1. Physics & Physical Oceanography at Memorial University of Newfoundland

  2. Chemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dr. Kristin Poduska
Professor
Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador
Experimental Materials Physics & Chemistry

decoding the past      and      directing the future     

Current research projects

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Carbon-rich solids: formation and degradation

Carbonate minerals are important sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide, but their degradation can release the carbon dioxide back into the air or could contribute to pH changes in aqueous environments. This means that improving our understanding of processes such as ocean acidification, water remediation, and atmosphere-water interactions requires a better understanding of the complex interplay between carbonate minerals and their local environment. We use laboratory experiments, as well as theoretical simulations, to investigate the evolution of and variations within carbonate mineral structures.

Collaborators include: Asher Schmidt (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology), Leeor Kronik (Weizmann Institute of Science), Ivan Saika-Voivod (Memorial Physics)

Wave interactions in complex solids

During earthquakes, strong waves can change the material through which they travel, often slowing the seismic wave. However, it is still an open question as to which material factors most influence seismic wave speeds? Our lab-scale experiments show clues by tracking wave speeds in porous rock. We are especially interested in exploring both the wave physics and the materials physics that are important for understanding dynamic pump-probe experiments.

Collaborators include: Alison Malcolm (Memorial Earth Sciences)

Remote mineral detection

We are part of a multi-disciplinary team including university, government, and industry experts that is working to simulate an end-to-end mission to Mars using remote sensing to search for signs of microbial life. A water-rock reaction known as serpentinization has the potential to support life on other worlds. Based on this, we are designing a drone-based search for infrared spectroscopic signatures and other remote-sensing evidence of serpentization in a unique area of Newfoundland's west coast to that is a Mars analogue site of serpentinization. (Read more about this collaboration here.)

Project lead: Penny Morrill (Memorial Earth Sciences)

Archaeological materials

Archaeology makes extensive use of scientific analyses of materials collected from ancient sites. Microscopic and nanoscopic level investigations reveal important clues about specimen composition, formation, and changes that may have occurred to it over time. We use spectroscopy and other material characterization techniques to identify archaeological materials and to assess the impact of diagenetic processes. (Read more about this approach here and here.)

Collaborators include: Meghan Burchell (Memorial Archaeology), as well as Elisabetta Boaretto (Weizmann Institute of Science) and Michael Toffolo (Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana)

Other research projects

Water-repellent and ice-repellent coatings

In harsh marine environments, icing and corrosion happen at the interfaces between solid surfaces and liquids that flow over or spray on it. To mitigate these problems, we explore ways to texture stainless steel in ways that repel water to reduce corrosion and ice accretion.

Collaborator: Xili Duan (Memorial Engineering)

Optical and electronic materials

Tailored optical responses of semiconductor materials lie at the heart of multi-billion dollar industries, including thin film transistor-based devices and photovoltaic cells. As an economical alternative to ultrahigh vacuum-based deposition methods, electrodeposition is showing promise for preparing thin film materials and devices for photovoltaic applications. We explore ways to use electrochemical deposition and other synthesis strategies to control the interfaces, defects, and dopants that affect a material's optical and electronic responses.

In other projects, we partnered with Lumentra, Inc. to explore new phosphor materials for solid-state lighting applications.

Bone-like biomaterials

Coatings that mimic the composition of natural biomaterials have a wide range of potential medical applications. For example, hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) is a compound that has been studied extensively because of its resemblance to the mineral phase in bone. Adding collagen or other proteins to mineral coatings to form a bioinorganic composite material can increase the biocompatibility of the coating. We use electrochemical methods to make mineral films and collagen membranes, and we study the mineral-protein symbiosis involved in making biocomposite coatings.

Collaborators include: Erika Merschrod (Memorial Chemistry), Bob Gendron and Helene Paradis (Memorial Medicine), Laurie McDuffee (Atlantic Veterinary College and University of Prince Edward Island)

Pattern formation in colloidal crystals

We use self-assembly of colloidal microspheres to explore the fundamental properties of crystallization. Applications can be in photonic band gap crystals, optical sensors and antireflection coatings. Their periodic lattices can also serve as a template to make magnetic patterns, with potential applications as magnetic memory storage materials.

Collaborators include: Anand Yethiraj and Martin Plumer (Memorial Physics)


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