The Auburn University Surface Science Laboratory (AUSSL) is
devoted to fundamental studies of surfaces and interfaces used in
state-of-the-art electronics applications.
By employing an interdisciplinary approach combining condensed
matter physics, electrical engineering, materials science, and
physical chemistry, we are well-positioned to make important
discoveries in microelectronics and nanotechnology.
The director of AUSSL is Dr. Michael J. Bozack.
What is Surface Science?
Surface science arose out of the needs of the microelectronics
industry in the 1970's. As the size dimensions of electronic
circuitry decreased, it became necessary not only to view the
small features by electron microscopy, but to understand the thin
films and interfaces involved in microprocessor processing. A
surface is defined as the top 5-10 atomic layers of a material.
Experimental surface science involves the use of a variety of novel
instrumentation capable of measuring the physical, chemical,
electronic, and material properties of surfaces.
Our research focus is harsh environment electronics. A harsh
environment is one with either 1) extreme temperatures; 2) high
radiation; 3) high vibration; 4) high stress and strain; 5) corrosive
surroundings. An example would be the electronics necessary to
function in a fighter aircraft, which is subject to the high
temperatures of the jet engines. Conventional silicon electronics
used in consumer electronics will not survive the rigors of most
harsh environments and new materials and manufacturing
approaches are necessary.
Auburn University Surface Science Laboratory
Tin whiskers are unwanted
single-crystal filaments that
grow from pure tin surfaces
and result in reliability problems
in electronic circuits.
Droplet of Lead-Free Solder
The wetting of solders when
joining electronic components
is a key feature of high-reliability
Surface Analysis System
A variety of sophisticated
ultrahigh vacuum equipment is
needed to successfully study
surfaces and interfaces.
Electron Micrograph of
Modern electronic solders
consist of an amalgam of the
metallic solder and flux, called
Custom apparatus are often
needed to study surfaces. This
tabletop system enables in-situ
studies of solder alloy wetting.
Surface and Interface Science