Cotts, Eric

Eric Cotts

Office: S2-G47

Phone: 607-777-4371


Research in Physics:

Splat QuenchingSputteringThe DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimeter)

Splat Quenching:

The SPLAT Machine


To the left is the Splat Machine.

To the right is a picture of the inner workings of the splat machine, where samples are "levitated" by magnetic fields before they are "splatted". Basically a metal sample is heated up in a vacuum (for cleanliness) and then rapidly cooled (splatted) to create an amorphous sample. Kevin Teed has created an in-depth explanation of this phenomena, and why he uses it to create samples for his studies.



In the sputtering process, atoms are removed from a target surface by bombardment with energetic molecules. These atoms can then be deposited on another surface in a controlled manner. To the right is a picture of the sputterer.










The DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimeter):


This is a DSC--a Differential Scanning Calorimeter. The DSC is used to obtain thermodynamic and kinetic data for the different metal alloys being studied by Rich Chromik and others in the lab. If you have any technical inquiries to make, he would be happy to respond.

The DSC consists of two calorimeters (see Fig. 1 below) that are heated at a constant rate and always maintained at the same temperature. The reference calorimeter is empty while the other contains the sample under study. Samples are hermetically sealed in Al (aluminum) pans under an Ar (argon) atmosphere of 10 kPa. As the two calorimeters are heated the difference in power needed by the calorimeters to cause the identical temperature change is measured. The difference in power is essentially the heat flow into the sample (with this definition, an exothermic reaction corresponds to a measurement of negative heat flow). The changes in the measurement of heat flow record the changing states in the sample. For example, if a crystallization reaction takes place it can be detected through a reaction peak in the heat flow (see below Fig. 2).



DSC graph

Fig. 2:

This is a plot of heat flow versus observed temperature for the reaction of Cu and Cu6Sn5 to form Cu3Sn. This is an exothermic reaction. From this DSC scan and others, we determined the heat of reaction to be -4.3 +/-0.3 kJ/mol. You can read more ( .pdf, 64KB) about our study of solid state reactions in Cu/Sn diffusion couples.

Last Updated: 10/6/16