(Sept. 19, 2002, Gazette)
by Chris Hammond
Dr. Todd Andrews
Memorial University will soon be home to a new laboratory equipped to
study materials with feature sizes about 100,000 times smaller than the
thickness of a human hair.
Funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation will allow Dr. Todd
Andrews, Physics and Physical Oceanography, to build a laboratory dedicated
to the study of nanoporous materials and their properties.
Equipped with a new laser and multipass tandem interferometer, this laboratory
lays the groundwork for the establishment of a world-class Brillouin light
scattering research program in Memorials Department of Physics and
In the interests of pure research, Dr. Andrews is studying the basic properties
and behaviour of nanoporous materials materials with typical pore
and feature sizes of a few billionths of a meter but points out
that his findings will benefit other scientists worldwide in a variety
Researchers working in emerging fields such as photonics, biomaterials
and nanoelectronics will require detailed knowledge of the properties
of nanoporous materials so that they may be exploited for new applications.
Nanoporous silicon is currently being explored for use as a photonic
material in the fabrication of silicon-based devices such as lasers and
photodetectors. A second particularly fascinating potential application
of nanoporous silicon is its use as a human bone-building material,
said Dr. Andrews.
Dr. Andrews laboratory will harness the power of light to uncover
the properties of nanoporous materials. The laboratorys new multipass
tandem interferometer works in conjunction with a laser, which when aimed
at a sample, produces scattered light with a range of frequencies unique
to that material. The interferometer then allows Dr. Andrews to analyze
the information contained in the scattered light, and to assess the mechanical
properties of the material and its behaviour under varying conditions.
His current research began in 1992, when Dr. Andrews began using laser
spectroscopic techniques, including Brillouin spectroscopy, to determine
the elastic, structural, and optical properties of nanoporous silicon.
In fact, Dr. Andrews PhD work resulted in the first published Brillouin
scattering study of porous silicon.
As a new faculty member, Dr. Andrews is happy with the contribution that
this new laboratory will make to the university as well as the field of
I have always been intrigued by light, ever since my first high
school physics course, so this field is a natural choice for me,
said Dr. Andrews. Using laser light to probe the properties of extremely
interesting and novel materials that no one has ever studied before, Im
right where I belong.