This thesis is the result of my time I spent at the University of Cincinnati. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to attend this institution and am very thankful for all the support I received.
First and foremost, I would like to thank Mark Jarrell for his guidance, support and seemingly never ending enthusiasm.
Thank you to Thomas Pruschke who enabled my visit at the Universität Augsburg. I am indebted to him for his hospitality and guidance. At the same time I'm grateful to Stephan Kehrein and his outstanding dedication and ability to mentor. These two individuals made my visit to Germany most memorable.
Many thanks to Thomas Maier who was willing to supervise me during my time at ORNL. His constant willingness to deal with me may for ever remain a mystery.
To Julie Dorsey-Spitz, my dearest of all friends who always condoned my slacking-off and made sure I'd have something to smile about.
Last, but certainly not forgotten is my appreciation for my dear wife and all she has endured and the support she has given me.