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Binh Duong
A jubilant Binh Duong celebrates her best poster win at the annual meeting of the Microscopy Society of America and the Microbeam Analysis Society in August 2008 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Materials Science and Engineering Students Win Best Poster at Professional Meetings

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Materials Science and Engineering Students Win Best Poster at Professional Meetings

Sept. 12, 2008
UA Engineering students collect best-of awards for their research on carbon nanotubes.

Binh Duong, a new PhD student in Professor Supapan Seraphin’s research group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), received best poster award in the advanced instrumentation category at Microscopy and Microanalysis 2008.

Duong presented the poster -- Combined Raman Spectroscopy and SEM Analysis of CVD Grown Carbon Nanotubes -- at the annual meeting of the Microscopy Society of America and the Microbeam Analysis Society, held in August 2008 in Albuquerque, N.M. Duong did the work while she was still an undergraduate student in Materials Science and Engineering.

Carbon nanotube
Artist's rendition of carbon nanotube structure. (Photo: CC BY-CA 3.0)

“Due to their novel properties,” said Duong, “carbon nanotubes have very good potential applications, such as air pollution filters, electrical circuits and energy storage.”

Industry Collaboration

Margo Ellis, another PhD student from MSE, received best poster award for physical science at the annual meeting of the Arizona Imaging and Microanalysis Society held in Flagstaff, Ariz., in April 2008. The poster -- A SEM-Structural Chemical Analyzer Study of Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes Grown by Chemical Vapor Deposition -- presented research done in collaboration with Motorola Labs in Tempe, Ariz.

Ellis has been a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow since 2007, when the NSF awarded her a grant to support her PhD study for three years.

Nobel prize winner Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman, 1888-1970. (Photo: GQ India)

Raman spectroscopy is named after the Indian scientist, Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman, who in 1928 discovered the inelastic light scattering on which this type of spectroscopy is based. He won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery.

Professor Seraphin described her department’s SEM as “state of the art” and said the award was “exciting, and an indicator of the high caliber of research at the UA.”

Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical carbon molecules of a length that may exceed one million times their diameter, which is typically a few nanometers, or about 1/50,000th of the width of a human hair. Carbon nanotubes have the greatest tensile strength of all known materials. One type of nanotube has been determined to have a tensile strength equivalent to suspending more than 60 tons from a cable with a cross-sectional area of one square millimeter.

A photomicrograph of pollen that demonstrates the characteristic 3-D appearance of scanning electron photomicrography. (Photo: CC BY-SA 4.0)

SEM stands for scanning electron microscope, which renders images by scanning its subjects with an electron beam. Electrons in the beam interact with the subject’s atoms and produce signals that can be analyzed by detectors to yield information about the subject’s composition and topography. The SEM can create images of extremely high resolution that reveal details of about one nanometer in size. The great depth of field of these micrographs is what gives them their signature 3-D look.

CVD stands for chemical vapor deposition, whereby volatile compounds are solidified into highly pure materials on a substrate, such as a silicon wafer. Synthetic diamonds are produced using CVD.