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Scientific Opportunities: Materials & Chemical Sciences

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Growth and Processing of Advanced Materials

One of the key scientific challenges in coming decades will be the synthesis of advanced materials, ranging from single crystals to thin films and nanoscale structures. It is clear that in-situ studies using synchrotron light will play a central role in characterizing the samples produced and understanding how to synthesize these materials.

The growth of thin films is a non-equilibrium phenomenon governed by a competition between kinetics and thermodynamics. The figure illustrates common themes in thin film growth processes and methods. The properties of a large fraction of naturally and artificially grown materials depend on the interface between the growing crystal and its surrounding environment. One challenge of characterizing growing systems in real time is the wide variation in the density of crystal growth environments, which ranges from ultra-high vacuum environments to dense liquid/crystal interfaces.

NSLS-II will produce photons in energy ranges that are well suited for characterizing these interfaces. NSLS-II will take us beyond the study of static surfaces and make the study of dynamically evolving surfaces and interfaces, critical to understanding and optimizing the growth of materials, practical and routine.

In thin film growth, vapor atoms are continuously deposited on the surface. These deposited atoms migrate on the surface and interact with each other, forming 2D and 3D clusters, as well as attaching to the step edges. These interactions determine the morphology of the film.


Last Modified: May 2, 2014
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