The equilibrium shape of voids or crystals is largely influenced by the total surface energies encompassing these 3D objects. In particular, these voids or surfaces are faceted on low energy surface planes and the relative surface areas of individual facets reflect the surface energies of these planes. Consequently, the surface energies of these facets can be determined by a Wulff plot of these objects as observed in a 2D projection. By determining the Wulff point which is the centre of mass of the object and determining the distances of these surfaces from the Wulff point, the surface energies of different planar facets can be determined in a unique way.
In this project especially suited for Honours or special projects, the goal will be to establish a computer program whereby the Wulff point of an arbitrary shape can be determined and a polar plot of the surface of the shape can be extracted. The computer program will be used to analyse transmission electron microscopy images of nanovoids, crystals and nanowire facets and determine the surface energies of individual facets. These surface energies determined for voids or nanowires grown or formed under different conditions will provide much needed insight in identifying optimum growth conditions for certain structures. There are opportunities to expand this project into a PhD project.