Theme: The Nanostructured Thin Films program is focused on the synthesis, characterization, and modeling of dimensionally constrained materials systems in which a nano-scale trait of the material (e.g. grain size, film thickness, interfacial boundary, etc.) fundamentally determines its structure-property relationships. The work performed in this program falls primarily into two areas: (1) studies of thin-film growth phenomena and film properties, with emphasis on diamond and multicomponent oxides; and (2) first principles quantum-mechanical calculations that model thin film growth processes and electronic structure. Frequently, the experimental and theoretical efforts are coordinated on common scientific issues in a particular material system. Current research is devoted to (a) growth processes and structure-property relationships in doped and undoped ultrananocrystalline diamond thin films, with emphasis on understanding their morphological, mechanical, tribological, electronic, electron emission, electrochemical, and transport properties; (b) measurement of mechanical and tribological properties of diamond thin films using both conventional instrumentation and diamond-based microelectromechanical systems, and (c) growth and segregation phenomena in multicomponent oxide thin film heterostructures. Computational quantum chemical methods are used to model growth mechanisms of diamond thin films, and the electronic structure properties of nanocrystalline diamond grain boundaries, and to study other complex systems via computational chemistry.

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Nanostructured Thin Films