"We develop new routes to synthesize thin film materials for advanced nanoscale devices.
For example, novel precursor molecules and
ultra-smooth and conformal films at low temperatures."
John R. Abelson
Office 1-109 Engineering Sciences Building
Telephone 217-333-7258 Fax 217-333-2736
Mail Address Department of Materials Science and Engineering
1304 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801
Professor Abelson received his BS from Yale University in 1979, was a researcher at the Solar Energy Research Institute (1979-81) and the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris (1981-82), received his PhD from Stanford in 1987, then joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC. He is active in the Materials Research Society and is a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society.
Academic and Scientific Experience
B.S. Yale University, Engineering and Applied Science, 1979
Ph.D. Stanford University, Materials Science and Engineering, 1987
Research Assistant, Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden Colorado, 1979-1981
Visiting Scientist, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris France, 1981-1982
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988-present
Mâitre de Recherches, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris France, autumn 2002 (sabbatical)
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, 1982-1983
EG&G Reticon, Sunnyvale, CA, 1986-1987
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, 1987
Intevac Corporation, 1993-1997
BP Solar Corporation, 1997-2002
3M Corporation, 2000-2003
Dow Corning New Venture Energy, 2002-present
MatSE 200, Introduction to Engineering Materials
MatSE 201, Phases and Microstructures
MatSE 204, Electronic Properties of Materials
MatSE 346, Metallurgy for Engineers
MatSE 360, Electronic Materials and Processing I
MatSE 362, Thin Film Laboratory
MatSE 392, Fundamentals of Laboratory Safety
MatSE 405, Microstructure Determination
MatSE 462, Electronic Materials Characterization
MatSE 489, Materials Selection for Sustainability
MatSE 498, Photovolatic Materials and Devices
MatSE 564, Materials Science of Thin Film Growth
MatSE 584, Point and Line Defects
ENG 598, Energy & Sustainability Engineering
John Abelson’s research is focused on developing novel synthetic methods for thin film materials that are used in advanced microelectronic and energy applications. His group carries out fundamental studies and collaborates with groups in Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Physics, as well as with industry, to evaluate the performance of devices that incorporate these materials. The research is carried out in three interrelated projects.
(i) Novel molecular precursors are used to grow metallic compounds and multicomponent oxides by low temperature chemical vapor deposition. The objectives include low growth temperature and the formation of highly conformal and ultra-smooth films. Recent highlights include the growth of transition metal diboride coatings; the achievement of bottom-up trench filling; the formation of ultra-thin diffusion barriers for copper metallization in microelectronics; and the growth of tribological hard coatings for scanned probe and cutting tool applications.
(ii) Phase-change chalocogenide materials are developed for non-volatile memory applications. The research includes analyses of the electronic and optical properties, and the kinetics of the amorphous to crystalline solid-state phase transition. Recent accomplishments include the direct observation of a population of sub-critical nuclei in the amorphous phase that maps onto the speed of transformation in pulsed laser experiments.
(iii) The nanometer-scale structure of amorphous materials is probed using statistical analysis in the transmission electron microscope, called fluctuation microscopy. The goals include the determination of the size, number distribution, and strain in regions of medium-range order. Recent achievements include the observation of considerable nanoscale order, and subtle differences in that order, in amorphous silicon materials used for solar cells.
S. R. Daly, D.-Y. Kim, Y. Yang, J. R. Abelson and G. S. Girolami, “Lanthanide N,N-Dimethylaminodiboranates: Highly Volatile Precursors for the Deposition of Lanthanide-Containing Thin Films,” JACS 132(7), 2106-2107 (2010).
H.-S. Yang, D. G. Cahill, X. Liu, J. L. Feldman, R. S. Crandall, B. A. Sperling and J. R. Abelson, “Anomalously high thermal conductivity of amorphous Si deposited by hot-wire chemical vapor deposition,” Phys. Rev. B 81(10), 104203 (2010).
A. Chatterjee, N. Kumar, J. R. Abelson, P. Bellon, A. A. Polycarpou, “Nanowear of hafnium diboride thin films,” Tribology Transactions, 53(5), 731-738 (2010).
S. N. Bogle, L. N. Nittala, R. D. Twesten, P. M. Voyles and J. R. Abelson, “Size Analysis of Nanoscale Order in Amorphous Materials by Variable-Resolution Fluctuation Electron Microscopy,” Ultramicroscopy 110, 1273–1278 (2010).
B. S. Lee, S. G. Bishop and J. R. Abelson, "Fluctuation Transmission Electron Microscopy: Detecting Nanoscale Order in Disordered Structures," ChemPhysChem 11, 2311 – 2317 (2010).
W. Ye, P. A. Peña Martin, N. Kumar, S. R. Daly, A. A. Rockett, J. R. Abelson, G. S. Girolami and J. W. Lyding, “Direct Writing of Sub-5 nm Hafnium Diboride Metallic Nanostructures,” ACS Nano 4(11), 6818 (2010).
!A. Yanguas-Gil, B. Sperling and J. R. Abelson, “Light Scattering From Self-Affine Surfaces: A Universal Relationship Between Morphology and Effective Medium Roughness,” Phys. Rev. B (in press, 2011)
J. R. Abelson, “Ultra-Conformal CVD at Low Temperatures: The Role of Site Blocking and the Use of Growth Inhibitors,” JECS (June 2010)
B. Haberl1a, S. N. Bogle, T. Li, I. McKerracher, S. Ruffell, P. Munroe, J. S. Williams, J. R. Abelson, and J. E. Bradby, "Unexpected short- and medium-range atomic structure of sputtered amorphous silicon," submitted to APL (July 2011)
B.-S. Lee, S. G. Bishop and J. R. Abelson, “Fluctuation Transmission Electron Microscopy (FTEM): Detecting Nanoscale Order in Disordered Structures,” Chem Phys Chem, submitted (Feb 2010)
- University of Linkoping, Sweden, external Examiner, "Fakultetsopponent" (1995)
- IBM University Partnership Award (1995-1997)
- Xerox Senior Faculty Award, UIUC (1996)
- Incomplete list of teachers ranked as excellent, UIUC (1993, 1997)
- Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, UIUC (1997)
- Incomplete list of teachers ranked as excellent, UIUC (2000)
- Fellow, American Vacuum Society (2004)