Our research interests are centered on understanding and controlling materials growth at nanometer length scales using specialized microscopy techniques. If we can watch materials as they react, we have a much better chance of understanding the physics underlying the reaction. And if we can understand a reaction in detail, it is easier to work out how to control it in order to create materials with the structure or properties that we need. Our research therefore involves putting different materials in an electron microscope then recording movies as we heat, deposit another material, flow a current, or apply any other stimulus that will lead to a growth process or a phase transformation. Electron microscopes with unique capabilities for probing materials form the basis of our projects. We also use a custom scanning tunneling microscope. Calibrated conditions and quantitative measurements are necessary for developing models that explain the reactions that take place; the models can then be used to predict circumstances that might produce useful outcomes. The materials reactions that we focus on have relevance to electronic applications, energy storage and catalysis.

Image 1: Nanowires epitaxially grown on a heating silicon cantilever enables high spatial and temporal resolution tracking of atom assembly at the catalyst-nanowire interface 

On this site you will find information about our research, our team and some of our favourite movies and images. Much of this data is from Frances's time at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. We continue to collaborate with our friends at IBM and we are excited to build new connections with faculty, staff and students at MIT and other institutions in the US and internationally. We hope you find this site interesting and that it stimulates some ideas.

cobalt silicide island with dislocations

Image 2: Cobalt disilicide island on silicon, with an array of dislocations at the CoSi2/Si(111) interface, and a simulation of the positions of the dislocations

As well as our research, we also like to spend time together outside of lab. You can find more information on our team in the 'People' tab above. Feel free to reach out ('Contact' page) for enquiries on positions, collaborations, or simply for a chat about our work. 

Ross group dim sum outing: June 2019