Rodney Herring

Rodney Herring
Associate Professor
Mechanical Engineering

Ph.D (Birmingham), P.Eng

Office: EOW 337

Research Areas

  • Imaging Systems and Associated Imaging Methods
  • Crystal Growth and Characterization
  • Electron Microscopy and Electron Holography
  • Property Measurements of Materials/Matter

Research Description

Dr. Herring's current research program at the University of Victoria involves the development of imaging systems and their associated imaging methods using beams of electrons, ions, lasers, acoustic, sonar and radio waves in order to study energy and mass transfer in solids, fluids, and plasmas related to nanotechnology, medical diagnostics and Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Energy-filtered electron holography is applied to the three-dimensional nanoscale measurement of crystal strains and the fundamental properties of quasiparticles such as phonons, plasmons, excitons and magnons in materials.

An award from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund was awarded in 2007 enabling the creation of a Scanning Transmission Electron Holography Microscope (STEHM), Field Ion Beam/Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB/SEM), Ion Miller and Plasma Cleaner. The STEHM has proven to be the most stable microscope in the world as well as one of the highest resolution microscopes.

Dr. Herring started his research career in 1977 as an undergraduate student working as a research assistant in the laboratories of the University of Windsor, the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories (CRNL) and at Dofasco Steel Company, being introduced to many research scientists, types of research projects and research methods. From 1980 to 1982, he did his MASc at the University of Windsor, Canada and Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories, writing a thesis entitled, "Neon Ion Simulation of Neutron Induced Growth in Zirconium Alloys". This work measured the dynamic dimensional changes of Zr and its alloys in an ion-irradiation environment using a Laser for dimensional measurements, electron microscopy for the material structures characterization, and computer simulations of the reaction rate theory.

A PhD was obtained in 1985 from the University of Birmingham, England supervised by Professors M. H. Loretto and R. E. Smallman, writing a thesis entitled, "Solute Interactions with Point Defects in Metals". This work focused on understanding the diffusion of, and the interactions between, alloying additions, self-interstitials and vacancies. As well, many material structures and processes were characterized including dislocations, stacking faults, the dissolution of precipitates, formation of solute concentration gradients and precipitates and the motion of grain boundaries and interfaces.

The first professional position was in the US Aerospace industry at the Martin Marietta Laboratories (now Lockheed Martin) located in Baltimore, MD in the Materials Surface and Science Department from 1985 to 1990. This research involved characterizing and implementing the physical systems being studied by the Intelligent Electronics and Advanced Materials groups.

Example projects include performing research and development of the AlCuLi alloys, the ceramics program of electrostrictive materials such as PbMg-Niobate alloys; high- temperature high-strength materials program of Ti Aluminides and Metal Matrix Composites using the Self-propagating High-temperature Synthesis process (e.g.., NiAlTiB2), as well as, infrared detector materials, involving extrinsic Si, InGaSb and HgCdTe compounds; growth of thin films by MBE and MOCVD producing heterostructures of GaAs/Si, InAlGaAs/GaAs, InGaAs/InP, InSb/GaAs, InSb/InP and GaSb/InP. Characterization of these materials involved high-resolution electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, photoluminescence, DLTS, FTIR, etc.

In 1990 Dr. Herring won a position to work for 5 years for the Japan Research and Development Corporation, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology on the Tonomura Electron Wavefront Project located at the Advanced Research Laboratory of Hitachi, Ltd, Japan. Basic materials science research was performed including the invention of an electron holography method for measuring a material's mean inner potential and for characterizing materials structures.

From 1996 to 2002, Dr. Herring was the Program Scientist of the Microgravity Sciences Program at the Canadian Space Agency. His responsibilities included selecting and ensuring a high quality of science in the domains of physics, materials science, chemistry and biotechnology for performing experiments in space, such as in the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). As well, he was involved with the development of 4 new microgravity research facilities, destined for use in the ISS.