1. Physics & Physical Oceanography at Memorial University of Newfoundland

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

M e m o r i a l  U n i v e r s i t y  o f  N e w f o u n d l a n d
decoding the past      and      directing the future     

Current research projects

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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 in recent news items in Nature and Science.)

Collaborators include: Steve Weiner, Elisabetta Boaretto, Lia Addadi, and Leeor Kronik, Weizmann Institute of Science, Stefano Curtarolo, Duke University, and Meghan Burchell, Memorial Archaeology

Vibrations in imperfect materials

How do different kinds of imperfections affect the way that vibrations propagate in a solid? We use different material characterization techniques on the same material to study it at different length scales. Imperfections in solids can take many forms, ranging from Angstrom-scale differences in atomic arrangements, to nm-scale variations in a solid's periodicity, to microscopic pores and cracks. These results help us to identify specific disorder signatures in a material that can tell us how it formed or evolved over time.

Collaborators include: Alison Malcolm, Memorial Earth Sciences

Remote spectroscopy

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

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

Recent research projects

Transparent conducting 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.

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

Disorder 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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