Materials World Network: Pan–American Network for Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy of Nanomaterials  

National Science Foundation
Arizona State University
Harvard University
Lehigh University
Stanford University
     This Materials World Network project establishes the framework for a Pan-American Network for Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy of Nanomaterials. This activity initially involves several US universities, collaborating with counterparts at leading Brazilian and Mexican universities, and an Argentinian research institute. This Network will strengthen links between materials scientists in the Pan-American region, enabling closer collaborations and providing education and training in advanced characterization techniques for the next generations of materials scientists. The host US institutions are well equipped with different types of highly sophisticated instruments for microscopy and spectroscopy. Aberration-corrected electron microscopy and probe-corrected microanalysis will be used to determine microstructure and elemental composition, off-axis electron holography will be used to study nanoscale electrostatic and magnetic fields, and in situ environmental TEM will be used to observe synthesis processes at the atomic scale taking place in real time. Access to this advanced instrumentation will promote trans-national networking, and facilitate cutting-edge nanomaterials research, while generating better awareness of the capabilities and benefits of these specialized instruments.

     Arizona State University serves as the primary hub for the Network, with responsibility for hosting the network website. Other US participating institutions include Harvard University, Lehigh University and Stanford University. Students and postdoctoral workers from Mexico and Brazil will travel to the US to carry out microscopy observations and thereby gain invaluable experience in advanced characterization methods. Participants from the US institutions will travel to their counterparts to observe and participate in nanomaterials synthesis efforts, and to conduct workshops on recent microscopy developments and novel applications. This collaborative project will thus promote international exchange and cooperation, and provide enhanced educational, training and networking opportunities for the participating students and junior scientists, who will be exposed to different scientific cultures and research environments, greatly enriching their learning experience.

     Developments in growth and synthesis of nanostructured materials enable novel properties not normally found in bulk materials to be discovered and exploited. Techniques for locating and identifying atomic configurations are then essential in the quest for realizing optimal physical behavior in these nanostructures. The complementary expertise of the highly experienced teams of researchers involved in this collaborative effort should ensure that invaluable new insights into the behavior of nanostructured materials will be obtained. The availability of aberration-corrected electron microscopy, probe-corrected spectroscopy, electron holography, helium-ion microscopy and environmental in situ TEM to the MWN participants will assist greatly in elucidating growth mechanisms that are likely to be essential in the future production of novel nanomaterials.

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