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Welcome to the Epitaxial Materials Research group in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our research is focused in exploring novel synthesis and properties of magnetic epitaxial films and heterostructures using combinatorial MBE techniques. It is aimed at developing deeper understanding of the fundamental processes in these systems, and enhancing our ability to tailor materials and properties through atomic scale synthesis. Activities include MBE synthesis and properties of complex alloys, epitaxial growth mechanism, self-assembly of nanostructures, phase diagrams, effects of epitaxial constraints, effects of dimensionality, and device applications. This Combinatorial approach enables systematic studies of the complex, multi-component systems, including novel spin-polarized materials, magnetic semiconductors, superconductors, and their heterostructures. A variety of techniques are developed and employed to study these phenomena, particularly those that are sensitive to local properties and interactions including scanning probe microscopy/spectroscopy and microprobe diffraction/spectroscopy. Students are trained in some of the most technologically relevant techniques in synthesis and characterization, including ultrahigh vacuum and cryogenics.

Recent News

Feature Article in SPIE Newsroom on New Anomalous Diffraction Technique
August 2017
Technical article featured in SPIE Newsroom.org describing the development and application of a novel multiple-edge anomalous x-ray diffraction (MEAD) technique to probe and quantify lattice-site-specific elemental occupancy in nanoscale complex alloys, including ultrathin epitaxial films of Heusler alloys. In the figure, the highest degree of ordering (the yellow "hotspot") of Co atoms in the lattice of a full Heusler compound is identified (the circle at the bottom indicates the composition of the stoichiometric compound Co2MnGe). Link to the article here.


"Year of the Dragon" Image of Valence Tautomer Crystals Wins Award
May 2012
Will Rice won second place in the CHANL Scientific Art Competition , together with collaborators Rob Schmidt and Robert Bruce from UNC Chemistry, for his optical microscope image of valence tautomer crystals formed from a dichloromethane solution. In addition to forming unique dragon-like crystal shapes, the molecules also have interesting magnetotransport properties which the group is exploring. Will presented the results at the 2012 APS March Meeting. Additional photos of the crystals are here.


Recent Article Featured on Journal Cover
May 2011
Article on combinatorial MBE growth of Si Heusler alloys featured on the cover of May Issue of Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B. Here is the link to the Issue.


Combinatorial Materials Science and Technology Workshop
May 2010
The 6th International Workshop on Combinatorial Materials Science and Technology will be held at the Rusutsu Resort on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, October 26-29, 2010. For more information see the meeting website.

Brian Collins earns PhD
August 2009
Brian completed his dissertation on "Synchrotron x-ray studies on structural and chemical ordering in group IV-based magnetic epitaxial films" to earn his PhD. Congratulations, Brian!  

Alex Mellnik's honors thesis receives highest honor
May 2009
Alex completed and defended his honors thesis entitled "Electric field control of magnetism in magnetic semiconductors". The work involved fabrication and magnetotransport measurements of Hall-geometry gated field effect structures. Congratulations!  

Alex Mellnik wins Sheldon Award for Undergraduate Research
11 May 2008
Alex Mellnik was awarded the Sheldon Award for Undergraduate Research, which was presented at the spring 2008 Physics department commencement ceremony. This year's award was split between Alex and Johnathan Toledo, who works with Professor Khveshchenko.  

Brian Collins wins Dissertation Completion Fellowship
15 April 2008
Brian Collins has been awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship by the Graduate School, based upon the quality of the research he is conducting and the progress he has made toward completion of his degree.  For more information see the Physics Department news release.

Alex Mellnik inducted to Phi Beta Kappa
31 March 2008
Junior Alex Mellnik has been inducted in to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Only juniors and seniors who have at least a 3.85 grade point average are eligible for membership. Nationally less than 1% of college seniors are invited to join.


Brian Collins wins award at NAMBE conference
25 September 2007
Graduate student Brian Collins has been selected as the Outstanding Student Paper Award winner for the best poster presentation at the 24th North American Conference on Molecular Beam Epitaxy (NAMBE). His paper was entitled "Effects of complementary doping on structure and magnetism of Co and Mn co-doped Ge magnetic semiconductor epitaxial films". The award includes a plaque and a check of $500 presented at this year's conference banquet on September 25 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  For more information see the official flyer.


Alex Mellnik wins Kauffman Foundation Summer Fellowship
23 May 2007
Alex Mellnik was awarded a Kauffman Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for the summer of 2007 for his project entitled "Development and Fabrication of Novel Magnetic Memory devices."  This program is supported by the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  For more information see the Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative web site.


Combinatorial Materials Science and Technology Meeting
4-6 December 2006
The 4th International Workshop on Combinatorial Materials Science and Technology was held at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 4-6th, 2006.  The Proceedings were published November 2007 as a special issue of Applied Surface Science. For more information see the website.


MBE Lab has been moved to Chapman
1 November 2006
Previously located in 128 Phillips Hall, the Tsui Lab has recently been moved to the basement of the newly constructed Chapman Hall. This facility provides for a larger and more open floor space, vastly higher ceiling clearance, and much lower vibrational and electronic noise levels.
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