Research / Research AreasMaterials Science
The interests of the department are in the dynamics of both hard (crystalline) and soft materials and the instabilities that occur, which change patterns and transport of heat and mass.
Examples of research topics on crystalline materials include:
- The behavior of hard-materials involving instabilities of thin films on substrates due to elastic stresses coarsening into a sparse set of mounds called quantum dots with planned use as digital elements in new computers
- The growth of nanowires of semiconductors used for producing super-hydrophobic surfaces
- The growth and instability of mushy zones, a composite region of dendrites and liquid that can lead to the growth of chimneys that create defects in solidification samples
An example of soft materials includes the study of polymers that can form as a travelling front in a monomer field. The frontal speed has to be determined as a function of the material parameters. The front can become unstable, leading to the formation of fingers that make the polymerization non-uniform.