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Materials Science

Materials science aims at uncovering the chemical and physical properties of solids as they relate to their atomic structure, with the purpose of manipulating materials to suit useful applications. This is a highly interdisciplinary endeavor that draws engineering, chemistry and physics expertise. While there are several types of solid materials - ceramics, magnetic materials, metals and alloys, optical materials, polymers, semiconductors, superconductors, and composites - the focus in the Department of Physics at Duquesne is on magnetic materials. Our materials science lab is equipped for the synthesis of nanostructured magnetic materials by mechanochemical activation and by pulsed laser deposition. The lab is also equipped for characterization of samples by Mossbauer spectroscopy, and by simultaneous thermal analysis. Additional characterization by x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy is carried out at chemistry and biochemistry facilities in the Duquesne campus.

Members

Members:
Monica Sorescu, PhD, Associate Professor.
Richard Trotta, undergraduate physics major, Duquesne University.

Collaborations
Optical diffuse reflectance spectroscopy: Jennifer Aitken, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Duquesne University.

Interpretation of XRD patterns: Lucian Diamandescu, PhD, Senior Researcher I, National Institute of Materials Physics, Bucharest, Romania.

Low temperature magnetic studies: Michael McHenry, PhD, Professor, Department of Materials Science Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University.

SQUID magnetometry: Mihaela Valeanu, PhD, Senior Researcher I, National Institute of Materials Physics, Bucharest, Romania.


Past members
Postdocs and research associates
Tianhong Xu, PhD (November 2009 - December 2011), currently Senior Engineer at FlexEl LLC.
Lucian Diamandescu, PhD (July 2004 - July 2006), currently Senior Researcher I, National Institute of Materials Physics, Bucharest, Romania.
Agnieszka Grabias, PhD (July 1999 - July 2001), currently Research Fellow at the Laboratory of Mossbauer Spectroscopy of the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology, Warsaw, Poland

Graduate assistants
Brigette Bartko, MS 2013, Duquesne University, environmental science and management
Lisa Barreiro, MS 2012, Duquesne University, environmental science and management

Undergraduate assistants
Zachary Bruno, BS 2005, Duquesne University, physics
Vasilii Bushunow, BS 2014, Duquesne University, physics
Amanda Daly, BS 2005, Duquesne University, physics
John DiGnazio, BS 2013, Duquesne University, physics
William Dorfner, BS 2009, Duquesne University, physics
Kevin Gossett, BS 2001, Duquesne University, business administration/information technology
Alex Hannan, spring 2011, sophomore physics major
Steve Herchko, BS 2012, Duquesne University, physics
Devin Hileman, BS 2010, Duquesne University, physics
Sean Krupa, BS 2010, Duquesne University, physics
Julia Limongelli, BA 2014, Duquesne University, physics
Thomas Oberst, BS 2001, Duquesne University, physics
Annalia Palumbo, BS 1998, Duquesne University, physics
Daniel Proch, BS 2006, Duquesne University, physics
Ashley Sanns, BS 2007, Duquesne University, physics
Christopher Stroh, BS 2014, Duquesne University, physics
Collin Wade, BS 2012, Duquesne University, physics
Adam Weber, BS 1998, Duquesne University, physics
Jason Wood, BS 2007, Duquesne University, physics
Alexis Zywan, BS 2001, Duquesne University, physics

 

Instrumentation

 

Complete laboratory for characterization of bulk and surface properties of materials by room-temperature transmission and conversion electron Mössbauer spectroscopy (Ranger Scientific); closed-cycle refrigerator system for low-temperature Mössbauer measurements; vacuum furnace for high-temperature Mössbauer measurements; vacuum pumps, vacuum gauges and controllers, temperature controllers, high-voltage power supplies; computers.
Susceptometer-magnetometer system with 3 T superconducting magnet and liquid helium cryostat for dc hysteresis loops and ac susceptibility measurements (LakeShore Cryotronics).
Excimer laser with deposition chamber for laser ablation deposition of thin films and multilayers (Lambda Physik and Neocera).
Sample preparation capabilities for generation of nanostructured materials by mechanical alloying and milling (SPEX) in controlled atmosphere (VAC) with or without applied magnetic field.
Thermal annealing furnace for temperatures up to 1700 C and controlled atmosphere (CM Furnaces).
Autoclave for hydrothermal synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles and various magnetic systems (PPI).
Simultaneous thermal analysis by DSC/DTA/TGA (Netzsch).

