Professor: Lena Kourkoutis
Project Description: 2D materials, including transition metal halides and chalcogenides, possess low temperature structural transformations with concomitant magnetic or electronic changes, such as charge density waves. While these transformations are promising for material design, the driving forces for their emergence and capacity for tunability are not fully understood. Unraveling the mechanisms behind such structure-property relationships requires visualizing the material at the atomic-scale and phase transformation temperature; often this temperature depends on the thickness of the material. In this project, you will use state-of-the-art scanning transmission electron microscopy to image atomic-scale changes in 2D materials as a function of temperature and thickness. Furthermore, you will perform in situ electronic measurements while imaging to track changes in electronic properties during the phase transformation. These studies will help to elucidate how emergent phases evolve as a function of thickness, ultimately allowing for tailoring of electronic and magnetic properties.