Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Jiuhua Chen

First Advisor's Committee Title



High pressure, Low temperature, Hydrogen storage, Diamond anvil cell

Date of Defense



Hydrogen has been considered as a potentially efficient and environmentally friendly alternative energy solution. However, one of the most important scientific and technical challenges that the “hydrogen economy” faces is the development of safe and economically viable on-board hydrogen storage for fuel cell applications, especially to the transportation sector. Ammonia borane (BH3NH3), a solid state hydrogen storage material, possesses exceptionally high hydrogen content (19.6 wt%).However, a fairly high temperature is required to release all the hydrogen atoms, along with the emission of toxic borazine. Recently research interests are focusing on the improvement of H2 discharge from ammonia borane (AB) including lowering the dehydrogenation temperature and enhancing hydrogen release rate using different techniques. Till now the detailed information about the bonding characteristics of AB is not sufficient to understand details about its phases and structures.

Elemental substitution of ammonia borane produces metal amidoboranes. Introduction of metal atoms to the ammonia borane structure may alter the bonding characteristics. Lithium amidoborane is synthesized by ball milling of ammonia borane and lithium hydride. High pressure study of molecular crystal provides unique insight into the intermolecular bonding forces and phase stability. During this dissertation, Raman spectroscopic study of lithium amidoborane has been carried out at high pressure in a diamond anvil cell. It has been identified that there is no dihydrogen bond in the lithium amidoborane structure, whereas dihydrogen bond is the characteristic bond of the parent compound ammonia borane. It has also been identified that the B-H bond becomes weaker, whereas B-N and N-H bonds become stronger than those in the parent compound ammonia borane. At high pressure up to 15 GPa, Raman spectroscopic study indicates two phase transformations of lithium amidoborane, whereas synchrotron X-ray diffraction data indicates only one phase transformation of this material.

Pressure and temperature has a significant effect on the structural stability of ammonia borane. This dissertation explored the phase transformation behavior of ammonia borane at high pressure and low temperature using in situ Raman spectroscopy. The P-T phase boundary between the tetragonal (I4mm) and orthorhombic (Pmn21) phases of ammonia borane has been determined. The transition has a positive Clapeyron slope which indicates the transition is of exothermic in nature. Influence of nanoconfinemment on the I4mm to Pmn21 phase transition of ammonia borane was also investigated. Mesoporus silica scaffolds SBA-15 with pore size of ~8 nm and MCM-41 with pore size of 2.1-2.7 nm, were used to nanoconfine ammonia borane. During cooling down, the I4mm to Pmn21 phase transition was not observed in MCM-41 nanoconfined ammonia borane, whereas the SBA-15 nanocondfined ammonia borane shows the phase transition at ~195 K. Four new phases of ammonia borane were also identified at high pressure up to 15 GPa and low temperature down to 90 K.





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