Low-temperature heat capacity data contain information on the physical properties of materials, and new models continue to be developed to aid in the analysis and interpretation of heat capacity data into physically meaningful properties. This work presents the development of two such models and their application to real material systems. Equations describing low-energy vibrational modes with a gap in the density of states (DOS) have been derived and tested on several material systems with known gaps in the DOS, and the origins of such gaps in the DOS are presented. Lattice vacancies have been shown to produce a two-level system that can be modeled with a sum of low-energy Schottky anomalies that produce an overall linear dependence on temperature in the low-temperature heat capacity data. These two models for gaps in the vibrational DOS and the relationship between a linear heat capacity and lattice vacancies and many well-known models have been applied to several systems of materials to test their validity and applicability as well as provide greater information on the systems themselves. A series of bulk and nanoscale Mn-Fe and Co-Fe spinel solid solutions were analyzed using the entropies derived from heat capacity data, and excess entropies of mixing were determined. These entropies show that changes in valence, cation distribution, bonding, and the microstructure between the mixing ions is non-ideal, especially in the nanoparticles. The heat capacity data of ten Al doped TiO2 anatase nanoparticle samples have also been analyzed to show that the Al3+ dopant ions form small regions of short-range order, similar to a glass, within the TiO2 particles, while the overall structure of TiO2 remains unchanged. This has been supported by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy and provides new insights to the synthesis and characterization of doped materials. The final investigation examines nanocrystalline CuO using heat capacities, magnetization, XRD, and electron microscopy and compares the findings to the known properties of bulk CuO. All of these measurements show transitions between antiferromagnetic and paramagnetic states in the temperature range of about 150-350 K that are greater in number and higher in temperature than the transitions in bulk CuO. These changes are shown to cause an increase in the temperature range of multiferroicity in CuO nanoparticles.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





thermodynamics, heat capacity, lattice vacancies, materials, nanoparticles, mixing, characterization