In collaboration with scientists at Sector 1 of the advanced photon source synchrotron, Suter's research group is developing a high energy x-ray diffraction microscope (HEDM). This new type of microscope allows for non-destructive mapping of internal microstructure components (crystalline grains and defect fields) in three dimensions inside polycrystalline and even polyphase materials. Being non-destructive, the technique makes it possible to watch the response of microstructures to thermal and/or mechanical treatment well away from the influence of surfaces. A wide range of applications are possible, including questions of basic science (grain growth or phase transformation dynamics) and of industrial interest (fatigue and cracking phenomena).
Both the measurements and the reconstruction of microstructures are challenging. Suter's group at CMU has developed advanced computational techniques and software for generating the microscope output through analysis of hundreds of detector images of diffraction patterns. Computations are performed at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and on a dedicated cluster in the Physics Department. Interpretation of obtained three dimensional data sets is aided by interaction with other participants in the CMU MRSEC.
Suter also runs the Physics Department's x-ray scattering laboratory where measurements are carried out on a wide variety of materials systems including thin solid and fluid films and biologically relevant lipid membranes.