Materials Science and Engineering Research Laboratory
Research in materials is an interdisciplinary undertaking. Graduate students are co-mentored by Physics faculty and do part of their thesis research using the facilities of the Research Institutes associated with the Physics Department and the School of Engineering. The research work in this laboratory focuses on the preparation and characterization of materials. In particular we are interested in materials suitable for optical and telecommunication applications. Techniques for materials synthesis include, sol-gel technology for preparing nano scale crystallites of optically active semiconductors (GaxAl1-xN) and Cr (IV)- doped olivine ceramics (Cr (IV): LiInGeO4, etc), devitrification of glass-ceramics to form optically active nano sized micro-crystallites, use of liquid-phase epitaxy to grow layered materials for optical wave guide applications and using the Czochralski technique to grow large optically active single crystals for use as tunable solid state lasers. Additional, ongoing, research involves finding ways to keep the nano-scale materials from agglomeration. Here we are interested in combining the nano particles with a supporting matrix, suitable for device fabrication, while retaining the nano characteristics of the optically active component.