 

Publications

Representative Publications
Sorescu, M., Bushunow, V., Diamandescu, L., Tolea, F., Valeanu, M., Xu, T., Structural and magnetic properties of Li2O-Fe2O 3 ceramic nanostructures, Ceramics International 40, 5387-5395 (2014)

Sorescu, M., Xu, T., Wade, C., Burnett, J.D., Aitken, J.A., Synthesis and properties of V2O3-Fe2O 3 magnetic ceramic nanostructures, Ceramics International 39, 8441-8451 (2013)

Burnett, J.D., Xu, T., Sorescu, M., Strohmeier, B.R., Sturgeon, J., Gourdon, O., Baroudi, K., Yao, J.-L., Aitken, J.A., Location and oxidation state of iron in Fe-substituted CuInS 2 chalcopyrites, Journal of Solid State Chemistry 197, 279-287 (2013)

Sorescu, M., Xu, T., Wise, A., Díaz-Michelena, M., McHenry, M.E., Studies on structural, magnetic and thermal properties of xFe 2TiO 4-(1-x)Fe 3O 4 (0≤x≤1) pseudo-binary system, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 324, 1453-1462 (2012)

Sorescu, M., Xu, T., Diamandescu, L., Hileman, D., Synthesis and characterization of indium oxide-hematite magnetic ceramic solid solution, Hyperfine Interactions 199, 365-386 (2011)

Sorescu, M., Xu, T., Herchko, S., Recoilless fraction, structural, magnetic and thermal properties of Fe 73.5Cu1Nb3Si13.5B9 alloy, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 323, 2859-2865 (2011)

Sorescu, M., Diamandescu, L., Tarabasanu-Mihaila, D., Krupa, S., Feder, M., Iron and chromium mixed-oxide nanocomposites, Hyperfine Interactions 196, 359-368 (2010)

Sorescu, M., Diamandescu, L., Grabias, A., Laser ablated Fe100-xPdx and Fe 100-xMnx thin films (x=20 and 50), Intermetallics 14, 780-783 (2006)

Funding

National Science Foundation
Grant CHE-0923183: "MRI: Acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope for Imaging and Elemental Analysis in Research at Duquesne University" (9/2009 - 8/2012) $310,890.

Grant DMR-0854794: "Synthesis and Properties of Magnetic Ceramic Nanoparticles" (8/2009 - 7-2013) $361,291.

Grant DMR-9800753: "The laser-Mossbauer method" (8/1998 - 7/2002) $231,663.

Department of Energy
"Laser processing of advanced magnetic materials II" (9/2003 - 9/2004) $80,000.

"Laser processing of advanced magnetic materials I" (9/2002 - 9/2003) $80,512.

American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund
"Properties of magnetite at nanoscale" (9/2003 - 8/2006) $50,000.

Research Corporation
Cottrell College Science Award: "Laser-controlled synthesis of iron-oxide particles from metallic glass precursors" (5/1996 -5/1998) $36,550.

Internal funding
"Nanocrystalline materials by magnetic ball milling" (6/2006 - 5/2007) $10,000.

"Magnetic nanoparticles synthesized using the hydrothermal method" (9/2001 - 8/2002) $10,000.

"Structure-property relationship in cobalt-substituted magnetites" (6/1999 - 4/2000) $5,000.

"A Mossbauer study of Y3Co11-xFexB4 compounds" (6/1996 - 4/1997) $5,000.

"Generation of Fe-based nanostructures by mechanical alloying and milling" (4/1996 - 3/1997) $4,500.