Robert Suter-Dept of Physics - Carnegie Mellon University

Robert Suter

Professor, Physics

Office: Wean Hall 6406
Phone: 412-268-2982, -8367
Fax: 412-681-0648


Ph.D., Clark University


In collaboration with scientists at Sector 1 of the Advanced Photon Source synchrotron, we are developing a high energy x-ray diffraction microscope (HEDM). This new type of microscope allows for non-destructive mapping of internal microstructure components (crystalline grains and defect fields) in three dimensions inside polycrystalline and even polyphase materials. Being non-destructive, the technique makes it possible to watch the response of microstructures to thermal and/or mechanical treatment well away from the influence of surfaces. A wide range of applications are possible, including questions of basic science (grain growth or phase transformation dynamics) and of industrial interest (fatigue and cracking phenomena).

Both the measurements and the reconstruction of microstructures are challenging. My group at CMU has developed advanced computational techniques and software for generating the microscope output through analysis of hundreds of detector images of diffraction patterns. Computations are performed at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and on a dedicated cluster in the Physics Department. Interpretation of obtained three dimensional data sets is aided by interaction with other particiapants in the CMU Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

In addition to the above, I run the Physics Department's x-ray scattering laboratory where measurements are carried out on a wide variety of materials systems including  thin solid and fluid films and biologically relevant lipid membranes.

Selected Publications

  • S. F. Li, R. M. Suter, Adaptive reconstruction method for three-dimensional orientation imaging, J Appl Cryst 46, 512 (2013)
  • S. F. Li, J. Lind, C. M. Hefferan, R. Pokharel, U. Lienert, A. D. Rollett, R. M. Suter, Three-dimensional plastic response in polycrystalline copper via near-field high-energy X-ray diffraction microscopy , Journal of Applied Crystallography 45, 1098 (2012)
  • Christopher M. Hefferan, Jonathan Lind, Shiu Fai Li, Ulrich Lienert, Anthony D. Rollett, Robert M. Suter, Observation of recovery and recrystallization in high-purity aluminum measured with forward modeling analysis of high-energy diffraction microscopy, Acta Materialia 60, 4311 (2012)
  • Matthew P. Miller, Robert M. Suter, Ulrich Lienert, Armand J. Beaudoin, Ernest Fontes, Jonathan Almer, Jay C. Schuren, High-energy Needs and Capabilities to Study Multiscale Phenomena in Crystalline Materials, Synchrotron Radiation News 25, 18 (2012)
  • C. M. Hefferan, S. F. Li, J. Lind, R. M. Suter, Tests of microstructure reconstruction by forward modeling of high energy X-ray diffraction microscopy data, Powder Diffraction 25, 132 (2010)
  • R. M. Suter, C. M. Hefferan, S. F. Li, D. Hennessy, C. Xiao, U. Lienert, B. Tieman, Probing Microstructure Dynamics With X-Ray Diffraction Microscopy, Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology 130, 021007 (2008)
  • R. M. Suter, D. Hennessy, C. Xiao, U. Lienert, Forward modeling method for microstructure reconstruction using x-ray diffraction microscopy: Single-crystal verification, Review of Scientific Instruments 77, 123905 (2006)
  • E. M. Lauridsen, S. Schmidt, R. M. Suter, H. F. Poulsen, Tracking: a method for structural characterization of grains in powders or polycrystals, Journal of Applied Crystallography 34, 744 (2001)
  • H. F. Poulsen, S. F. Nielsen, E. M. Lauridsen, S. Schmidt, R. M. Suter, U. Lienert, L. Margulies, T. Lorentzen, D. Juul Jensen, Three-dimensional maps of grain boundaries and the stress state of individual grains in polycrystals and powders, Journal of Applied Crystallography 34, 751 (2001)
  • Ralf Heilmann, Robert Suter, In situ specular and diffuse x-ray reflectivity study of growth dynamics in quench-condensed xenon films, Physical Review B 59, 3075 (1999)
  • R. Hainsey, R. Gangwar, J. Shindler, R. Suter, Reentrant disordered phase in two-layer films of Kr on graphite, Physical Review B 44, 3365 (1991)