Apr 052011

The results have just been announced for the latest round of applications to the John Fell Oxford University Research Fund.  Our proposal for funding for a temperature controlled Peltier stage microscope with polarizing filters for the study of solid-state phase transitions in crystalline materials was successful.  Polarized light allows the ready detection of discontinuous changes in the anisotropy of a material during heating or cooling since discontinuity in any property is symptomatic of a phase change (an order-disorder transformation, a change in crystal symmetry, or the formation of a completely new phase). Studying such phase changes using a temperature controlled stage can assist in optimising conditions for obtaining a given form of a material, and also leading to an understanding the nature or mechanism of the transformation.