Material Science Mission Statement
Extend the knowledge base of the interaction properties and processes of materials with energetic photons (near DC through the low energy x-ray spectrum), electrons, and ions. Mechanistic studies with applications in industry and government motivate research efforts.
Objectives and Applications
The knowledge and use of materials captivate the essence of one’s ability to harness one’s future. Animate and inanimate materials excited with various forms of energy exhibit qualities that may enhance or inhibit one’s mission. Objectives lead to investigating and cultivating these qualities with the goals of developing models to predict the response of the material.
As of August 2004, the laboratory investigated a handful of “material” studies. Of the three studies presented here, two studies are ongoing.
One reported study showed that tadpoles detect 60 Hz magnetic fields with amplitudes as low as one tenth of the earth’s magnetic field. A laboratory designed, built, and calibrated Helmholtz coil generated the magnetic field. Figure 1 illustrates the coil with experiment. Click here to view a movie illustrating a typical experimental result.
Figures 2a and 2b display an ultra high vacuum chamber supporting a number of probes and diagnostics to examine secondary electron emission from niobium under cryogenic temperatures. A primary electron with just the right energy incident on a niobium surface has the potential through scattering and collision processes to emit one or more low energy electrons commonly known as secondary electrons. Work continues to investigate experimentally and computationally secondary electron emission. This effort supports material studies in accelerators.
Pulsed power tools the investigation of surface breakdown on plastics. This ongoing study examines mechanisms that lead to breakdown. The Nevada Shocker (Figure 3) generates the electromagnetic energy responsible for the arcing of electricity across the insulator. Sensors including a specially designed, patent pending probe interrogates the discharge. Figure 4 displays the light generated from the discharge taken with an open shutter camera.