This grant supports the acquisition of an ultra high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscope for materials science research and education. This state-of-the-art microscope will be equipped with standard secondary and backscattered electron detectors, a low kV backscatter detector, a scanning transmission microscopy (STEM) detector, an energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis system, an electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) system, and an attachment for electron beam lithography. The instrument and accessories have been chosen to meet the diverse needs of the multi-disciplinary, multi-user Central Analytical Facility. Specific research projects with immediate needs for this equipment include: Fundamental Micromechanics and Materials Dynamics of Thermal Barrier Coating Systems Containing Multiple Layers; Electron Beam Lithographic Patterning of Magnetic Nanostructures; Development of a Simplistic Method for Processing Intermetallic Sheet Materials Using Cold Roll Bonding Annealing; Surfactant/Polymer Templated Synthesis of Nanostructures; Deposition of Metal and High K Dielectric Thin Films by Plasma Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition for Research and Education; and Membrane Microstructure Characterization.
The materials science enterprise at the University of Alabama encompasses the departments of chemical engineering, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering, metallurgical and materials engineering and physics. Within this enterprise the Center for Materials for Information Technology educates students in the different science and engineering disciplines for careers in high technology. The acquisition of this instrument will aid in the recruitment and retention of African Americans through a unique three-week summer program administered at The University of Alabama to introduce mathematics and science educators from HBCU's to materials science and engineering (NSF DMR-9976488 Introducing Science Faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Materials Science and Engineering). This workshop, which is provided to faculty and instructors from HBCU's at no cost, is designed to provide faculty members and educators with a thorough introduction to the materials science and engineering discipline and to familiarize them with the instruments needed to develop materials science based examples and/or experiments for use in their own courses. A teaching module is in place that could utilize the proposed instrumentation.