Department laboratories are well-equipped with extensive instrumentation and support services for the investigation of all aspects of the composition, microstructure, and properties of materials. Major pieces of equipment with auxiliary apparatus are operated as central research facilities and are available to all qualified research personnel. A partial listing of these research facilities and dedicated laboratories follows:
I. Facilities for Microstructure Determination
A. Electron Microscope and Image Processing Facility
The Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF) located in MSE is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to microscopy and microanalysis of materials from atomic to microscopic levels. The center has three transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), including JEOL 2010F, JEOL 4000EX and JEOL 2000FX TEMs, two scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), including JEOL 6700F and JEOL 840A SEMs, an FEI 200 focused Ga+ ion beam (FIB) microscope, extensive hardware/software for image simulation, processing and analysis, and a variety of specimen preparation equipment. Some capabilities of these instruments include:
- Atomic imaging of materials with 0.17 nm point resolution
- Elemental analysis of regions 0.5-1.0 nm in diameter
- Elemental mapping and energy-filtered imaging
- Dynamic experiments utilizing heating, cooling and straining holders
- Orientational mapping of materials
- Microstructural engineering, characterization, imaging and modification of surfaces
- Computer acquisition and processing of images and spectra
The Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF) is available for use by all qualified faculty, students and researchers at UVa, as well as by researchers from other universities and industries.
B. Focused Ion Beam Facility
The department has recently installed a state-of-the-art Gallium Focused Ion Beam system. This instrument alloys direct sputtering, chemically enhanced etching, metal and insulator deposition, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, and tomographic secondary electron/ion imaging, with resolution of order 10 nm.
C. X-ray Diffraction Facility
The centerpiece of the department's x-ray facility is a Scintag automated powder x-ray diffraction system consisting of a 3.5 kW x-ray generator, a biplane vertical/horizontal theta/theta goniometer, and a Peltier cooled Si(Li) detector all under direct computer control. Besides performing data collection in a variety of modes, computer software capabilites include: data reduction and manipulation, JCPDS search- match, quantitative analysis, particle size and residual stress analysis. High and low temperature attachments provide a temperature range from 4 degrees to 3000 degrees K.
A second Scintag instrument, which has recently been added, is a fully computer automated texture goniometer and diffraction system. An additional x-ray generator supports a variety of camera techniques. Besides the customary Laue and Debye-Scherrer methods, cameras are available for polymer diffraction experiments, including a Weissenberg camera and a flat plate camera for use from -40 to 200 degrees C.
D. Optical Microscope Facilites
A Nikon Microphot FX and a Zeiss ICM 405 are available for metallographic studies. These metallographs provide facilites for Nomarski interference, hot stage and polarized light microscopy. Other optical microscopes are available for routing laboratory use.
II. Materials Preparation and Processing Facilities
A wide variety of specimen preparation facilities includes an isothermal heat treatment lab which has 6 large salt/lead pots with stirring motors, oil baths, single and triple zone tube furnaces, as well as muffle furnaces. A multipurpose vacuum metallurgical furnace can be used as a resistance furnace with a maximum temperature of 1650 degrees C or as an induction furnace for the preparation of alloys. The ports can be used to encapsulate reactive metal in inert gases for high temperature heat treatment.
An arc melting unit is on hand for preparation of laboratory sized castings of metallic alloys. A high energy mechanical attritor is available for mechanical alloying. Several ultra-high vacuum deposition units are used for epitaxial growth of thin film materials. Special equipment for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is available.
The department has a hot press that is capable of processing composite, powder metallurgy alloy ingots, and ceramic materials. The capabilities of the press are temperatures up to 2000 degrees C and forces up to 22,000 pounds. Fabrication can be carried out in either vacuum or an inert atmosphere.
The fully equipped metallurgical laboratory includes a Fenn high precision rolling mill, low speed cut-off wheels, grinding and polishing equipment, and facilities for electroetching and/or electropolishing metallographic samples. Apparatus for the preparation of electron microscope specimens include equipment for electrothinning of metals and alloys, several ion mills for thinning metals, ceramics and polymers, a microtome for sectioning of biological or polymer materials, several evaporators for vacuum coating, shadowing or production of replicas, and sputtering equipment for coating of SEM specimens.
