Stephan Gerstl

From Northwestern University Center for Atom-Probe Tomography
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Stephan Gerstl
Research: Ceramic Particles in Intermetallics
Education: Ph.D., Materials Science
Northwestern University
B.S., Physics
University of California, San Diego
Publications: Publications by Gerstl in our database


Dr. Stephan Gerstl
Imago Scientific Instruments
Phone: 608.274.6880x246
Fax: Imago

In my undergraduate years, I claimed that everything depended on the principles of physics. As true as this is, everything we interact with is obviously material. Since we know how to make cars, planes, and machines, it has become a question of making them better: enter Materials Science. Not only do improved materials create more efficient and higher quality tools but new materials and their properties are still being realized!

My contibution to this end is a better understanding of the interfaces between ceramic type materials and metals on the atomic scale. I have always been intrigued with the atomic scale and the methods used to study materials at such a level. High resolution electron microscopy (HREM) provides a projection of a sample to study its structure, whereas chemical information and 3-dimensional reconstructions are possible using the Atom-Probe Tomograph here at Northwestern. I utilize these methods in studying nanometer sized carbide, silicide, and boride precipitates in model and multi-component Gamma-TiAl alloys. The model alloys, fabricated here at Northwestern, provide means to study partitioning of a variety of elements between the metal and ceramic phases. The multicomponent alloys, having up to ten elements, are under investigation for use in high temperature applications such as jet engines. Since the various precipitates in the microstructures are strengthening agents in the alloys, it is of interest where the microalloying elements reside with respect to the precipitate/matrix interface. Localized composition gradients have shown to have an affect on precipitate growth and effectiveness[see Dr. E.Marquis' work], consequently influencing the final properties of the materials.

Originally from northern New Mexico, I completed my physics degree on the west coast at the University of California at San Diego, and recently defended my PhD in Materials Science at Northwestern University.