Characterization Facilities

Many of the characterization tools that the Burns Research Group leverages are housed within the Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF), which is a state-of-the-art user facility located within the Materials Science Department. Not only is the facility available for use by all qualified students, but technicians, other students, and even faculty are available to assist researchers in using the instruments. A survey of the equipment available for use by students can be found below:

Sample Preparation

Equipment available for use in sample preparation include: cut-off saws, plasma cleaner, vibratory polisher, automatic polisher, 8" and 12" polishing wheels, electropolishing equipment, hardness testers (Knoop, Vickers, and Rockwell), jet polisher, and a variety of compound and stereo optical microscopes.

Digital Microscope

A Hirox KH 7700 digital microscope is often used by the Burns Research Group for more accurate measurements of machined notches in samples, but is also used for imaging at magnifications ranging from 0-7000x. The microscope offers a number of other interesting features, such as the ability to map a sample surface using tiling and the ability to dynamically focus on samples with surface height variations.

White Light Interferometry

The Zygo white light interferometer is heavily utilized by the Burns Research Group, especially those students who are investigating pitting and want to gather information on the depth of the pits.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

The NMCF offers two SEMs for students to use: a FEI Quanta 200 and a FEI Quanta 650 FEG. These tools are the bread and butter for the group, with students using them to image samples, conduct electron backscatter diffraction, or energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Both SEMs can also be used in low vacuum mode.

Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

The NMCF also offers two TEMs for students to use: a FEI Titan and JEOL 2000FX. These tools are currently being leveraged to image nanometer-scale precipitates in Ni-based superalloys, as well as to observe dislocation-precipitate interactions. The JEOL 2000FX has a multiude of holder options for students, including: single-tilt, double-tilt, hot/cold, and tensile holders for in-situ experiments. These instruments also allow the student to collect diffraction patterns of their materials and can be set up for electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and EDS.