"For research that has made major contributions to our understanding of point defects and the role they play in radiation damage and phase transformations; unique studies of interfacial segregation; and especially for the development and fruitful use of atom-probe spectrometry; for numerous seminal publications, and excellence in education/training students and colleagues in the laboratory, classroom and conferences."
David N. Seidman received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from New York University. He is currently a Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; prior to that he was a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. At Cornell, he went from being a postdoctoral student in 1965 with Robert Balluffi to becoming a full professor in 1976. He started his research program as an assistant professor at Cornell, by establishing a research group to utilize field-ion microscopy (FIM) and atom-probe FIM to study the fundamental properties of point defects (vacancies and self-interstitial atoms) in metals, alloys and ordered phases using a highly scientific and quantitative approach to elucidate ultimately atomistic mechanisms for different physical phenomena. The point defects were created by either quenching or irradiating material. This research program included a wide range of subjects, including: vacancies in quenched metals; radiation damage (Frenkel pairs and displacement cascades) in metals, alloys, and ordered phases; diffusivities of self-interstitial atoms at cryogenic temperatures in irradiated metals and ordered structures; and atomistic structures of displacement cascades as studied by FIM. He and his students also studied the basic physics of FIM and developed atom-probe FIM as a highly quantitative instrument for studying the chemical effects associated with point and planar defects, radiation damage in metals and alloys, diffusive properties of helium and hydrogen in metals, and radiation-induced precipitation in neutron-irradiated alloys. At Cornell, he commenced studies of interfacial segregation by studying segregation at stacking faults, the simplest of all planar imperfections, in Co-Nb and Co-Fe alloys, which was the precursor to a research program on segregation phenomena that he developed after arriving at Northwestern University.
When he commenced doing research at Northwestern in September 1985, he focused on studying interfacial segregation phenomena at grain boundaries (GBs) and developed a unique combined atom-probe FIM and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) approach to study segregation, as measured by determining Gibbsian interfacial excesses with subnanoscale spatial resolution, as a function of the five macroscopic degrees (DOFs) of a GB, thereby exploring GB phase space and demonstrating that Gibbsian segregation excesses depend on the atomistic structure of GBs. In parallel, he also started performing Metropolis algorithm Monte Carlo studies of GB segregation in binary alloys, using embedded atom method potentials, in GB phase space in a systematic fashion, thereby demonstrating the importance of not only the macroscopic DOFs but also the microscopic DOFs, and therefore establishing firmly the quantitative basis for the concept of GB phase space. The research on GB segregation was extended to studies of heterophase segregation; the latter were produced by internal oxidation of ternary metallic alloys, which resulted in metal oxide/metal interfaces with segregating solute atoms at their interfaces. The Gibbsian interfacial excesses were quantitatively determined using an atom-probe FIM. In parallel with the experimental program on segregation at metal oxide/metal interfaces, extensive atomistic simulations were performed in cooperation with Roy Benedek, Argonne National Laboratory.
Seidman then focused his efforts on understanding phase decomposition in model ternary, quaternary, quinary, and sexinary nickel-based superalloys, which were studied initially using an early version of a 3-D tomographic atom-probe, and subsequently a state-of-the art 3-D local-electrode atom-probe (LEAP) tomograph, along with scanning electron microscopy and TEM. This research emphasized following the temporal evolution of the chemistry of gamma prime precipitates in a nickel matrix, where almost all the relevant physical quantities were determined experimentally and analyzed in terms of mean-field theory models. In parallel with the experimental program, lattice kinetic Monte Carlo simulations were performed and compared in great detail, on the same length scale, to the experimental results, thereby establishing atomistic mechanisms for phase decomposition. Additionally, first principles calculations were performed to understand the physical reasons behind the partitioning behavior of solute atoms between phases. Starting in 1999, and continuing to this day, he commenced a research program with his colleague David Dunand to study and develop creep-resistant Al-Sc- and Al-Me-based alloys for use at elevated temperatures (=0.5 Tmp), with an emphasis on their creep resistance. In parallel, the microstructural evolution of these alloys was studied employing 3-D atom-probe tomography and TEM, which enabled modeling of their mechanical properties. Then, with Morris Fine, he turned his attention to Fe-based alloys that are strengthened by copper and metal carbide precipitates. The temporal evolution of the copper and metal carbide precipitates were studied employing 3-D atom-probe tomography and the results correlated with their mechanical properties. Additionally, he applied 3-D atom-probe tomography, in conjunction with first-principles calculations, to understand the atomistics of reactions between Ni-Pd and Ni-Pt alloys with silicon, as well as developing methodologies for ultimately studying individual electronic devices by 3-D atom-probe tomography.
Seidman is a fellow of the American Physical Society, ASM International and TMS. He is a recipient of an Albert Sauveur Achievement Award (ASM International), a Max Planck Research Prize of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and Alexander Von Humboldt Stiftung awarded, jointly with the late Prof. Dr. Peter Haasen, an Alexander Von Humboldt Stiftung Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1980-1981 and 1972-1973), and chair of a Physical Metallurgy Gordon Conference (1982). A MITRE evaluative study of Materials Research Laboratory Programs (MTR 7764) rated his research program for the years 1968-1977 among the top 20 most highly rated major achievements sponsored by the National Science Foundation in the area of materials science. He is also the recipient of a Robert Lansing Hardy Gold Medal, 1966 [TMS]. He was a visiting professor at Technion, Tel-Aviv University, Hebrew University, Centre d'Etude Nucléaires de Grenoble, Centre National d'Etudes des Telecommunication, Meylan, Institut fuer Metallphysik der Universitaet Göttingen, Göttingen and Centre d’Etudes Nucléaires de Saclay. He was also editor-in-chief, special editions editor and a member of the editorial board of Interface Science (1993-2004), a member of the editorial board of Journal of Materials Science (2002-2004), was past president of the International Field-Emission Society, 2000-2002, and is currently a member of the editorial board of MRS Bulletin, 2007-present. In February 2009, he will be honored at a special symposium of the TMS Meeting in San Francisco.