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Dr. Sara C. Barron

Research Interests

Combinatorial synthesis of thin film oxides. Thin film oxides are fabricated with intentional gradients in chemical composition. Coupled with high throughput analytical techniques, these combinatorial libraries enable an efficient survey of material properties across binary and ternary oxide phase space and mitigate uncertainties associated with sample-to-sample variations.

Thermochromic behavior of VO2-based materials. Vanadium dioxide is known to undergo a metal-to-insulator transition at 68 C, accompanied by an abrupt change in infrared reflectivity. If the transition temperature could be tuned to normal ambient temperatures, this thermochromic behavior could be valuable in an energy-saving ‘smart’ coating for building windows.

High-throughput measurements of IR optical properties in oxide thin films. A combinatorial library film is characterized by rapidly making local measurements of properties from many positions (and hence, compositions) across the thin film library.

Simulated thickness distribution across a combinatorial library film and map of the thickness distribution.
Left: Simulated thickness distribution across a combinatorial library film. The modeled film is deposited from three independent sources with deposition profiles centered at points A, B, and C.
Right: Map of the thickness distribution on to the A-B-C ternary composition space. Our interest is to generate similar maps for intrinsic material properties related to thermochromism, such as transition temperatures, VIS/IR transmission, and thermal hysteresis.

Publications Prior to Joining NIST:

S. C. Barron, R. Knepper, N. Walker, T. P. Weihs: “Characterization of self-propagating formation reactions in Ni/Zr multilayered foils using reaction heats, velocities, and temperature-time profiles,” J. Appl. Phys., 109 013519 (2011).

S. C. Barron, M. M. Noginov, D. Werder, L. F. Schneemeyer, R. B. van Dover: “Dielectric response of tantalum oxide subject to induced ion bombardment during oblique sputter deposition,” J. Appl. Phys., 106 104110 (2009).

Sara Barron


NIST-ARRA Postdoctoral Associate
Ceramics Division
Functional Properties Group


Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Phone: 301-975-6976
Fax: 301-975-5334