Four-Year College Faculty-Student Team Fellowships Program
In summer 2016, the following faculty/student teams joined the MRSEC group:
The team worked on two different projects contributing to an overall goal of developing systems with coupling between piezoelectric or ferroelectric and magnetic materials. The first project focused on using post-deposition annealing to improve the structure of thin films of the organic ferroelectric vinylidene flouride (VDF) in order to promote a higher crystallinity. This involves characterizing the films with atomic force microscopy and x-ray diffraction as a function of annealing time and temperature. The second project looked at surface acoustic waves (SAWs) on LiNbO3. These substrates visually degrade with high temperature processing, which is problematic for the ultimate goal of coupling them with oxide thin films, so we are performing measurements of the SAW power spectrum and transmission for a variety of annealing temperatures.
The team performed a Brewster angle microscopy study of ferroelectric polymer films. Ultrathin (less than 2 nanometers) films of the ferroelectric polymer Polyvinylidene Fluoride can form on the surface of water. By shining incident laser light at the water Brewster angle, the film can be observed and its behavior can be monitored during compression.
Carolina Ilie and Julia D’Rozario worked on interface-engineered materials for high-efficiency all organic solar cells. Creating flexible and bendable solar cell arrays would be very valuable for fast implementation or temporary renewable energy generation. The novel fabrication techniques allow us to explore the different organic semiconductors combined with dopants and specialized organic additives and to identify the most promising molecular combinations. Carolina and Nicholas Noviasky worked with the Dowben group on voltage controlled perpendicular magnetic anisotropy by exploring the samples in the MOKE (Magneto Optical Kerr Effect) system.
"A high degree of spin polarization in electron transport is one of the most technologically appealing materials property which can be used in spintronics – an emerging technology utilizing a spin degree of freedom in electronic devices. An ideal candidate to exhibit highly spin-polarized current is a room temperature half-metal, a material which behaves as a conductor for one spin channel and as an insulator for the other spin channel. Using first principles calculations, the team studied a candidate material which could exhibit such properties, a semi-Heusler compound, IrMnSb. In particular, they investigated spin-dependent transport properties of this material under hydrostatic pressure and epitaxial strain, and also studied how electronic structure of IrMnSb changes in low-dimensional geometry, i.e. thin film."