The area of interface characterization, surface analysis and thin film deposition deals with understanding factors which control surface characteristics, the relationship between the structure of surfaces and the properties associated with those surfaces, and processes for altering surfaces and surface properties. For purposes of this discussion surfaces can be defined as thin films micrometers thick to the first few atomic layers as well as interfaces between materials and nanostructures such as nanotubes. Applications include microelectronics, semiconductor processing, environmental monitoring of pollutants, new nano- and micro- sized structures and devices, biologically active materials, soft tissues and food safety.
The knowledge and technology that have come from this area of research is
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Students that work in this area usually come from a wide range of backgrounds including biology, chemistry, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and physics. The specific background needed depends heavily on the specific project and area that the student focuses on. It is not unusual for a single professor to have students with very diverse backgrounds working for him at the same time. For the same reason, the list of relevant classes is very broad. However, most students take the Materials Science sequence (APSC 621 & 622) along with the math sequence (APSC 607 & 608) and the Introduction to Solid Surfaces and Interfaces (APSC 625) their first year at William & Mary. Other courses are custom fit to their background and areas of interest.
Research into interfaces, surfaces, and thin films is one of the most active areas of research in the Applied Science Department at William & Mary. Activity in the Applied Science Department spans the range of the field with experimental, theoretical and computational projects (and often projects that incorporate aspects of all three approaches). The members of the Interface and Surface Science Area form a diverse, interactive group of faculty and students who regularly work together to solve complex, interdisciplinary, fundamental and application-oriented problems.
Follow the links below for information about our various research groups.