Microscopy & Microanalysis 2019 Awards for AIF Users

Each year, students, postdocs, and technologists submit their papers for an award at the annual Microscopy and Microanalysis Meeting. This year, two AIF users will be recognized at the meeting for their submissions. Congratulations to Abinash Kumar for receiving a Student Scholar Award and Aubrey Penn for receiving the Eric Samuel Memorial Scholarship!


To learn more about this meeting, visit the website here.


Meet Aubrey

I am a second year graduate student in Jim LeBeau’s research group, and I study complex oxide thin films using scanning transmission electron microscopy. When I actually make time for fun outside of the lab, it’s almost always centered around close friends, good food, and usually a board game. I’m currently undecided on my plans post-graduation, but I am sure that it will involve microscopy.

The title of the paper I submitted is “Explaining the Magnetic Properties of Oxygen Deficient LSMO Thin Films by iDPC,” where I find that the octahedral ordering and magnetic properties of thin film LSMO are dependent on the oxygen partial pressure during growth. These results are important for both microscopy and materials science research because we are using a novel imaging technique to begin to explain the physical origins of interfacial phenomena in thin film oxides. Our future work will involve investigation of films with more complex architectures.

I was given the award based on the quality of microscopy work and data analysis that has been largely performed on the Titan at AIF. I have received immense support from my advisor in both the research and the writing process, and each of the members in my group also played roles in supporting the work done that lead to the award. The Microscopy and Microanalysis Student Scholar Award, specifically the Eric Samuel Memorial Scholarship, is from the Microscopy Society of America. It is a $1500 award to attend the M&M Conference in August in Portland where I will give a talk about my work. There are several other students who are given different awards at the conference, including Abinash! It’s a complete honor to receive the award. Not only as validation for work well done, but also to support those who have been instrumental in my success.


Meet Abinash

I am a second year PhD student working with Prof. James LeBeau. Our research group focuses on understanding the structure-property correlations in various material systems using electron microscopy. Currently, I am working on finding the atomic scale origin for relaxor behavior in materials along with implementing machine learning algorithms in electron microscopy. In my free time, I love to play table tennis and badminton. In the future, I want to join academia and get involved in cutting edge research in electron microscopy.

The title of the paper I submitted is “In Situ Ferroelectric Domain Dynamics Probed with Differential Phase Contrast Imaging.” Piezoelectric and ferroelectric materials have great application in transducer, sensor, and storage device technology. Relaxor ferroelectrics exhibit a large improvement in piezoelectric and ferroelectric properties. But its origin is still under debate. Here, we have explained the origin of relaxor behavior using real space structure information in Pb-based relaxors using Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM). To understand these materials’ performance under applied electric field, we revealed micron and atomic scale domain structures which play a vital role in determining properties. These results allow us to explain the fundamental origin for relaxor behavior which will be useful in designing high performance materials. In the future, we are planning to work on Pb-free relaxors which currently show poor properties as compared to Pb-based relaxors. The piezoelectrics and ferroelectrics communities are currently working toward finding alternative Pb-free relaxor materials as Pb poisoning will be a major concern.Our structural study at the atomic scale in Pb-free systems will help in designing better Pb-free materials.

For the award, we had to submit a two page abstract about our work. Prof. LeBeau has provided continuous support throughout this work. Rohan Dhall, a former postdoc in our group, helped in fabricating the in-situ microscopy device required for this work. This award will provide me with financial support to attend this meeting. M&M provides an amazing platform for networking with people from across the world. I attended the conference last year, and it helped me learn about the ongoing cutting edge research in electron microscopy.