III. Facilities for Mechanical Properties Determination
Excellent facilities are available for the determination of such mechanical properties as deformation, fatigue, creep, fracture, hardness, and toughness for a wide variety of materials including metals and alloys, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Major equipment consists of six computerized servohydraulic test machines, a servoelectric unit, two electromechanical testing machines, seven creep machines, a Tinius-Olsen impact tester, a microhardness tester, and special machines for tensile testing of whiskers and fibers in the micron size range. Accessories are available for testing at elevated temperatures with environmental control. Special tensile stages have been constructed for in situ deformation and fracture studies in the TEM/STEM.
IV. Polymer Science Facilities
Special equipment available for research on polymers includes apparatus for measurement of thermal and electrical conductivity, optical properties and image analysis, especially at high pressures. Facilities are also available for infrared spectroscopy, viscosity determination, differential thermal analysis and calorimetry, and automatic osmometry. Theoretical and modeling computations utilize a variety of commerical and other software running on networked workstations.
V. Electronic Materials Facilities
Epitaxial growth of semiconductor materials by chemical vapor deposition utilizes metal-organic sources suited to III-V compounds. Automated control of all functions allows sufficient flexibility to grow quaternary alloys with high and low doping concentrations. A three-zone furnace capable of zone leveling at temperatures of 1500°C has been installed for the preparation of thermoelectric bulk alloys. An RF furnace is also available for bulk crystal growth. Equipment for electrical characterization includes a contact resistance probe, an apparatus for measuring thermal diffusivity and conductivity, Seebeck coefficient and electrical resistivity over a range of temperatures, a parametric analyser and probe station for measuring device characteristics. Cooperation with the Electrical Engineering Department expands our characterization abilities to Hall measurements, precision slicing and dicing equipment, Tencor profilometer, photoluminescence and C-V profiling.
The department also possesses state-of-the-art electron microscopy and focused ion beam facilities, as described in Section I. These instruments are used widely for characterization, fabrication and processing of electronic materials and devices.
VI. Electrochemistry Facilities
Extensive instrumentation is available for electrochemical measurements and research in corrosion, metal recovery, electrosynthesis, industrial cathodes, and fuel cell electrocatalysis. The array of equipment includes computer-controlled electrochemical work stations capable of a wide variety of electrochemical measurements, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy workstations, and rotating electrode equipment. In addition, extensive solution analysis capabilities exist including ion chromatography, HPLC, and capillary electrophoresis. A thermal desorption spectroscopy allows the determination of the hydrogen content within materials. Over 40 computers are connected via a local area network for experiment control, data collection and analysis. A Vacuum Atomospheres dry box for work in controlled atmospheres is also available. High-resolution, quantitative topographical and electrochemical studies can be performed with a Scanning Reference Electrode system, a Scanning Kelvin Probe, a Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope, and an Atomic force Microscope.
Sophisticated instrumentation is available for control of stress and chemical variables and for in-situ monitoring of crack growth during fracture mechanics studies of environment assisted fatigue and fracture. Six servoelectric or servohydraulic mechanical testing machines are used for measurements of material behavior under elevated temperature, ultrahigh vacuum, full immersion, and slow strain rate conditions. Crack growth is followed with high resolution via three direct current potential drop systems.
VII. Surface Science
The ability to perform surface studies is afforded by a Perkin Elmer 560 system, equipped with X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES), and Ion Scattering Spectroscopy (ISS), that can be combined with depth profiling using sputtering with a 0.1-5 keV ion beam. The facility is used by researchers in the department, and by other researchers at U.Va., other universities, national laboratories, and industry, to investigate and solve a wide range of surface problems. Samples studies include pure metals and alloys, ceramics, composites, polymers, minerals, and condensed gases. In addition, a 300 kV ion accelerator (Veeco/Accelerators inc) allows to modify the surface layers of materials by ion implantation of a wide variety of ions across the periodic table.
VIII. Additional Facilities
Extensive photographic facilities, including 35mm, medium format and large format view cameras and well- equipped darkrooms exist for handling all photographic requirements. Much specialized equipment exists for various research projects such as pycnometer density measurements and a laser bench for optical transforms.