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Dr. McIlroy's Lab

Welcome to the website of David McIlroy's research group.


Research Foci and Philosophy

Our group studies nanoscale phenomena. This is a common area of condensed matter physics that spans a large swath of the landscape. Within this broad area we focus on zero and one dimensional nanomaterials and combinations thereof. We are interested in the surface properties, electronic and optical properties of these nanomaterials. To specialize in nanoscale phenomena dictates that we split our efforts between basic and applied research, and not necessarily in that order. We have found that as we pursue an application of our materials we often uncover behavior that is basic nature, thereby leading to new directions of basic research. Similarly, pursuit of basic research problems produce outcomes that lead to applied projects.

Research Topics

  • Carbon Coated Nanosprings for Electrodes
  • Catalytic Properties and Applications of Hybrid Nanostructures
  • Chemical Sensors Constructed with Hybrid Nanostructures
  • Conductivity and Photoconductivity of Transport of Individual 1D and Hybrid Nanostructures
  • Gas interactions at the Surfaces of Nanomaterials
  • Hydrogen Storage by Nanosprings
  • Nanomaterials: Nanosprings, Nanowires, Metallic Nanoparticles and Hybrid (zero-D and 1D) Nanostructures
  • Nonlinear Optics: Surface Plasmon Polaritons, THz Electro-optics

History of the Lab

We are best known for our work on nanosprings, where my lab has successfully created boron carbide, silicon carbide, and silica nanosprings. In the case of boron carbide and silicon carbide nanosprings the sample will consist nanosprings dispersed in a sea of nanowires. In contrast, the silica nanosprings are produced at ~350 C, at atmospheric conditions, and only takes 15-30 minutes start to finish. This process produces 100% nanosprings every time!

Experimental Capabilities

  • X-ray and Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopy ( Dual anode X-ray source, UV lamp, hemispherical electron energy analyzer, electron flood gun, e-beam sample heating, 77K and 15K temperature capabilities, and Ar sputter gun)
  • J.A. Woollam Ellipsometry
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Electronic/Optoelectronic Microprobe/Microscope Test Station

Materials Synthesis Capabilities

  • Nanospring Growth Systems (Three)
  • Atomic Layer Deposition (Two for metal oxides and another for GaN)
  • Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (Primarily for Au nanoparticle coating of 1D nanostructures)
  • Dual Target Sputter Deposition System
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