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VT Minority Serving Institution Faculty Engagement Competition Award Optical Characterization of Nano Material Thin Films

The goal of this investigation is to increase the understanding of the optical properties of nano-structured thin films materials and RuO2 nanorod (NR) material films in particular. The nano-materials used in this investigation have been synthesized through a reactive sputtering process by the project’s investigators at the University of Vermont (Walter Varhue and Michael Cross). Such an ambitious effort can only be under taken with the proper characterization of these nano-materials. The optical characterization of these thin film materials is performed by Dr. Roger Dorsenville, of the CUNY Department of Electrical Engineering. On March 6, 2013, Dr. Michael Cross and Co-PI Varhue travelled to CUNY to discuss with Prof. Dorsinville the types of optical characterization that he could provide for the project. Prof. Dorsinville showed us around his laboratory and described the type of characterization that his laboratory


could provide.[1,2] Plans were made to measure both the linear and non-linear optical absorption of the RuO2 NR materials, in the near IR and visible region of the spectrum. Varhue and Cross have remained intrigued by an earlier observation in their lab, that the RuO2 NR materials were melting on a Si substrate at only 150 oC when exposed to a glowing tungsten filament when in vacuum. It was proposed at that time that the RuO2 NRs were unable to re-radiate IR photons as a consequence of their dimensions. A TEM image of the nanorod material (RuO2 NR) proposed in this investigation is shown below. Beyond the physical mystery of a material that cannot lose heat by radiating infrared radiation, little work has been published on the optical properties of RuO2 NR materials.


(a) SEM image of square RuO2 nanorods. (b) TEM scan of an individual nanorod, showing an atomically sharp pyramid tip. (c) diffraction pattern indicates crystallinity.

Co-Science PIs: Walter J. Varhue, Professor, School of Engineering, University of Vermont and Roger Dorsinville, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, CCNY



NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Theresa Martinez, PMP, NASA Technical Monitor, Kennedy Space Center

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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