Department of Chemistry

René Rodriguez

Professor of Chemistry

B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado – 1981

M.S. Physical Chemistry, University of Minnesota – 1984

Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, University of Idaho – 1987

Dr. Rodriguez's Webpage

Research area: Plasma Enhanced Thin Film Deposition of Photovoltaic Materials, Spectroscopic, Chromatographic, and Spectrometric Analytical Instrumentation, Vibrational Spectroscopy

Student experience required for research: Chem 1112

Student experience gained from research: Instrumentation Design, electronics, spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, Thin film deposition techniques for Semiconductor Materials

Ideal preparation for: Chemical industry, computer chip manufacturing, analytical laboratory, preparation for graduate school in Physical/Analytical Chemistry or for Engineering School

Research Description

1) Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition of Thin Films of Semiconductors

We are developing PECVD methodology to deposit amorphous chalcogenide materials, like GexSy, GexSey, as possible phase memory or ion-conductive memory materials. Germanium sulfide is also known to have a large difference in conductivity between it amorphous phase and its crystalline phase. This is essential for phase memory devices. It is also known to have a high ionic conductivity toward Ag and lithium ions. This property is essential for ion conductive or bridge-conductive memory (also known as resistive RAM) and in Li battery applications. GexSey is likely to have higher ion conductivity and we are investigating the ion-conductivity as a function of the relative ratio of the Ge to Se in the PECVD films. We are also doping more metallic elements like Sn into the films and are studying how this affects the conductivity. This work is being performed in conjunction with Prof. Kris Campbell at Boise State University.

It is apparent at this point in time that we have reached a junction in the path we will take to power the world of the future. If we intend to have sufficient non polluting energy for the growing and maturing world it is apparent that solar energy conversion will likely represent a large component of the total energy sources available for humankind. Thin films of germanium and tin sulfides and selenides also have potential application in this area.

2) Development of an in-situ Mass Spectrometric Probe for rf-PECVD

Mass spectrometry is a very sensitive technique. It can be used as an identification tool to determine species present in a radiofrequency discharge. However unless the species are stable, detection by the typical method of residual gas analysis gives only information about stable species and not ions or radicals that may be present in the plasma.

An alternate way of sampling is to build a high vacuum chamber, intermediate between the plasma chamber and the mass spectrometer chamber. An electromagnetic lens system can then be used to extract ions through a small orifice in the lower electrode of the plasma and focus the beam of ions into the quadrupole mass spectrometer. Alternatively, radicals may be detected by allowing the molecules which effuse from the plasma region to move through the intermediate chamber with the lensing system powered down. This capability is currently being developed in our lab.

3) Thermal Imaging for Serial Number Recovery

We are working on a way to recover defaced serial numbers with a nondestructive method. Currently serial numbers on products like firearms or automobile parts which have been partially or completely filed off are recovered using a wet chemical method. The wet chemical method often recovers the serial numbers piecemeal while etching away the remnant memory of the number that exists in the plastic deformation zone. The plastic deformation zone is an area where the properties of the material have been altered due to the large force needed to imprint the numbers in the material. With the wet chemical method, one may get only one chance at recovering the number, since the remnant of the number is often destroyed as the metal is etched away, and so other non-destructive methods are sought that leave the evidence in a state that is available for further testing or verification at a later time.

We plan to make use of the difference in heat flow in the plastic deformation zone to recover the serial numbers. This will be accomplished through the use of real-time infrared thermography and image processing techniques. Since this technique does not etch away more of the material, it is non-destructive and leaves the sample available for further testing at a later time.

Selected Journal Publications

"GeS2 and GeSe2 PECVD from GeCl4 and Various Chalcogenide Precursors," Rodriguez, R. G., Whitham, P., Strommen, D., Lundell, S., Lau, L. (2014). Plasma Chem Plasma Process, 34(4), 755-766.

"Fabrication and Characterization of Thin Film Solar Cell Made From CuIn0.75Ga0.25S2 Wurtzite Nanoparticles"Pak, J. J., Rodriguez, R. G., Zhang, F., Sun, C., Bajracharya, C.. Journal of Nanomaterials, 2013 (Article ID 320375 ed., pp. 5)

"A Large Scale Synthesis and Characterization of Quaternary CuInxGa1-xS2 Chalcopyrite Nanoparticles via Microwave Batch Reactions," Chivin Sun, Richard Westover, Gary Long, Cyril Bajracharya, Jerry Harris, Alex Punnoose, René G. Rodriguez and Joshua J. Pak Int. J. Chem. Eng, Article ID 545234, 2011.

