Meet Jacob Smith

Tell me a little about yourself!

At this time, I have almost completed my first year as a PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering department under the supervision of Dr. Wenpei Gao. My chosen specialization is in transmission electron microscopy. I was drawn to this field of study because of its strongly interdisciplinary and collaborative nature, supporting research in fields as diverse as microbiology and condensed matter physics. Outside of work, I am an avid lover of tea. Forever fond of a good loose-leaf brew, I enjoy sampling teas from all the major growing regions and hope to one day go on a global tea tour. Beyond this, I appreciate the occasional movie, with my favorite director being John Carpenter.

My experimental work is done on a combination of the Talos F200X and the Titan 80-300 transmission electron microscopes. At this time, I spend most of my microscope hours on the Titan, performing atomic resolution STEM where I am in the process of becoming established in the techniques of IDPC and 4DSTEM. The Titan is uniquely well-suited to this work because of its aberration corrector that permits sub-angstrom resolution work. In the future, I anticipated spending a considerable amount of time on the Talos performing in-situ liquid cell experiments. When preparing TEM samples, I rely on a combination of a TEM multiprep for the initial sample thinning and an ion mill to finish polishing the sample. In the future, I anticipate using the FIB to prepare samples as well.

What have you been researching and how is it impacting the community?

I am currently involved in several projects ranging from 4DSTEM simulations to TiO2-nanoparticle interface analysis. More generally, I am involved in the experimental acquisition and simulation of TEM data as well as part of a larger machining learning effort.

What have you learned from your experience at AIF?

I have been taught the fundamentals of experimental TEM at the AIF under the instruction of the AIF staff and senior members of Dr. Gao’s research group. Beyond mere training, I have relied on their expertise to troubleshoot any problems I have encountered on the TEM or during sample preparation.

Best thing about AIF in 5 words or less?

Expert staff and well-maintained microscopes

CBED patterns taken from a simulated 4dstem pattern of Cr2Te3

Is there a staff member at AIF that has helped you?

I would like to show my appreciation to Aubrey Penn, Chris Winkler, and Roberto Garcia. A special shoutout to Chris who has helped me on countless occasions whenever the Titan is being fickle.