Defects and Internal Interfaces Lab (DIIL)

The laboratory investigates the local electrical properties of individual defects and internal interface segments with respect to their microstructure

General research statement of DIIL:
The Defects and Internal Interfaces Lab (DIIL) studies local electron transport properties across microstructural defects in alloys and across interfaces between metallic materials.

Electron scattering is usually enhanced at defects and internal interfaces of materials, leading to energy loss and a decline in the performance of materials and devices. Detecting and understanding the associated resistivity mechanisms is the key to improve electrical properties of alloys, while keeping their high-mechanical performance. Eventually, the contribution of individual microstructural features to the electrical resistivity is poorly understood. On that account, the mission of DIIL is:

  • Develop methodologies to perform quantitative scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in-situ local electrical measurements on complex microstructures.
  • Discover the associated electron scattering mechanisms by combining advanced electrical and microstructural characterization.
  • Establish defect-design concepts of materials and internal interfaces for high-conductivity high-strength applications.

DIIL studies local electron transport properties across microstructural defects in alloys and across internal interfaces between alloys.

The research strategy is:

  • In DIIL we grow bulk and thin film materials in a well-controlled manner to tune defects’ structures.
  • In DIIL we structurally characterize the defects.
  • In DIIL we study the local electrical and mechanical properties of individual defects and internal interfaces’ segments.
  • In DIIL we continuously develop the methodologies for local electrical characterization.
  • In DIIL we develop novel defect-design concepts.


  • We prepare bulk alloys. Microstructure is tuned through chemistry, solidification and annealing.
  • We prepare thin films alloys. Microstructure is tuned through controlling multilayer co-sputtering and annealing processes.
  • We Investigate the microstructure evolution (mainly) by: XRD, SEM, EBSD, EDS, TEM.
  • We create internal interfaces by diffusion bonding.
  • We Investigate the local electrical properties by SEM in-situ local electrical measurements assisted by nanomanipulator systems.
  • We investigate the global electrical properties of alloys.
  • We develop the electrical measurements methodology by utilizing finite elements simulations using COMSOL Multiphysics.
  • We investigate the local mechanical properties of defects.
  • We interconnect the microstructure and physical properties of defects.

Will soon include the following facilities:

  • Induction melting furnace
  • Sputtering machine
  • Tube vacuum furnaces
  • Vacuum furnaces
  • Diffusion-bonding system
  • Probe station with temperature control
  • Four independent nanomanipulators system in-situ SEM
  • Highly sensitive electrical measurements setup
  • Grinding and polishing machine
  • Vibro-polishing machine
  • Metallurgical sample cutter
  • Diamond wire saw
  • C-AFM embedded inside SEM.

The lab will make use of shared (or collaboration) facilities:

  • SEM
  • XRD
  • TEM
  • EBSD
  • EDS
  • Nanoindenter 

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