Advanced Materials Lab Lead, Boise State University Dr. Yaqiao Wu (208) 533-8112

About AML


Closely linked to the Microscopy and Characterization Suite, the Advanced Materials Laboratory (AML) offers a broad range of sample preparation capabilities in the areas including: processing, structural analysis, and properties determination.

Specifically, AML provides:

  • Radiological and non-radiological materials processing (sintering, welding, casting, machining, deposition)
  • Determination of materials structure of samples (atomic, nano, and mesostructures)
  • Analysis of material’s properties (strength, toughness, creep, slow crack growth, Moduli, diffusion, thermal conductivity, thermal expansion, corrosion resistance, etc.).

Why is the research important?


New materials that can withstand higher pressure levels and temperatures are needed to boost power plant efficiency, so are materials that can extend the life of the nation’s nuclear plants.

CAES researchers are working on these and other critical projects by creating and testing new materials to ensure they can withstand extreme environments. They also are experimenting with new welding techniques to ensure these materials can be used in a commercial setting.

Research example: Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS)


Research: The Advanced Materials Laboratory contains a Spark Plasma Sintering system, which allows researchers to combine metal and ceramic powders to produce new materials. There are only a handful of these unique systems in the U.S.

SPS produces unique materials engineered for properties that include high wear resistance, high heat strength, high magnetism, and functional porosity or density.

Benefits: Creating advanced materials for weapons, optics, tooling, and nuclear energy

Research example: Crack Creep Testing


Research: Crack Creep Testing is a method for determining how cracks form and how cracks “creep” through metals.


  • Supports life extension of U.S. Light Water Reactor Fleet
  • Ensures integrity and safety
  • Ensures components, materials and products are fit-for-purpose
  • Ensures compliance with NRC standards

Research example: Resistance Welding


Research: Resistance welding fuses metals heated by electrical resistance. This experiment welds oxide-dispersion strengthened alloy (ODS) samples.

  • ODS alloys are used in nuclear applications and for high temperature turbine blades and heat exchanger tubing
  • ODS materials clad space craft to protect the passengers during re-entry into the atmosphere
  • Noble metal alloy ODS materials are used in glass production

Benefits: ODS Alloys lose strength when welded by conventional means – this research may expand the use of these important alloys in energy production and in other industrial applications.


LECO LM247AT Microhardness Tester

Rigaku SmartLab X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

Intelligent X-ray diffraction system

  • Powder diffraction, thin film diffraction, SAXS, in-plane scattering

Carver Presses inside Argon Glovebox

Two 25 ton Carver Presses

  • Two 25 ton Carver Presses
  • Model 3887 “AutoPellet” Press 5” dia Platen
  • Model 3891 9”x9” Heated Platen

Inert Glovebox – Non-Radioactive

  • Argon glovebox with less than 100 ppm oxygen

CM Furnace

1700C Furnace
Vacuum capability at low temperatures

Instrument LeadJatu Burns, (208) 533-8160

Thermal Technologies High Temp Furnace

Max Temp 2000C

Instrument Lead: Jatu Burns, (208) 533-8160

Precision Etching and Coating System (PECS-II)

Gatan model 682 precision etching and coating system

Manufacturer: Gatan
Model: 682 PECS-II

Instrument Lead: Jatu Burns, (208) 533-8160

Three penning ion guns with miniature rare earth magnets; Ion beam energy ranges from 1 kV to 10 kV; Ion current density for etch gun is up to 3 mA/cm2 and for coating gun is up to 10 mA/cm2 each; Etched area ranges from 7 to 10 mm depending on gun energy; Coating area is uniform over a 1 inch diameter; Standard coating materials are C, Cr, Pt, Pd, Au; Accepts 1.25” metallographic mounts and most SEM stubs.

Precision Ion Polishing System (PIPS)

Gatan model 695 PIPS-II

Manufacturer: Gatan
Model: 695 PIPS-II

Instrument Lead: Jatu Burns, (208) 533-8160

Two penning Ar ion guns with low energy focusing electrodes; Milling angles can be changed from -10 to 10 degrees for each gun independently; Ion beam energies range from 100 eV to 8 kV; Ion current density is 100 mA/cm2 at the peak; Whisperlock with X, Y stage to center the region of interest for re-polish; Digital Zoom microscope that operate in real time during milling; Color image stage in Digital Micrograph; Accommodates 2.3 mm, 3 mm conventional TEM disks, and FIB lamella; LN2 specimen cooling; Set up as a post-processing step for FIB lamella to remove FIB Ga ion beam damage.


Fischione Model 1040 Nanomill

Manufacturer: Fischione

Model: 1040

Instrument Lead: Jatu Burns, (208) 533-8160

Filament-based ion source combined with electrostatic lens system; Accelerating voltages range from 50 eV to 2 kV and are continuously adjustable; Beam current density is up to 1 mA/cm2; Beam diameter can be reduced to 1 μm at 2 kV; Milling angles range from -12 to 30 degrees; Ar ion beam can be targeted at one spot on the specimen or scanned within a selected area; LN2 conductive cooling; Stage temperature can be reduced to -170 degrees; Everhart-Thornley detector; SED-based imaging technology with 3 mm field of view; Set up to post-process FIB lamella and remove Ga ion beam damage.

Polisher/Grinder – Non-Radioactive

Manufacturer: LECO Model: SS-1000 Spectrum System

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann, (208) 533-8161

Linear Sectioning Machine – Non-Radioactive

Manufacturer: LECO Model: MSX-205MZ

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann(208) 533-8161

Manufacturer: LECO

Model: MSX-205MZ

Polisher/Polisher – Non-Radioactive

Manufacturer: LECO Model: GPX-200

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann(208) 533-8161

Manufacturer: LECO
Model: GPX-200

Precision Saw – Non-Radioactive

Manufacturer: Buehler Model: SS-1000 Spectrum System

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann(208) 533-8161

Manufacturer: Buehler
Model: SS-1000 Spectrum System

Vibratory Polisher – Non-Radioactive

Manufacturer: Buehler Model: VibroMet 2

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann(208) 533-8161

Manufacturer: Buehler
Model: VibroMet 2

Polisher/Grinder – Radioactive

Manufacturer: Buehler Model: Minimet 1000 polisher/grinder

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann(208) 533-8161

Manufacturer: Buehler
Model: Minimet 1000 polisher/grinder

Low Speed Saw – Radioactive

Manufacturer: Buehler Model: Isoment Low Speed Saw

Sample Prep Lead: Bryan Forsmann(208) 533-8161

Manufacturer: Buehler
Model: Isoment Low Speed Saw

Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS)

Dr. Sinter Spark Plasma Sintering Furnace

Manufacturer/Model: Dr. Sinter Spark Plasma Sintering Furnace

10kN-50kN force on punch and die
1-20V 1500A
Air-Vacuum-or inert gas environment
Ramp rates of 100’s degree C possible

CAES Research Helps Solve Ancient Archeological Mystery

CAES researchers are helping determine the identity of the “Bearded Man, 170-180 A.D.

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