Physics Colloquium: Dr. Matthew Dawber, Building better functional materials with advanced deposition and x-ray diffraction
Building better functional materials with advanced deposition and x-ray diffraction
Dr. Matthew Dawber
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY
If the oft-quoted maxim in materials design is that “the whole is more than the sum of the parts”, it is also true that “the devil is in the details”. In the case of ferroelectric oxides, this is especially true. Our work in building artificially layered heterostructures of these materials has shown that their key functional properties, including the nanoscale arrangement of electrical polarization and their ability to act as photocatalysts to generate hydrogen fuel, are determined by events that occur during their fabrication. The properties of interest also depend strongly on tiny details such as the precise arrangement of atoms on their surfaces. Therefore in many ways “the journey is as important as the destination”. Through the use of synchrotron x-ray diffraction performed in-situ during growth and other dynamic processes we can learn a great deal about the processes and develop insight into how we can influence the processes at key points to greatly enhance the final properties of our materials.