Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Jiuhua Chen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Surendra K. Saxena

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

W. Kinzy Jones

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arvind Agarwal

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Wenzhi Li

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Ammonia borane, Hydrogen storage, Raman spectroscopy, Inorganic compounds, Nanoconfinements, High pressure

Date of Defense



Recently, ammonia borane has increasingly attracted researchers’ attention because of its merging applications, such as organic synthesis, boron nitride compounds synthesis, and hydrogen storage. This dissertation presents the results from several studies related to ammonia borane.

The pressure-induced tetragonal to orthorhombic phase transition in ammonia borane was studied in a diamond anvil cell using in situ Raman spectroscopy. We found a positive Clapeyron-slope for this phase transformation in the experiment, which implies that the phase transition from tetragonal to orthorhombic is exothermic. The result of this study indicates that the rehydrogenation of the high pressure orthorhombic phase is expected to be easier than that of the ambient pressure tetragonal phase due to its lower enthalpy.

The high pressure behavior of ammonia borane after thermal decomposition was studied by in situ Raman spectroscopy at high pressures up to 10 GPa. The sample of ammonia borane was first decomposed at ~140 degree Celcius and ~0.7 GPa and then compessed step wise in an isolated sample chamber of a diamond anvil cell for Raman spectroscopy measurement. We did not observe the characteristic shift of Raman mode under high pressure due to dihydrogen bonding, indicating that the dihydrogen bonding disappears in the decomposed ammonia borane. Although no chemical rehydrogenation was detected in this study, the decomposed ammonia borane could store extra hydrogen by physical absorption.

The effect of nanoconfinement on ammonia borane at high pressures and different temperatures was studied. Ammonia borane was mixed with a type of mesoporous silica, SBA-15, and restricted within a small space of nanometer scale. The nano-scale ammonia borane was decomposed at ~125 degree Celcius in a diamond anvil cell and rehydrogenated after applying high pressures up to ~13 GPa at room temperature. The successful rehydrogenation of decomposed nano-scale ammonia borane gives guidance to further investigations on hydrogen storage.

In addition, the high pressure behavior of lithium amidoborane, one derivative of ammonia borane, was studied at different temperatures. Lithium amidoborane (LAB) was decomposed and recompressed in a diamond anvil cell. After applying high pressures on the decomposed lithium amidoborane, its recovery peaks were discovered by Raman spectroscopy. This result suggests that the decomposition of LAB is reversible at high pressures.





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