MIT's Frances M. Ross to headline this year's Van Vlack Lectureship

Ross will present lectures on October 17 & 18 as part of MSE's annual lectureship.
MIT's Frances M. Ross to headline this year's Van Vlack Lectureship

MSE is pleased to announce that MIT Professor Frances M. Ross is this year's Lawrence H. Van Vlack Lecturer. Professor Ross will present two lectures (see abstracts and details below): "Transmission Electron Microscopy in Motion" on Thursday, October 17, and "Visualizing dynamic processes in liquids in the electron microscope" on Friday, October 18.

"We are so excited and honored to have Frances Ross as our 2019 Van Vlack Lecturer," said Katsuyo Thornton, the L.H. and F.E. Van Vlack Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. "Professor Ross is a pioneer in transmission electron microscopy. She transformed the field of in situ transmission electron microscopy to enable the observation of crystals as they grow and react in a wide range of environments." 

Frances M. Ross received her B.A. in Physics and Ph.D. in Materials Science from Cambridge University. Her postdoc was at AT&T Bell Laboratories, using in situ electron microscopy to study silicon oxidation and dislocation dynamics, after which she joined the National Center for Electron Microscopy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she studied processes such as anodic etching of Si using electron microscopy. She then moved to the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center where she imaged the growth of nanoscale materials using a microscope with deposition and focused ion beam capabilities and also developed liquid cell microscopy for visualizing electrochemical processes. She joined the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2018. Her interests include nanostructure self-assembly, liquid cell microscopy, epitaxy and electrochemical processes. She has been a Visiting Scientist at Lund University and an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University. She received the UK Institute of Physics Boys Medal, the MSA Burton Medal and MRS Outstanding Young Investigator and Innovation in Materials Characterization Awards, holds an Honorary Doctorate from Lund, and is a Fellow of APS, AAAS, MRS, MSA, RMS and AVS. 

The annual Lawrence H. Van Vlack Lectureship started in 2001 in honor of Professor Larry Van Vlack, who was instrumental in establishing what would eventually become the current Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Van Vlack authored 12 books, including the Elements of Materials Science and Engineering, which, through its more than 25 foreign editions and translations, has introduced millions of students worldwide to the discipline of materials science and engineering.


Lecture Abstracts & Logistics

"Transmission Electron Microscopy in Motion" -  Thursday, Oct. 17/3:30 p.m./Johnson Rooms, Lurie Building, 1221 Beal Ave.

We can watch crystals grow in the electron microscope by slowly adding atoms onto a clean surface. The movies tell us about kinetics and thermodynamics but can also be entertaining, frustrating, or both at the same time. I will attempt to share the joy of this type of “in situ” microscopy as we aim to understand how atoms assemble into nanowires or nanocrystals and use the information to control the formation of more complicated nanostructures with new properties.

"Visualizing dynamic processes in liquids in the electron microscope" - Friday, Oct. 18/10:30 a.m./1013 H.H. Dow 

Transmission electron microscopy provides unsurpassed structural and compositional information for solid samples, but it is a challenge to image liquid samples in the vacuum of the microscope. I will describe experimental approaches to imaging water and other liquids in the TEM, developed over the last few years, and show how dynamic observations in liquids can produce unique information on electrochemical processes such as deposition and corrosion, crystal growth, and fluid dynamics. I will also discuss the challenges of imaging liquid samples, in particular the problem of understanding and quantifying the effect of the electron beam on the sample. I will conclude with a discussion of ongoing experimental advances that enable us to access a broader range of phenomena. I hope to convince you that TEM of liquids can address grand challenge questions and provide a unique view of structures in liquids and liquid-mediated processes.