"Thin Film Growth of Germanium Selenides from PECVD of GeCl4 and Dimethyl Selenide," Patrick J. Whitham, Dennis P. Strommen, Lisa D. Lau, and René G. Rodriguez Plasma Chem. Plasma Proc., 31(2), 251, 2011.

"Controlled Stoichiometry for Quaternary CuInxG1-xS2 Chalopyrite Nanoparticles from Single Source Precursors via Microwave Irradiation," Chivin Sun, Joseph S. Gardner, Gary Long, Cyril Bajracharya, Aaron Thurber, Alex Punnoose, René G. Rodriguez, and Joshua J. Pak, Chem. Mat., 2699-2701, 2010.

"A High Yield Synthesis of Chalcopyrite CuInS2 Nanoparticles with Exceptional Size Control," Chivin Sun, J. Gardner, E. Shurdha, K. Marguleieux, R. Westover, L. Lau, G. Long, C. Bajracharya, C. Wang, A. Thurber, A. Punnoose, R. Rodriguez, and J. Pak., J. Nanomaterials, 748567, 2009.

"Rapid and Size Controlled Synthesis of CuInS2 Nanopartilces via Microwave Irradiation", J. Gardner, E. Shrudha, L. Lau, C. Wang, R. Rodriguez, and J. Pak, J. Nanoparticle Research, 10, 633-641, (2008).

"Thermal Lensing in a Supercritical Water Medium," R. Rodriguez, S. Mezyk, C. Stewart, H. Rollins, B. Mincher, R. Fox, BJ. Phillips and R. Brey, J Phys. Chem A, 113(3), 468-471, 2007.

"Rapid and Size Controlled Synthesis of CuInS2 Nanopartilces via Microwave Irradiation", J. Gardner, E. Shrudha, L. Lau, C. Wang, R. Rodriguez, and J. Pak, J. Nanoparticle Research, 10, 633-641, (2008).

"Pulsed-Spray Radiofrequency PECVD of CuInS2 Thin Films," R.G. Rodriguez, D. Pulsipher, L. Lau, E. Shurdha, J.J. Pak, M. Jin, K. Banger, and A. Hepp, Plasma Chem. Plasma Proc., 26(2), 137, 2006.

"Continuous Flow PCB Radiolysis with RealTime Assessment by GC", A. Ruhter, R. G. Rodriguez, B. J. Mincher, and R. Brey, Appl. Radiat. Isot., 64(5) 532, 2006.

"PCB Radiolysis in a Continuous Flow Cell," B.J. Mincher, R.G. Rodriguez, R. Brey, and A. Ruhter, in Photocatalytic and Advanced Oxidation Technologies for Treatment of Air, Water, Soil and Surfaces. ISBN 9738746-0-0, David Ollis and Hussain Al-Ekabi, Editors, 2005.

"Effect of Reactant Gas Velocity and Geometry on CARS Monitored Pulsed rf-PPECVD of Silicon Nitride Thin Films," B.J. Phillips, R. Rodriguez, L. Lau, S. Steidley, Plasma Chem. Plasma Proc., Submitted for publication, 2004.

"Effect of Showerhead Pattern on rf-PPECVD of Silicon Nitride Thin Films," B.J. Phillips, L. Lau, R. Rodriguez, S. Steidley, Plasma Chem. Plasma Proc., 24, 307, 2004.

"Increasing PCB Radiolysis Rates in Transformer Oil," B. Mincher, R. Brey, R. Rodriguez, S. Pristupa, A. Ruhter, Rad. Phys. Chem., 65, 461, 2002.

"Coherent Raman Spectroscopic Monitoring of Pulsed Radio Frequency PECVD of Silicon Nitride," B.J. Phillips, S. Steidley, L. Lau, R. Rodriguez, Applied Spectroscopy, 55, 946, 2001.

"Investigation of Irradiated Soil Byproducts," R. Brey, R. Rodriguez, F. Harmon, P. Winston, Waste Management, 21, 581, 2001.

"Post Consumer Plastic Identification Using Raman Spectroscopy," V. Allen, J. Kalivas, R. Rodriguez, Applied Spectroscopy, 53, 672, 1999.

"Photoreduction of Mercuric Chloride Solutions Under High pH," L. Lau, R. Rodriguez, S. Henery, D. Manuel, L. Schwendimann, J. Envir. Sci. & Technology, 32, 670, 1998.

"A Simple Computer-controlled scanning for a Coherent Scattering Spectrometer," D. Warner, R. Rodriguez, F.V. Wells, S. Wood, Rev. Sci. Instr., 67, 3050, 1996.


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