|dc.rights||The work in this thesis can be split into three areas.
In the first, inelastic electron tunnelling spectroscopy (IETS) is used to investigate resistive and bias polarity dependent effects on vibrational mode energy in metal - aluminium oxide - metal tunnel junctions. It is shown that even when four point-probe techniques are used the ratio of width to thickness of the electrodes used in IET junctions has an effect on both the breadth and position of spectral lines. A simple treatment based upon work done by Giaever allows for such effects to be corrected. Work done on top metal and polarity effects in undoped IET junctions investigated the effect on the position of the 450 meV mode on reversing the applied bias. The investigation revealed that any dependence on the nature of the top-metal electrode was outside the accuracy of the work. Calculation of q/e for the hydroxyl group on alumina within the tunnel junction has been extended to include other electrode materials.
A new and exciting facility within the university provided the impetus for the second area of work. A class 100 clean room housing a Langmuir Blodgett (LB) trough offered the opportunity to produce metal - insulator - Langmuir Blodgett film
- metal tunnel junctions. It was realised at the outset that IETS using LB films would be difficult, previous workers had tried using a home-made tank with only limited success. However, the added sophistication of the new tank did not improve matters as was hoped. Although the results were disappointing, only a few junctions had resistances low enough to be usable in the spectrometer, the investigation produced some of the very few IET specra using junctions doped with LB films. The results also revealed the important role that imperfections and pin-holes play in the tunnelling process.
The last area used IETS to investigate two commercially important and interesting polymers, hydrogels and polymeric electrolytes. Hydrogel have many applications in the field of implants, prosthetic, and cosmetics and have been studied and developed for many years. Polymeric electrolytes have many commercial applications especially in the field of solid-state batteries and conducting polymers. The way in which hydrogels swell as they absorb water is important, as is the way they adsorb onto a surface and much work has been done to investigate these characteristics using bulk samples. The study done by this group is the first to investigate the swelling and adsorption behaviour of a monolayer of the hydrogel poly 2-hydroxylethyl methacrylate. The results from both investigations indicate that ester cleavage occurs in p-HEMA and that water incorporated within a hydrogel has a limited structure with the first layer being thinner than the second and subsequent layers.||en