Condensed Matter / Sensor Materials

Sensor Materials

Professors Ratna Naik and Gregory W. Auner (ECE) 

This interdisciplinary research program involves the study of various thin film materials for potential magnetic, pyroelectric, piezoelectric, and chemical sensor applications. Materials of prime interest are ferromagnetic multilayered structures, ferroelectric thin films, wide bandgap semiconducting (III-V) nitride films, and other oxide thin films. Plasma Source Molecular beam epitaxy (PSMBE), MBE, sputter deposition, and metallorganic decomposition (MOD) methods are used to fabricate these thin film materials and devices. Microstructural characterization is done using one or more of the following methods: in situ reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED), X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, auger electron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Our magnetic characterization laboratories include SQUID magnetometry, magnetoresistance (MR), ferromagnetic resonance (FMR), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and magnetic force microscopy (MFM) measurement capabilities. Electrical property measurements include both temperature and frequency dependent C-V, I-V, and impedance capabilities. This program is part of the interdisciplinary Smart Sensor and Integrated Microsystems program for developing magnetoresistive and magnetostrictive materials for magnetic sensor applications, oxide thin films for gas sensors, graded ferroelectric thin films for IR sensors, and wide band gap semiconductors for high temperature applications.