Project Info

Setting up a Thin Film Deposition Lab

Megan Holtz

Project Goals and Description:

In Hill Hall 302, we will be setting up a new molecular beam epitaxy thin film deposition system to grow designer oxide materials, where we can choose what material to grow atomic layer by layer. Before the system arrives, there is a lot to do: we need substrate materials that have perfect crystal facets which are perfectly clean. The surface of various substrate materials will be tuned by rinsing, etching, and annealing, and then verified using characterization tools such as atomic force microscopy. Once the system arrives, moving the system to the lab and getting things set up will begin, under the guidance of the company. Then the excitement will begin as we are able to see how the system works by growing and characterizing new material systems. In this project, you will learn about thin film deposition, oxide materials, surface chemistry, and materials characterization (such as x-ray and electron diffraction techniques and various microscopies). Get in on the ground floor of an exciting materials engineering lab, and gain experimental skills that will be valuable as you launch your career. People who enjoy and/or want to learn hands-on work, who are in the early stages of undergrad, and/or who are women, minorities, or otherwise underrepresented are encouraged to participate. Option to start in the summer.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Engineer the tools of scientific discovery.

Primary Contacts:

Megan Holtz,

Student Preparation


Eagerness to learn, meticulous, and enjoys hands-on projects. Able to work independently and in a team. Working on MME, CBE, PH, or other closely related degree with an interest in materials science.    




Tuning surface chemistry by wet methods and by using a furnace, materials characterization such as x-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and electron diffraction. Thin film deposition techniques and characterization methods. Hands-on lab experience with a variety of materials engineering systems including vacuum systems.


I will join the student in the lab for their entire lab time in the beginning and in their first 30 minutes as they become more independent to make sure they are comfortable with what they are doing. When my graduate students start, they will also mentor the student as necessary. I will separately meet with the student outside the lab once a month.


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