Small Things Considered at MRL

“Small things considered.” Materials science and engineering assistant professor Pinshane Huang’s group’s tag line is illustrative of the nano- and molecular-scale electronics she and her students image and research at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Lab (MRL).

Daniel Vaz, a materials science and engineering sophomore at the University of Illinois, has been working on developing advanced image processing methods for  transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as part of the Huang group.

“TEM imaging is a technique used to [understand materials at the] atomic-scale… it helps us connect material structures to their properties,” Vaz said.


MatSE sophomore Daniel Vaz studies 2D materials.
MatSE sophomore Daniel Vaz studies 2D materials.

Vaz studies 2D materials such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) in his research; both materials have interesting electrical and mechanical properties. By studying defects in the materials via TEM, they can find ways to make smaller, faster microprocessors and more efficient devices that interact with light on the nanometer scale in the future.

“By correlating atom-by-atom imaging and spectroscopy with in- and ex-situ device measurements, we can trace a direct link between atomic structure and chemistry, microstructure, and device performance,” Huang said.  “Examples of the impact of our work include the development of flexible, energy efficient electronics and new types of light harvesting materials.”

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