Campus: CSU Northridge -- January 31, 2005
Money from Parsons Foundation Supports CSUN's Research Efforts
New state-of-the-art equipment in Cal State Northridge's Advanced Materials
Laboratories is providing the university's engineering students a chance to do
cutting-edge research alongside NASA scientists and engineers in the burgeoning
field of nanotechnology.
The purchase of the Imaging Laser Ellipsometry System was made possible in part
by a $50,000 grant from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Additional money came
from NASA and the university's own funds.
"It's the latest state-of-the-art spectroscopic imaging laser Ellipsometric
system," said manufacturing systems engineering professor Behzad Bavarian, director
of the laboratories in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. "There are
only two of them in California now, the one here and one at Stanford University.
They are providing a great opportunity for our students, both graduate and
undergraduate, to do research and get hands-on experience in the cutting-edge
field of nanotechnology."
Ellipsometry is an optical technique that probes a sample and that, through the
analysis of polarized light, can yield information about layers that are thinner
than a single atom. It is referred to as nanoscience because it deals with
extremely small substances, 100 times thinner than a strand of hair. It reveals
details about layer thickness, refractive indices, absorption constants, morphology
and chemical composition.
The most common function of Ellipsometry is the analysis of very thin films. Thin
films have acquired a new importance in modern society due to their use in
semiconductors, flat panel displays, automotive plastics, eyeglass lenses and many
plastic packaging applications. Thin films are also used for scratch resistance
and anti-reflection coatings.
Bavarian said having an Imaging Laser Ellipsometry System at Northridge means the
university's engineering students will have an opportunity to work alongside
scientists and engineers from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on developing
sensors to be used in space exploration.
"NASA pioneered this technology because it is very interested in reducing weight
in the equipment it uses for the space program," he said. "One of the things we
agreed to when we got this equipment was that we would be working with NASA as it
continues its efforts in this area."
Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,