Acquisition of Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering under Shear for Materials Research and Education

Project: Research project

Project Details


This grant provides support for the acquisition of small-angle X-Ray scattering equipment to be used for materials research and education at Pennsylvania State University. Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is one of the most powerful analytical tools for probing the structure of materials on 2-100 nm length scales. This size regime encompasses a diverse spectrum of research at Pennsylvania State University. The new instrument will enable exciting new studies of fundamental structure-property relationships of complex fluids such as liquid crystals, where the application of shear perturbs the morphology of the defect texture, which in turn dictates the rheology. This class of materials is important for displays, optical data storage and imaging. Shear flow is also known to induce phase changes near phase boundaries and result in markedly different final morphologies. Examples include flow-induced phase separation in polymer blends and flow-induced crystallization. SAXS is the ideal means to study these effects. SAXS will also be used in ongoing research on nano-scale phase separation in biomaterials, solidification of fluids in nanoporous solids and molecular self-assembly.

This acquisition will fill a critical analytical void in materials research at Pennsylvania State University. We expect that the availability of on-campus SAXS will educate students and faculty in the techniques of X-ray scattering. The instrument will strengthen existing research programs of all users and enable new research and collaborations, in part by the incorporation of an in situ fluid shear cell important to faculty research. This new SAXS instrument will create learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. A SAXS laboratory course will be developed in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The instrument will become part of Penn State's campus-wide Materials Research Institute analytical lab, making it available to more than 200 research groups and 700 graduate students.

Effective start/end date8/1/037/31/04


  • National Science Foundation: $250,000.00


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