Billy "Trey" Cole
West Virginia University
NIST Research Intern
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Kelvin probe force microscopy is a technique in material imaging that can provide sub-nanometer scale spatial resoltuion. The instrumation that makes this possible relies on the vibration of a cantilever, microns in size, that reflects the changes in surface potential of the imaged surface. There have been recent attempts at using KPFM to image subsurface properties, which is relevant in integrated circuit devlopement in particular, along with many other applications. My aim was to construct an appropriately sized cantilever and measure its eigenmodes of vibration under the influence of various driving forces using the COMSOL multiphysics software.
I am a graduating senior at West Virginia University receiving my B.S. in Physics with an emphasis in computational Physics. I have been involved in research at the Physics department since my sophomore year, through which I study topological phases of matter and its applications to superconducting qubits. In the beginning, this consisted mostly of trying to learn the basics, but today I am writing code to simulate nanoscale systems and conducting independent research projects, something I really enjoy and hope to make into a career. Now this summer, despite not being able to participate in person, I will be expanding my research experience as a NIST intern. This is a great milestone for me and I really feel that my hard work as an undergraduate is coming to fruition.
Outside of research, I enjoy music, reading, and adventuring in nature. In West Virginia, there is an ample amount of natural beauty to discover, and a walk through the woods is a great way to clear my mind. I hope that someday I will be able to travel and see more natural wonders of the world.