Andrea Del Vecchio
My work focuses on the development of stress in thin films either during growth or processing of the film.  The problem of thin film stress is an important one as fracture or bending due to stress can cause failure in thin film devices such as computer chips. In order to investigate stress in thin films experimentally, I use an optical system that measures the curvature of the thin film and uses this curvature to calculate the stress.  In addition, I have begun to model thin film growth using a Monte Carlo simulation and hope to use this model to investigate the mechanisms of stress development, which are still not well understood.  Students who work in my lab become familiar with thin film stress measurements, thin film deposition and computer modeling techniques.  There is also the potential to use characterization techniques such as electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction through collaboration with other colleges.
Steven Rivers
My research area is experimental surface science.  This means I do experiments to learn about the science that occurs at the surfaces of materials, in thin films, or at the interface between two different materials.  My research students at RIC grow metal films by thermal evaporation of metal shot in vacuum.  The films are deposited on glass or silicon substrates and vary in thickness from a few atomic layers to a fraction of a millimeter.  We examine these films by laser reflectivity, spectrophotometry, and conductivity measurements.
Surface Physics