The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at UVa offers graduate education and research programs in the structure, properties, processing, and performance of materials. Graduate course work places an emphasis on the general principles that govern materials properties. Thus thermodynamics, kinetics, structural analysis and crystallography, defect theory, and principles of the solid state are strong features of the program. In addition, other courses relative to the application of materials and the relationships among materials properties, structure, and the manner in which materials have been processed are offered.
Extensive research programs complement formal course work. Active recent programs on metallurgy, environmental effects on material behavior, electronic materials, fatigue and fracture, amorphous alloys, spintronics magnetic alloys, and materials processing reflect the diversity of the faculty’s research interests. The MSE department houses The Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering which conducts interdisciplinary research in the areas of corrosion, high temperature oxidation, fracture, electrodeposition, fuel cells, and electrochemistry involving several departments within SEAS and CLAS as well as collaborations with other universities, national labs, and industry. The Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility contains a number of electron and ion microscopes used for materials analysis by researchers across grounds.
The department offers the degrees of Master of Materials Science and Engineering (M.M.S.E.), Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees involve extensive research, leading to a thesis or dissertation, respectively. The M.M.S.E. degree is course intensive and does not require a thesis. The program of study for each of these degrees has been developed consistent with the principles of academic excellence as a foundation for cutting-edge research and cross-disciplinary learning. Four courses are considered fundamental and constitute a required core for all graduate degrees in MSE. There is, however, flexibility that enables the graduate student to adapt his or her choice of classes to particular fields of interest and specialization. The graduate program is structured to emphasize acquisition of knowledge and development of critical thinking skills.
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering participates in the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program by presenting graduate-level courses in the distance learning environment that lead to the Master of Materials Science and Engineering degree. These courses are transmitted to locations both in- and out- of-state in the late afternoon and early evening hours.
Department laboratories are well equipped with extensive instrumentation for the investigation of all aspects of materials structure and properties. A modern electron microscope facility includes a 300 kV Titan field-emission gun (FEG); scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) equipped with a Gatan imaging filter (GIF) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDXS); a 200 kV scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with EDXS and heating, cooling, and straining specimen holders; two scanning electron microscopes (SEMS) with EDXS, electron-beam lithography, cathodoluminescence and electron backscattered pattern (EBSP) attachments; and a focused ion beam (FIB) microscope equipped with a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS). All microscopes are connected to computers for digital imaging and analysis. A new low energy electron microscope (LEEM) provides a powerful capability for real-time imaging and diffraction in ultra-high vacuum during film growth and surface treatment with nm lateral resolution. A single ultra-high vacuum instrument combines scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy for superior control of nanomaterial synthesis. X-ray diffraction units, including a small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) system, provide facilities for a wide variety of single crystal, powder, and other techniques. Chemical vapor deposition facilities include equipment for the preparation of electronic materials from metal-organic compounds. The ion beam laboratory has a 110 kV heavy ion accelerator and a 300 kV ion implanter with multiple ultrahigh vacuum experimental chambers. Additional research is conducted in the area of advanced laser processing for nano-scale materials. The facilities include high-power pulsed ultra violet excimer and solid state lasers, time resolved mass spectroscopy and imaging, and in-situ diagnostics. A new molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) facility examines precision growth of semiconductor quantum nanostructures for nanoelectronics.
Other laboratories are equipped for research in physical metallurgy, fatigue and fracture, electrochemistry, surface studies, thin film properties, and materials processing. Their facilities include mass spectrometers; ultra-high vacuum deposition units; electron beam and vacuum furnaces; heat treating equipment; a rolling mill; numerous mechanical testing machines; a hot isostatic press; an X-ray texture gonimeter; optical metallographs; interference, polarizing, and hot stage microscopes; and sophisticated image analysis and processing facilities. A fully equipped machine shop and instrument shop are adjacent to the research laboratories.
Computational facilities within the department include a wide variety of computers featuring a 36-processor Opteron Beowulf cluster and a recently acquired three Opteron 2U Twin2 Servers with a total of 192 CPU cores. The clusters are maintained by the Computational Materials Group and used by several groups from our department as well as by our collaborators from other institutions. Department of Information Technology (ITS) also provides a wide range of cluster computers for data analysis and high-performance computing. Additional computational resources are also available through the University’s affiliations with National Computing Centers.