Ulrich Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering, led the group, which included researchers in engineering, chemistry and physics.
The group’s findings are detailed in a paper published in Science Advances, Jan. 29.
The course consists of a series of lectures providing the basic background necessary to successfully analyze diffraction data gathered using high-energy X-ray experiments at synchrotron light sources with the goal of understanding the mechanical response of crystalline solids. The successful outcome for students who watch the lectures is developing sufficient comfort with the theory and algorithms underneath X-ray processing tools such that these tools are no longer a "black-box" and students are able to edit tools for their own research needs.
CHESS summer student Arthur Campello tackled the task of designing a sample changing robot for CHESS D1 station, under the guidance of CHESS Staff Scientist Detlef Smilgies. The basic ingredients of the robot were a rotation stage as a sample carousel and a slim translation stage for the sample transfer. A suction device lightly picks up the sample in one of the 20 slots on the sample carousel. Then the translation stage transports the sample to the sample holder. Campello designed the basic structural components based on beamline dimensions and the available stages.
“We can extract local strains, tilts, rotations, polarity and even electric and magnetic fields,” explained David Muller, professor of applied and engineering physics, who developed the new device with Sol Gruner, professor of physics, and members of their research groups.
“Most scientists focus on a very specific area, but I do many different things,” says Sol Gruner, Physics. “I’m a research mutt. Mainly, I develop tools to attack scientific problems people haven’t looked at yet, largely because the tools needed to solve those problems haven’t existed.”
The broader impacts of engineering studies affect all walks of society. Examples include improving infrastructure and longevity of structural materials for roadways, bridges, and aircraft, learning how to tailor new materials for microelectronics and biomedical applications, and improving fuel efficiency of diesel and gasoline-based vehicles. Partnering fundamental scientific research with engineering research opens new avenues for multidisciplinary research, discovery, and innovation.