Nanocharacterization of Functional Materials for Biomagnetic Sensing an Breath Analysis

The presented thesis is covering materials aspects for the development of magnetoelectric sensors for biomagnetic sensing and solid state sensors for breath monitoring. The electrophysiological signals of the human body and especially their irregularities provide extremely valuable information about the heart, brain or nerve malfunction in medical diagnostics. Similar and even more detailed information is contained in the generated biomagnetic fields which measurement offers improved diagnostics and treatment of the patients. A new type of room temperature operable magnetoelectric composite sensors is developed in the framework of the CRC1261 Magnetoelectric Sensors: From Composite Materials to Biomagnetic Diagnostics. This thesis focuses on the individual materials structure-property relations and their combination in magnetoelectric composite sensors studied by electron beam based techniques, at lengths scales ranging from micrometers to atomic resolution. The first part of this thesis highlights selected studies on the structural and analytic aspects of single phase materials and their composites using TEM as the primary method of investigation. With respect to the piezoelectric phase, alternatives to AlN have been thoroughly investigated to seek for improvement of specific sensor approaches. In this context, the alloying of Sc into the AlN matrix has been demonstrated to yield high quality films with improved piezoelectric and unprecedented ferroelectric properties grown under the control of deposition parameters. Lead-free titanate films with large piezo-coefficients at the verge of the morphotropic phase boundary as alternative to PZT films have been investigated in terms of crystal symmetry, defect structure and domains of cation ordering. New morphologies of ZnO and GaN semiconductors envisioned for a piezotronic-based sensor approach were subject of in-depth defect and analytical studies describing intrinsic defects and lattice strains upon deposition as well as hollow composite structures. When the dimensions of a materials are reduced, novel exciting properties such as in-plane piezoelectricity can arise in planar transition-metal dichalcogenides. Here, the turbostratic disorder in a few-layered MoSe2 film has been investigated by nanobeam electron diffraction and Fast Fourier Transformations. From the perspective of magnetic materials, the atomic structure of magnetostrictive multilayers of FeCo/TiN showing stability up to elevated temperatures has been analyzed in detail regarding the crystallographic relationship of heteroepitaxy in multilayer composites exhibiting individual layer thicknesses below 1 nm. Further, magnetic hard layers have been investigated in the context of exchange spring concepts and ME composites based on shape memory alloy substrates have been studied regarding structural changes implied by different annealing processes. The second part of this thesis introduces materials aspects and sensor studies on gas detection in the clinical context of breath analysis. The detection of specific vapors in the human breath is of medical relevance, since certain species can be enriched depending on the conditions and processes within the human body. Hence, they can be regarded as biomarkers for the patients condition of health. The selection of suitable materials and the gas measurement working principle are considered and selected studies on solid state sensors with different surface functionalization or targeted application on basis of ZnO or CuO-oxide and Fe-oxide species are presented.


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