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Research

Our Research Philosophy:

The interesting stuff happens in the middle!

Linking the hierarchical internal structure of materials to properties and processing is the defining concept for materials science and engineering.  Tailoring this structure, across multiple length scales, through controlled processing to reach targeted property and performance objectives is often cited as a “holy grail” of the field.  Defects in materials, including dislocations and internal interfaces, are both ubiquitous and non-uniformly distributed at the nano- to mesoscale. This mesoscale heterogeneity is often the controlling structural feature for a wide range of physical properties. Through advances in characterization, theory, and simulation, the behavior and physics of individual defects and the interactions of small numbers of defects at the atomic or nanoscale is well understood. Additionally, diffraction techniques such as neutron and high-energy X-ray scattering give insight into macroscale volume averaged behavior of defects. However, as recently highlighted by the BES Advisory Committee report on mesoscale science, the understanding of the collective behavior of defects and structural inhomogeneity at the mesoscale remains a significant challenge [1]. The report goes further to state that without new approaches to understand mesoscale structural heterogeneity “translating atomic and nanoscale phenomena into macroscopic materials solutions for society and the economy will be inefficient and slow.”

Mesoscale features Example of mesoscale features in a polycrystalline Ni-based superalloy.

Some of our specific research interests include

 

[1]       G. W. Crabtree and J. L. Sarrao, “Opportunities for mesoscale science,” MRS Bulletin-Materials Research Society, vol. 37, no. 11, p. 1079, 2012.