MSE Briefs

Announcements and updates by the faculty and students of the UVA Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    Environmental Science Geochemistry Students Tour NMCF

    November 01, 2022

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    UVa Environmental Science Students in Prof. Steve Macko's Geochemistry Class ( EVGE 7850 ) tour the X-ray Diffraction and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy laboratories, where NMCF Scientists, DIane Dickie and Helge Heinrich, describe instrumentation and methods.

    Last Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, graduate and undgraduate students in Prof. Steve Macko's Geochemistry (EVE 7850) took a short field trip from the Environmental Science department to the NMCF, where our staff (Diane Dickie and Helge Heinrich) demonstrated X-ray instrumentation. Dr. Dickie ran samples of table salt on the Empyrean X-ray Diffractometer (XRD) to determine the mineral composition, while Dr. Heinrich showed the students around the X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS). Students learned what information can be learned from each instrument's spectra, as well as the types of samples appropriate for each analytical method.






    Balachandran’s Research Group Uncovers Low Thermal Conductivity Behavior of Novel Thermoelectric Materials

    September 27, 2022

    Thermoelectric materials have been of great interest for a number of decades due to their ability to generate power, such as recycling of waste heat. Prasanna Balachandran, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering, is conducting research to deepen theoretical knowledge about polar thermoelectric materials for energy conversion technologies. 

    UVA Students Deepen Research and Broaden Horizons at 7th Venice International School in Lasers in Material Science

    August 19, 2022

    Ph.D. students Antonios Valavanis, Anustup Chakraborty and Julissa Velasquez traveled to Isola di San Servolo this July to participate in the 7th Venice International School in Lasers in Material Science. A total of 38 Ph.D. students — including the three UVA and five other students from the United States — completed the intensive biennial summer program.

    NMCF Director Jim Howe Retires

    July 25, 2022

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    NMCF Director Jim Howe has trained hundreds of students to utilize transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high-resolution scanning-TEM at the University of Virginia. He is shown here with Ph.D. student Niquana Smith.

    With his retirement from UVa, Professor Jim Howe has stepped down as Director of the UVa's Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF), a position he has held for more than 18 years. During his tenure, the NMCF has grown significantly in both instrumentation and personnel. The facility is now host to two state-of-the-art scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEMs) for atomic-resolution imaging and X-ray and energy-loss analysis at the atomic level, two scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) for high-resolution imaging and compositional characterization, a combined focused ion beam (FIB)-SEM for preparation of TEM samples and cross-sectional analysis, three X-ray diffractometers (XRDs) for identification and characterization of crystal structures, a mapping X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) for determination of material surface composition and chemistry, a combined confocal Raman spectrometer/atomic force microscope (AFM) to provide chemical analysis in combination of surface structure, an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF) for sensitive measurement of bulk composition, a Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer (FT-IR) for chemical bond analysis, and a complete suite of optical instruments and metallographic preparation facilities for determining the microstructure of materials. At the same time, NMCF staff has risen from a single member to a team of five professionals with varied characterization and analytical expertise.  Jim organized facility operation during the renovation of Jesser Hall and oversaw the development of remote training modules for instrumentation during the COVID shutdown. His strong advocacy, positive outlook, and scientific leadership within the NMCF will be missed. A replacement Director has not yet been named.