printed flexible antenna substrate boards and electrodes have attracted much attention recently due to the boost of flexible electronics. Unmanned quality inspection of these printed substrate boards and electrodes demands high-speed, large-scale and nondestructive methods, which is highly desired for manufacturing industries. The work here demonstrates two kinds of millimeter (mm)-wave imaging technologies for the quality (surface uniformity and functionality parameters) inspection of printed silver substrates and electrodes on paper and thin polyethylene film, respectively. One technology is a mm-wave line scanner system and the other is a terahertz-time domain spectroscopy-based charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging system. The former shows the ability of detecting transmitted mm-wave amplitude signals only; its detection is fast in a second time scale and the system shows great potential for the inspection of large-area printed surface uniformity. The latter technology achieves high spatial resolution images of up to hundreds of micrometers at the cost of increased inspection time, in a time scale of tens of seconds. With the exception of absorption rate information, the latter technology offers additional phase information, which can be used to work out 2D permittivity distribution. Moreover, its uniformity is vital for the antenna performance. Additionally, the results demonstrate that compression rolling treatment significantly improves the uniformity of printed silver surfaces and enhances the substrate’s permittivity values.
    • Microstructure and broadband dielectric properties of Zn2SiO4 ceramics with nano-sized TiO2 addition

      Weng, Zhangzhao; Song, Chunxiao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Xue, Hao; Sun, Wenfeng; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Bin; Reece, Michael J.; Yan, Haixue; Xiamen University; Capital Normal University; University of Chester; Queen Mary, University of London; China Electronic Product Reliability and Environmental Testing Research Institute (Elsevier, 2019-04-06)
      Zn2SiO4 ceramics with nano-sized TiO2 addition (ZST) were synthesized by conventional solid state method. The association between the new composite’s microstructures and dielectric properties reveals that reduced pores, increased density and average grain sizes with increasing sintering temperatures, have contributed to the increased permittivities at kHz and microwave bands; the decrease of the permittivities at 1275 0C is due to the form of twin planes. At the terahertz band, the competition of generating oxygen vacancies and forming them into twin crystallographic shear planes dominates the change of permittivities: the crystallographic shear planes decrease the permittivity at the sintering temperature 12250C and 12500C, and the high-rate generation of oxygen vacancies at 1275 0C increases the permittivities. The ZST ceramics demonstrate stable permittivity and low dielectric losses (<10-3 from 10 kHz to microwave band; and < 10-2 at THz range); and the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency is optimized to close zero. These advanced dielectric properties and low sintering temperature (<13000C) provide the ZST ceramics great potential in designing microwave and THz devices.