Eric Lifshin

Eric Lifshin

Eric Lifshin
Professor Emeritus; Adjunct Lecturer


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College of Nanoscale Science + Engineering


  • Ph.D., Materials Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1969

Professional Background

  • Manager, Characterization and Environmental Technology Laboratory, General Electric Corporate Research and Development (1973-99)
  • Staff Scientist, General Electric Corporate Research and Development (1963-73)

Areas of Research

  • Scanning electron microscopy and x-ray microanalysis, diffraction and energy dispersive x-ray detection systems, Monte Carlo modeling of x-ray production
  • Broad range of materials characterization techniques, developing analytical problem solving strategy, analysis of data
  • Laboratory automation, on-line measurement, chemical sensors
  • Combinatorial chemistry for materials development

Research Description

A goal of materials science and much of physics and chemistry is to understand the relationship between the structure, chemistry and properties of materials. Professor Lifshin's research has concentrated on how to determine the structure and composition of diverse material systems. He has concentrated specifically on the use of scanning electron beam instruments coupled with various kinds of detectors for monitoring electron and x-ray signals created by the impact of an electron beam with materials.

Professor Lifshin has worked extensively on the development of scanning electron microscope techniques. He was one of the first people to ever perform x-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microscope and spent a lot of time exploring and describing the use of the technique to the scientific community. This type of microanalysis makes it possible to determine the chemical composition of very small volumes of material from focused electron beam excited x-ray emission spectra.

Most recently, Professor Lifshin has been exploring the factors that determine the limits of spatial resolution of scanning electron microscopes both through experimental measurements and Monte Carlo modeling. He has also been conducting experiments on how to do three dimensional microscopy by using a focused ion beam to serially section materials and generate an image stack that can the be used to create images of the specimen from any point of view. Together with his students, Professor Lifshin is extending this technique to not only include structural imaging from the secondary electron signal, but also chemical and crystallographic imaging based on x-ray and backscattered electron signals generated during the three dimensional imaging.

Selected Research Achievements

  • One of the pioneers in use of the SEM in materials analysis including the first use of solid state x-ray detectors for microanalysis in the SEM and electron microprobe, developed some of the first programs for background removal, peak characterization and composition quantification
  • Developed automation and spectral processing packages for a variety of analytical instruments
  • Managed team developing chemical sensors and doing combinatorial chemistry research; effort resulted in numerous discoveries and patents
  • Co-author or editor of six books on materials characterization and x-ray microbeam analysis

Selected Publications

M. S. Hatzistergos and E. Lifshin
Measurements of relative x-ray line intensity and their application to a single standard procedure for quantitative x-ray microanalysis
Journal of Applied Physics, Vol 100, No. 12, 9 pages, 15 Dec (2006)

Raynald Gauvin, Eric Lifshin, Hendrix Demers, Paula Horny and Helen Cambell
Win X-ray, a New Monte Carlo Program that Computes X-ray Spectra Obtained with a Scanning Electron Microscope
Microscopy and Microanalysis, 12, pp 1-16, (2006)

R. J. Matyi, M. S. Hatzistergos, E. Lifshin
X-ray Reflectometery Analysis of Chromium Films
Thin Solid Films, pp 1-8 (2006)

Eric Lifshin, James Evertsen, Ed Principe and John Friel
Three Dimensional Imaging of Microelectronic Devices Using a Crossbeam FIB
Proceedings from the 30th International Symposium for Testing and Failure Analysis, November 14-18, 2004 Worcester, Massachusetts, pages 429-435

M. Hatzistergos, H. Efstathiadis, J. L. Reeves, V. Selvamanickam, I. P. Allen, E. Lifshin and P. Haldar
Microstructural and Compositional Evolution of YBa2Cu3O7-x Films Grown by MOCVD
Physica C 405 (2004) 179-186

R. Gauvin and E. Lifshin
X-ray Microanalysis of Real Materials using Monte Carlo Simulations
Microchimica Acta, 145, pp. 41-47 (2004)

E. Lifshin and R. Gauvin
Minimizing Errors in Electron Microprobe Analysis
Microscopy and Microanalysis 7, pp. 165-177 (2001)

R. Gauvin, E. Lifshin
On the Peak to Background Ratio of X-rays Emitted From Rough Surfaces
Microscopy and Microanalysis, 6, Suppl 2, pp 920-921 (2000)

E. Lifshin, R. Gauvin
Electron Microprobe Analysis Under Conditions of Non-normal Electron Beam Incidence
Microscopy and Microanalysis, 6, Suppl 2, pp 922-923 (2000)

E. Lifshin, N. Doganaksoy, J. Sirois and R. Gauvin
Statistical Considerations in Microanalysis by Energy-Dispersive Spectrometry
Microscopy and Microanalysis, 4, 598-604 (1999)

E. Lifshin, L.A. Peluso, and R. Gauvin
The Role of Monte Carlo Calculations In Quantitative Analysis
Microscopy and Microanalysis, 4, Suppl 2, pp 232-233(1998)

Co-author with J. I. Goldstein, et. al.
Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Microanalysis
Plenum, New York (2003)

Characterization of Materials Volumes 2A and 2B of Materials Science and Technology
VCH, New York (1992)

Editor with R. W. Cahn
Concise Encyclopedia of Materials Characterization
Pergamon Press, New York (1993)

X-ray Characterization of Materials
Wiley-VCH, New York 1999

Synergistic Activities

Dr. Lifshin is the author of over sixty five papers, holds seven patents and has edited or co-authored six books related to materials characterization and x-ray microanalysis. He is a past president of the National Microbeam Analysis Society and has received a variety of awards. Prior to joining the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering he was a senior laboratory manager at General Electric's Corporate Research and Development Center for over 25 years he led a team of over 75 researchers. He developed "world class" facilities and programs for materials characterization and combinatorial chemistry, and was also responsible for chemical nanosensor development and environmental research.





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