In situ Characterization
The rapid increase in “nanotechnology” over the past 30 years has been a function of improvements in microscopy and measurement resolution and not necessarily the “discovery of nanoscale features” in materials (which have always existed). Only through the advancement of these microscopy and measurement techniques have researchers been able to determine the relationship between processing, structure, and property necessary to design materials at this scale. Early on, these techniques remained static tools for analysis of, say, post-failure fracture surfaces, and while incredibly insightful, the nuances of dynamic deformation of materials at the microscale and below, in real- time remained a mystery. As electron microscopy technology improved, a new field of analysis, combining dynamic analysis of material deformation and the high spatial-temporal resolution of electron microscopy has been established. Our group has used and developed many techniques related to this principle to improve our understanding of the response of a wide range of materials.