Feb 07, 2023  
Graduate Record 2021-2022 
Graduate Record 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Materials Science and Engineering

Return to: School of Graduate Engineering and Applied Science  

395 McCormick Road
P.O. Box 400745
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4745
Programs/Course: Engineering Physics  
                                Materials Science and Engineering  

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 the ultimate properties and behavior of materials. Thus thermodynamics, kinetics, structural analysis and crystallography, defect theory, and principles of the solid state are strong features of the program. Additional courses are offered that enrich and advance the understanding and application of materials.

Extensive research programs complement formal course work. Active programs reflect the diversity of the faculty’s research interests; these include metallurgy, environmental effects on material behavior, electronic materials, mechanical behavior, materials for high-temperature and extreme-environment applications, multifunctional oxides, amorphous alloys, spintronics, surface modification, magnetic materials, materials for energy generation, cellular materials, advanced materials processing and structural characterization, and computational materials theory and design. 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, energy conversion, and electrochemistry involving several departments within SEAS and CLAS as well as collaborations with other universities, national laboratories, and industry. The Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility maintains an extensive suite of instruments to characterize the structure and chemistry of materials from the macroscopic to the atomic scales; this facility is used for materials analysis by researchers across Grounds and externally.

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 courses to particular fields of interest and specialization. The graduate program is structured to emphasize acquisition of knowledge and the development of critical thinking skills.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering participates in the Virginia Engineering Online (VEO) by offering graduate-level courses in a distributed learning environment.  VEO students achieve a Master of Materials Science and Engineering (MMSE) degree. VEO students participate in live class sessions alongside their student peers sitting in the classroom, accessing the interactive sessions via their computer and internet connection.  Class sessions are also recorded for later viewing/reviewing.

Department laboratories are well equipped with extensive instrumentation for the investigation of all aspects of materials structure and properties. The Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF) has a 300 kV Themis Z field-emission gun (FEG) scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) equipped with a monochromator, Gatan imaging filter (GIF), K2 camera and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDXS); a 300 kV Titan FEG STEM with EDXS and a variety of holders for electrochemical experiments, heating, cooling and biasing;  two FEI Quanta scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), a 650 FEG and 200 LV, with EDXS, cathodoluminescence and electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) attachments; and a Helios dual-beam, focused ion-bean (FIB) instrument equipped with EBSD and EDXS for three-dimensional sectioning and analysis.  Several X-ray diffraction units, including Bruker, PANalytical Empyrean and X’Pert diffractometers, provide facilities for a wide variety of single crystal, powder, and other diffraction analysis, and an X-ray computer tomography system is also available for bulk imaging of materials. A PHI VersaProbe Imaging X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) system is capable of performing in-situ ultrahigh-vacuum experiments, in-situ high-pressure experiments with controlled environments, and ex-situ analysis where samples are introduced via a rapid introduction chamber. A white-light interferometer, Raman/AFM system, and digital optical microscopes are also available for a variety of surface and imaging analyses. A single ultra-high vacuum instrument combines scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) for superior control of nanomaterial synthesis. 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, mechanical deformation, electrochemistry, surface studies, thin film properties, and materials processing. Their facilities include mass spectrometers; ultra-high vacuum thin film growth chambers, including molecular beam epitaxy and atomic layer deposition; electron beam and vacuum furnaces; arc melting and rapid solidification; powder processing; heat treating equipment; a rolling mill; pulse laser annealing; numerous mechanical testing machines; a hot isostatic press; an X-ray texture goniometer; optical metallographs; interference, polarizing, and hot stage microscopes; scanning probe microscopy; in situ x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; and sophisticated image analysis and processing facilities. A fully equipped machine shop and instrument shop are adjacent to the research laboratories.

Support for computational work within the department is provided in part by the University of Virginia Advanced Research Computing Services (ARCS).  The computing facilities at ARCS include a Cray CS300AC, a 4800-core, high-speed interconnect cluster called Rivanna, with about 1.4 PBs of available storage.  The ARCS also provide support for data analysis and visualization, as well as long-term data storage.