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Materials scientists Frances Ross and James LeBeau to join MIT faculty


Materials scientists Frances Ross and James LeBeau to join MIT faculty

Frances M. Ross and James M. LeBeau have recently accepted offers to join the MIT faculty in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) in 2018-19.
Ross, who will join DMSE as a professor, is currently a research scientist at the Nanoscale Materials Analysis Department within IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, where she performs research on nanostructures using transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) to observe how nanostructures form and how the growth process is affected by changes in temperature, environment, and other variables. Understanding materials at such a basic level has remarkable implications for many applications including semiconductor devices, energy storage, and more.
Ross earned a BA with honors and a PhD at Cambridge University in the U.K. and was a postdoc at AT&T Bell Labs. She has been recognized with many awards and honors, including fellowships in the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Microscopy Society of America, the American Vacuum Society, and the Royal Microscopical Society.
LeBeau is currently associate professor of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University, where his research focus is on developing new TEM and scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) techniques to determine the atomic structures of materials, thereby understanding ceramics, metals, and electronic materials in a way that we never have before.
LeBeau holds a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic University and a PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara, both in materials science and engineering. LeBeau’s reputation as a rising star in this field has been recognized with the Microanalysis Society’s Kurt F. J. Heinrich Award for a leading microscopist under 40, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a North Carolina State University Faculty Scholarship, and acceptance into the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program.
As MIT faculty, Ross and LeBeau will join the research community that will make use of the new MIT.nano building at MIT. Construction of MIT.nano began in 2014 and is now very near completion; the state-of-the-art facility will house cleanroom, imaging, and prototyping facilities in 200,000 square feet at the center of campus. Over 2,000 researchers from departments, labs, and centers across the Institute will collaborate, share ideas, and develop new technologies in this critically enabling space. As part of this community, Ross and LeBeau will bring unique skills and experience in developing new TEM and STEM techniques and instrumentation, which will enrich materials research at MIT immediately and for decades to come. They both plan to incorporate their research into the DMSE curriculum, using TEM case study examples to illustrate structure-property relationships.
“MIT.nano is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a community of innovative thinkers in a state-of-the-art facility filled with world-class characterization equipment; Drs. Ross and LeBeau bring not only expertise in characterization science, but also tremendous creativity in developing new techniques that will advance the field of characterization,” says Professor Christopher Schuh, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

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