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Richard P. Vinci


Phone: (610) 758-4581

Thin films and other small volumes of material often exhibit mechanical behavior that is different from the same material at a macroscopic scale. This may be because of unique microstructures that exist only at the smaller size scale, or because of the high surface to volume ratio of the nano/micro-scale material. However, characterizing mechanical behavior at the micrometer and sub-micrometer scale can be quite challenging. Dr. Vinci and his research group focus on developing and utilizing test techniques for this purpose. They also specialize in the processing of thin films and small-scale structures with the goal of controlling mechanical properties. Areas of interest include fabrication and application of MEMS devices for mechanical measurements, strengthening mechanisms in platinum, gold, and aluminum thin films, viscoelasticity and stress relaxation mechanisms in nano- and micro-scale metal films, cryogenic behavior of thin films, and nanopatterning of metal films for solid state conversion to form single crystal oxides. Dr. Vinci also explores the mechanical behavior of small volumes of natural materials, including human tissue. Some of the approaches he uses to study these varied material systems include nanoindentation, micromechanical fracture testing in-situ in an SEM environment, puncture testing using surgical needles and knives, bend testing with a millimeter-scale load span, and membrane bulge testing. Processing techniques such as reactive co-sputtering are used to fabricate metal alloy and oxide thin films with novel properties.

Figure: Sequence of images showing a fracture test of single crystal magnesium-aluminate spinel ceramic performed in a scanning electron microscope.

Research Infrastructure
The Mechanical Behavior Laboratory within the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is directed by Dr. Vinci. It includes equipment for mechanical testing at a wide variety of size scales. Other equipment under Dr. Vinci’s supervision includes tools for Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and thin film deposition. CAMN equipment is available for use by qualified personnel from Lehigh or its industrial partners.

Dr. Vinci and his group often partner with industry through the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology Industrial Liaison Program to perform collaborative research work, innovative film deposition, mechanical testing, and consulting activities.

Current/Former Research Projects

  • Structure and micro-fracture testing of single grain boundaries in ceramics
  • Effects of nanoscale grain boundary composition fluctuations on mechanical behavior of metals and alloys
  • Fundamental research into creep-resistant alloy electrode materials for conventional and high power RF MEMS devices
  • Surface engineering of nanopatterned sapphire substrates for improved III-Nitride growth
  • Development of gold matrix nanocomposite wear-resistant electrodes for MEMS
  • Anelastic (viscoelastic) stress relaxation behavior of thin metal films
  • Strengthening mechanisms and residual stress control in platinum and gold thin films
  • Low temperature mechanical behavior of MEMS materials for space applications
  • Mechanical behavior of lead-free solder materials for advanced automotive microelectronic packaging
  • Fatigue behavior of metals for MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS)
  • Mechanical testing of surgical instruments, drug delivery devices, and implant components
  • Determination of SiO2 mechanical behavior via high temperature microtensile testing
  • Fracture testing of thin Si
  • Electrodes for piezoelectric MEMS
  • Thermal-mechanical degradation mechanisms and microstructural engineering of high permittivity capacitor materials

Current/Former Graduate Student and Post-doctoral Researchers
Dr. Sreya Dutta
Dr. Thirumalesh Bannuru
Dr. Jonathan Regina
Dr. Richard Chromik
Dr. Ming-Tzer Lin
Dr. Paul El-Deiry
Dr. Nicholas Barbosa, III
Dr. Weisong Wang
Dr. Hongwei Li
Dr. Hyoungjoon Park
Dr. Seungmin Hyun
Dr. XiaoMing Liu

Mark McLean
Wanjun Cao
Kittisun Mongkolsuttirat
Jeffrey Biser
Allison Hamilton
Jason Perkins
Sarah Lewis
Joan Stanescu
Jason Iceman
Joseph Muthu
Xiaojun Yan

Current/Former Visiting Scientists
Dr. Ralph Spolenak
Dr. Tejpal Hooghan
Dr. Suparut Narksitipan
Dr. Miguel Garrido Maneiro

Current/Former Undergraduate Research Assistants
Scott Novick (BioE)
John (Jay) Logan
William Lenthe
Daniel Guan
MariAnne Sullivan
Timothy Krentz
Denise Yin
Bridget Hentz (Lafayette College)
Erin Deda (JHU)
Timothy Krentz
Denise Yin
Taek Bo Kim (Imperial College)
Max Kaplan
Peter Eldridge
Randy Chen
Kevin Ackler
Nickesha Taylor (ChemE)
Peter Eldridge
Randy Chen
Thomas Nizolek
Steven Henry (BioE)
Adam Kohn
David Browne
Thomas Humplik
Micah Sussman
Mark McLean
Sean Kelly
Peter Burke
Matthew Meyers
Daryl Williams (Alabama A&M)
Andrew Stockdale
Matthew Dwyer
Mikolaj Bykowski
Olga Stewart
Mikolaj Bykowski
Iping Lam
Olga Stewart
Jason Perkins
Caesar Lastimosa
Laura Limata
Clifford (Andy) Prescott
Alex Hudgins
Lauren Kramer (MechE)
Michael Dammer
Imperial College)
Kartik Rao (summer
Allison Hamilton (MechE)
Clifford (Andy) Prescott
Jeffrey Biser (Cornell U)
Lucas Taylor
Gregory Chirieleison
Aaron Paterson
Janine Collura
Jennifer Antonacci
Shane Para
Rebecca Kirkpatrick
Brian McAdams