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Scattering and Instrumentation Sciences


Ultrafast Materials Science

Program Leader:  Alessandra Lanzara
Co-PI's: Robert Kaindl, Joseph Orenstein

This program seeks to investigate the properties of strongly correlated materials by shining light onto them. Intense laser pulses have been used to restructure the free-energy landscape of these materials, and to generate rapid switching between the various forms of order deriving from the strong correlation. State of the art high harmonic generation photoemission spectroscopy and time- and spin- resolved photoemission spectroscopy systems have been developed. The future goal is to stimulate materials at selective excitations with higher intensity laser pulses to establish a mean for manipulation and control of materials properties.


C. L. Smallwood, T. L Miller, W. T. Zhang, R. A. Kaindl, A. Lanzara. Nonequilibrium electron dynamics in a solid with a changing nodal excitation gap. Physical Review B 23, 235107 (2016).

W. T. Zhang, T. Miller, C. Smallwood, T. Yoshida, H. Eisaki, R. A. Kaindl, D. H. Lee, A. Lanzara. Stimulated emission of Cooper pairs in a high-temperature cuprate superconductor. Scientific Reports 6, 29100 (2016).

T. Miller, C. L. Smallwood, W. Zhang, H. Eisaki, J. Orenstein, A. Lanzara. Photoinduced changes of the chemical potential in superconducting Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ. Physical Review B 92, 144506 (2015).


Soft Matter Electron Microscopy

Program Leader: Nitash Balsara
Co-PI's: Ken Downing, David Prendergast, Jeffrey Kortright, Andrew Minor, Ronald Zuckermann

We aim to produce images of soft materials with atomic resolution using electron microscopy. This is inherently challenging because soft materials are unstable under the electron beam. To do so, we will design and implement a pre-specimen phase plate that takes advantage of a recently demonstrated scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) imaging mode that is more efficient than conventional high-resolution STEM. Sophisticated averaging algorithms will also be used to extract high resolution information from low exposure images, where Fourier transforms along orthogonal directions will be used to align individual images. To demonstrate these imaging concepts, we will use crystalline nanostructures formed by self-assembly of amphiphilic peptoid molecules in water. Of particular interest are structures formed by diblock copolypeptoids where conventional wisdom suggests that these molecules should form micellar aggregates with collapsed hydrophobic cores. In contrast, we obtain hollow crystalline tubes with hydrophobic groups exposed to water. Confirming this by atomic-scale imaging is important for a general understanding of molecular self-assembly. A series of peptoids with sequences of monomers specifically designed to enable high resolution electron microscopy will be synthesized by solid phase synthesis. Molecular dynamics will be used to characterize thermal fluctuations and disorder, and this information will be convoluted with the contrast transfer function of the microscope used in experiments to obtain theoretical images. This new framework for atomic resolution imaging on model peptoids will be applied to improve the resolution of electron microscopy of more conventional soft polymeric materials.


J. Sun, X. Jiang, R. Lund, K.H. Downing, N.P. Balsara, and R.N. Zuckermann. Self-assembly of crystalline nanotubes from monodisperse amphiphilic diblock copolypeptoid tiles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 113(1), pg. 52–57 (2016).

J. Sun, X. Jiang, A. Siegmund, M. D. Connolly, K.H. Downing, N.P. Balsara, R.N. Zuckermann. Morphology and Proton Transport in Humidified Phosphonated Peptoid Block Copolymers. Macromolecules, vol. 49(8), pg. 3083–3090 (2016).

K. J. Harry, X. Liao, D.Y. Parkinson, A.M. Minor, N.P. Balsara. Electrochemical Deposition and Stripping Behavior of Lithium Metal across a Rigid Block Copolymer Electrolyte Membrane. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, vol. 162(3), p. A389-A405, (2015).