Two faculty members with expertise in materials characterization to join DMSE in 2018-19

June 6, 2018

Dr. Frances M. Ross and Prof. James M. LeBeau have recently accepted offers to join the MIT faculty in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. 

Please join us in welcoming them to DMSE and to MIT!


Dr. Frances Ross (Left) and Prof. James LeBeau (Right)

Dr. Ross is currently a member of the Nanoscale Materials Analysis Department at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center where she performs research on nanostructures, using transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) to see, in real time, how nanostructures form, and then to observe how the growth process is affected by changes in temperature, environment, and other variables. Understanding materials at such a basic level has remarkable implications for many applications including semiconductor devices, energy storage, and more. Dr. Ross was educated at Cambridge University (B.A. Hons. and Ph.D.) and was a post-doc at AT&T Bell Labs. She has been recognized with many awards and honors, including election to Fellow in the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Microscopy Society of America, the American Vacuum Society, and the Royal Microscopical Society.

Silicon nanowires imaged during growth at 550ºC and 10-6 Torr disilane. The AuSi liquid catalyst is visible at the tip of each nanowire.
Silicon nanowires imaged during growth at 550ºC and 10-6 Torr disilane. The AuSi liquid catalyst is visible at the tip of each nanowire. Image courtesy Frances M. Ross. 

Professor LeBeau is currently Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University where his research focus is on developing new TEM and scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) techniques to determine the atomic structures of materials, thereby understanding ceramics, metals, and electronic materials in a way that we never have before. Professor LeBeau has a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic University and a Ph.D. from UCSB, both in materials science and engineering. Professor LeBeau’s reputation as a rising star in this field has been recognized with the Microanalysis Society’s Kurt F. J. Heinrich Award for a Leading Microscopist Under 40, with an NSF CAREER Award, as an NC State University Faculty Scholar, and by acceptance into the AFOSR Young Investigator Program.



Observation of a native oxide forming on AlN. The atomic arrangement of oxygen (red), aluminum (blue), and nitrogen (white) are all directly revealed with aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy.  Image courtesy: James LeBeau.

As MIT faculty, Professors Ross and LeBeau will join the research community that will make use of the new MIT.nano building at MIT. Construction of MIT.nano began in 2014 and is now very near completion; the state-of-the-art facility will house cleanroom, imaging, and prototyping facilities in 200,000 sq. ft. at the center of campus. Over 2,000 researchers from departments, labs, and centers across the Institute will collaborate, share ideas, and develop new technologies in this critically enabling space. As part of this community, Professors Ross and LeBeau will bring unique skills and experience in developing new TEM and STEM techniques and instrumentation, which will enrich materials research at MIT immediately and for decades to come. They both plan to incorporate their research into the DMSE curriculum, using TEM case study examples to illustrate structure-property relationships.

“MIT.nano is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a community of innovative thinkers in a state-of-the-art facility filled with world-class characterization equipment; Drs. Ross and LeBeau bring not only expertise in characterization science, but also tremendous creativity in developing new techniques that will advance the field of characterization,” said Professor Christopher Schuh, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

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