Alessandro Mottura received his MEng degree (first class) in Materials Science and Engineering in 2006, from Imperial College London. He went on to study for a PhD in Metallurgy under the supervision of Professor Mike W Finnis and Professor Roger C Reed, also at Imperial College London. During his PhD, Alessandro Mottura focussed on explaining how rhenium additions affect the creep properties of single-crystal Ni-based superalloys. This work was part of a wider effort to establish a more rigorous path to the design of new alloys, carried out in collaboration with the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the University of Birmingham. Alessandro’s research involved the use of density functional theory (DFT) simulations, atom probe tomography (APT) and extended x-ray absorption fine spectroscopy (EXAFS) to establish and clarify the role of rhenium in these alloys.
After obtaining his PhD, Alessandro joined the group of Professor Tresa M Pollock, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB, Alessandro kept working on using DFT simulations to guide the design of new γ’-strengthened Co-based superalloys. Beside his involvement on the design of new Co-based superalloys, Alessandro also worked on building a new 3-dimensional characterisation tool that utilises a femtosecond laser to ablate material layer by layer, and an electron microscope to image the newly revealed surface at each step. Albeit working in a similar way to FIB-tomography (or serial-sectioning) this technique allows the generation of much larger multi-modal datasets that include both chemical and crystallographic information.