Cluster 12: Scattering and Diffraction of Materials

Prerequisite for the cluster: none

The physics of Scattering and Phase Transitions

Instructor: Dave Belanger, PhD (Department of Physics)

The basic physics of X-ray and neutron scattering will be covered.  Scattering is an essential tool for exploring the atomic structure of crystals that form materials fundamental to our technology-driven lives.   Applications of scattering techniques to magnetic crystals will be explored.  We will address how magnets acquire long-range order as the temperature is lowered.  Transitions to ordered magnetic phases are particularly interesting because they can be measured with extraordinary precision.  That allows models of the transitions to be tested and refined, which is important because they are the same models that apply to other transitions, such as those whereby gases become liquids and those governing how important solid materials are formed. 

X-ray Diffraction of Materials and Their Chemical Properties

Instructor: Scott Oliver, PhD (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

This portion will cover the method of X-ray diffraction for characterizing a variety of materials that are important for environmental and energy applications.  Both single crystal and powder diffraction will be studied using our four instruments (two for each).  Both include a table-top version that will be ideal for this course.  The basic theory will be covered, including lattices/crystal structures, symmetry and diffraction planes.  Some details on each instrument will be discussed, along with ongoing demonstrations of the instruments.  Materials that will be synthesized include zeolites, nanoparticles, metal organic frameworks, metal alloys and thin films.  Time permitting, we will look into the chemical properties of some of these materials.

Transferable Skills: Tools for Success

It may or may not surprise you that being a university researcher requires a whole host of skills outside of the specific scientific knowledge required of your chosen discipline or specialty. It requires communication skills such as the ability to present your work in writing and orally. It requires competencies in the realm of information technology including the ability to find and judge (the validity of) information and use a variety of hardware and software tools (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, statistics software, other data manipulation tools). Conducting research requires data collection, analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and problem solving, as well as the ability to conduct laboratory and/or field work And, of course, a baseline competency in English, science, mathematics and computers is critical. 

The governing mission of the UCSC COSMOS Transferable Skills course is to promote students’ future academic (and professional) success through the exploration and development of transferable skills: i.e.,those competencies that students develop while in school which facilitate academic achievement, the eventual transition into the work-force and which are applicable in many other life situations.