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REU Research Descriptions

The Platform for the Accelerated Realization, Analysis, and Discovery of Interface Materials (PARADIM) is a national user facility at Cornell and Johns Hopkins Universities dedicated to the discovery and fabrication of materials with unprecedented properties that do not exist in nature. We are seeking REU interns interested in not only growing these new materials, but also in optimizing and improving the equipment used to grow and characterize them. Molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) is a state-of-the-art thin film growth technique with atomic layer precision, and we have the world’s hottest MBE system in which materials discovery involving 62 elements of the periodic table occurs. Laser pedestal and high-pressure optical floating zone (FZ) are world leading bulk crystal growth capabilities.  PARADIM also houses the world's highest resolution electron microscope, which allows users to probe materials atom-by-atom. Electronic and structural properties are characterized at PARADIM using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Specifically, oxide and intermetallic bulk crystalline and thin films for next generation electronics are being grown. PARADIM is also spearheading new data-rich artificial intelligence/machine learning techniques to improve materials discovery.

PARADIM REU @ Cornell Project 1: A New Lens to Look at Electrons in Thin Films (Thin Film facility)

The PARADIM laboratory where this project will take place houses both an MBE + ARPES system. Molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) is a technique used for fabricating materials atomic layer by atomic layer. Angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) is a technique used for measuring the energy and momentum with which electrons move in a material.  The REU intern assigned to this project will likely be involved in data acquisitions with this world-leading thin film growth and characterization system that is a signature tool of the PARADIM labs. It is also probable that part of the project will involve some hardware mounting and modifications, which provides an opportunity to learn about designing and building ultra-high vacuum (UHV) equipment.

PARADIM REU @ Cornell Project 2: Understanding Materials Properties Using Quantum Mechanical Simulations (Theory)

First-principles methods, such as density functional theory (DFT), solve quantum mechanical systems at the level of electrons and atoms. DFT calculations provide information about ground state properties including atomic positions, lattice parameters, volume, bond lengths, electronic band structure, atomic forces, and phonon frequencies. Using the results of these calculations, it is possible to predict microscopic phenomena in a specific material. As an REU intern you will first learn how to use a DFT software package with your mentor. Once you have gained familiarity with the software and can run the simulations on your own, you will model the physical properties of a material of interest to a PARADIM project. Your theoretical predictions will be compared to experimental results and provide valuable input to PARADIM scientists.

PARADIM REU @ Cornell Project 3: Growing New or Vastly Improved Materials for PARADIM Users (Thin Film facility)

Motivated by theory, PARADIM users are eager to make thin films of new electronic materials that are predicted to be of interest for their superconducting, semiconducting, metallic, metal-to-insulator transition, ferroelectric, catalytic, or magnetic properties. Often the materials they seek are metastable and have never been made in high quality form before. You will become part of a team that includes the user, a PARADIM Ph.D. student, and the PARADIM staff scientist attempting to get the atoms into the desired positions to make new materials with intriguing electronic properties. As an REU summer intern, you will observe the growth of new or vastly improved materials by MBE and learn to characterize them by x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and depending on the material other appropriate methods like resistivity vs. temperature or Raman spectroscopy. It is possible that you could be involved in the discovery of a new physical phenomenon or application!

PARADIM REU @ Cornell Project 4: Improving the Hardware of PARADIM’s MBE+ARPES Capabilities (Thin Film facility)

The goal of The Platform for the Accelerated Realization, Analysis, and Discovery of Interface Materials (PARADIM) is to weave new "quantum fabrics" with tailored functionalities which arise by intertwining different quantum materials. The challenge with synthesizing and characterizing most quantum material samples is that not only are the final materials extremely air sensitive, meaning that exposure to atmospheric pressure will damage the sample making it unable to be characterized, but their synthesis also takes place under extreme vacuum conditions. To combat this challenge, samples are synthesized and characterized in ultra-high vacuum (UHV). UHV is defined as any pressure under 10-9 torr. PARADIM has created a lab in Duffield Hall at Cornell University that integrates molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) with material characterization instruments all connected under UHV, keeping the sample clean as it is transported from synthesis to characterization. In this project you will be involved in making improvements to this unique synthesis plus characterization system. Your REU project will involve design work using either SolidWorks or AutoCAD. You will communicate with the machine shop to get your parts made and then clean, assemble, and test the improvements you have made.

PARADIM REU @ Cornell Project 5: Probing Quantum Materials at the Atomic Scale. (Electron Microscopy facility)

Modern electron microscopes have enabled imaging of materials with exceptional detail.  Today, the structure, chemistry and bonding of crystalline materials such as those grown in PARADIM's thin film and bulk crystal growth facilities can be probed down to the atomic scale.  Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) in particular is a powerful technique to understand the role of interfaces, defects and picometer scale atomic lattice distortions in these systems.  In this project, you will be working with the world's highest resolution microscope to study new quantum materials grown at PARADIM.  You will also be using and developing Python based analysis code to extract key information from the large datasets generated during a typical STEM experiment.

PARADIM @Johns Hopkins Project 6:  Advancing Material Synthesis in a National User Facility (Bulk Crystal facility)

The successful applicant will utilize the world-unique floating zone and data capabilities of PARADIM to carry out discoveries of materials relevant to applicable quantum materials, particularly those materials necessary to build complex quantum fabrics exhibiting unparalleled electronic and magnetic behaviors.

PARADIM REU @ Johns Hopkins Project 7: Building the Materials Data Infrastructure (Bulk Crystal facility)

The successful applicant will further the design and implementation of a materials data infrastructure, to enable seamless collection and use of data from a range of experimental and theoretical techniques in materials synthesis to make data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).

PARADIM REU @ Johns Hopkins Project 8: Development of New High Pressure Laser Pedestal Synthesis Capabilities (Bulk Crystal facility)

The successful applicant will further the design and implementation of a new high pressure, multi kilowatt laser pedestal growth furnace for quantum materials discovery.