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Multi-user equipment approved in grant 2013/07793-6: Benchtop Scanning Electronic Microscope (SEM)

Abstract

Through fundamental research on structure-property relations, using complementary simulation, spectroscopic and functional characterization methods, we will map the "genome" and develop new active glasses and glass-ceramics with promising applications. For that, the core group of the Center will comprise 13 professors at USP and UFSCar (both located in São Carlos) who are experts in engineering, chemistry and physics of vitreous materials, glass crystallization and a wide range of structural and functional characterization techniques. They advise about 50 students and post-docs engaged in glass and GC research and are embedded in a large Brazilian and international network of collaborations_ We wall research and develop new active glasses and glass-ceramics presenting application-relevant functionalities, such as high mechanical strength and electrical conductivity, biological, optical or catalytic activity, and/or combinations of these properties A fundamental understanding of these properties will be sought on the basis of the structural organization of these materials on different length scales. We will apply state-of-the art NMR, EPR, EXAFS and vibrational spectroscopy lo characterize the local and medium-range order, as well as the full resolution range of optical and electron microscopies, XRD and microanalyses for elucidating nano- and microstructures. This comprehensive experimental approach will be complemented by molecular dynamics simulations. Using this experimental modeling strategy, we will further seek a fundamental understanding of glass sintering and crystallization in terms of the mechanisms, thermodynamics and kinetics of viscous now, as well as crystal nucleation and growth, enabling us to exercise control of these processes by developing appropriate forming process and thermal treatment protocols. In a concerted effort, the participating laboratories will jointly investigate a number of important benchmark systems, which are deemed particularly promising for applications either as structural reinforcement materials (dental and bio glass-ceramics), optical materials (laser glasses), materials for electrochemical energy storage devices (electrolytes. high-temperature seals), and catalytically active systems. This research agenda will be complemented by continuous education and outreach activities at different levels. as well as by technology development and transfer a state-of-art center for education research and innovation. (AU)

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