The Ion Beam Lab
Welcome to Radiation Materials Science Group (Ions & Materials Facility)
Nuclear power is one solution to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy. One key issue in the so called "nuclear renaissance" is materials development. Reactors represent a very harsh environment with combined effects from radiation, stress and high temperature. For Generation IV reactors, the environments are even harsher and vessel materials need to withstand fast-neutron damage and a high temperature, up to 1600 C in accident situations. Our main research interests are materials degradation under extreme conditions. We use accelerators to test materials integrity, and to gain understanding of their behaviors, thus to develop advanced materials for clean and safe energy solutions.
The group hosts one of largest university accelerator labs in US. A total of five accelerators are available to produce beams of virtually any ion species in the energy region of a few hundred eV up to a few MeV. Due to the need of large space for these giant machines, the facility is split into two labs, one is located on campus and another a few miles away from the campus. Using accelerators to simulate radiation damage is only one part of our researches. We also use these tools for ion beam modification and ion beam characterization. The group has patented techniques to fabricate shallowest junctions for large scale Si based circuits and the patented techniques to transfer the thinnest electronic materials for flexible devices. The group is also well known for the work on various ion beam analysis techniques including Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, nuclear reaction analysis, and proton induced X-ray emission.
Our studies inevitably involve integrated experiments and modeling. Quantum mechanics based atomic scale simulations is often used to reveal fundamentals. This is particularly important in pico- and nano-second time scales where direct experimental studies are difficult. By using multiscale modeling we are able to link first principle calculations to materials behavior at large time and dimensional scales, which makes it possible to link to experimental observations. The commonly used computation tools available include commercial simulation packages such as Vienna Ab Initio Simulation Package (VASP), and Molecular Dynamics Simulation Package such as LAMMPS, and Finite Element Analysis and various project oriented rate theory calculation. The modeling results are compared with atomic scale characterization obtained from, for example, high resolution transmission electron microcopy, scanning tunneling microscope, and 3-D atomic probe tomography.
Our facility is designed to support research and teaching efforts in materials science. It serves as a platform to offer short courses, to train students, and to carry out research projects. The lab is run under funding supports from Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, National Laboratories, private foundation and industry.
So, what makes us different? You will see when you further explore this website.