AFRL collaborates with OSU on $3 million congressional microscopy program Published July 10, 2018 By Donna Lindner Air Force Research Laboratory WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Collaboration – what better way to get the job done? The Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and The Ohio State University’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis have a congressionally directed collaborative research agreement in the works. The agreement pushes the limits of advanced characterization techniques over a wide range of material classes and fosters long-standing research collaboration between OSU’s CEMAS and the directorate. Characterization is the broad process by which a material's underlying structure and properties are probed and measured. Investigating these phenomena with advanced, high-powered electron microscopes enables the researchers to dive deeper into detail when addressing how these fundamental characteristics influence material performance in various environments. The program will contribute to a multitude of research topics aligned directly to respective research teams within the directorate. The idea is to explore a wide range of structural, functional and/or biological materials in innovative ways, providing innovative solutions to promote the warfighter advantage. “This collaborative effort expands the envelope of what’s possible within the realm of advanced materials characterization,” said Dr. Todd Butler, researcher in the Metals Branch and Materials Characterization Facility manager. “This facilitates both expedited and unique breakthroughs that strengthen our understanding of the intricate relationship between material structure, processing and performance.” The program will support a cohort of post-doctoral research fellows focused on precision measurement tools for advanced functional and structural materials characterization. They will be embedded in the research groups at WPAFB and will have a faculty advisor at CEMAS to ensure access to the latest developments and capabilities. “These outstanding young researchers will be the conduit between our two research enterprises,” said CEMAS Director David McComb. “There they will learn the materials and advanced manufacturing challenges that impede AFRL’s progress. They will have access to state-of-the-art microscopy equipment and the nation’s leading experts in materials characterization to help solve those challenges and innovate to improve our national defense.” World-class expertise from researchers at AFRL, CEMAS staff and OSU faculty all play a significant role in the success of this effort, as will be exhibited by the direct application of state-of-the-art characterization techniques to Air Force materials related challenges. “Forming a partnership with AFRL is not new to us,” said Frank Scheltens, of OSU/CEMAS. “We have been working with AFRL for years on team efforts and the outcome has always been a success.” The results of this quest will help the Air Force to pair state-of-the-art characterization expertise and capabilities to answer challenging research questions within the research teams at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. In this manner, research breakthroughs are expedited and taken to new levels, giving warfighters a competitive advantage.