A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Summer Research at Cornell University

In today's world of nanotechnology, the properties of extremely small materials have become extremely important. It turns out that, as the size (or thickness) of a material becomes small, the properties change dramatically. A thin (~10-1000nm) film deposited onto a larger substrate, for example, supports several times the stress of the "normal" size material! For this reason, a whole field in science is dedicated to the study of thin films.

Houghton professor Dr. Brandon Hoffman collaborates with Dr. Shefford Baker at Cornell University.  Each summer, students study the properties of thin metal films at the Cornell Center for Materials Research.

The films are deposited and characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Electron Backscattered Diffraction (EBSD), and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Each student is placed in charge of one area of the project and performs both the background research and experimental work of that particular area. This gives the students a sense of ownership and expertise in the project.