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Research

Functional materials

actuator_energy_harvester

We engineer microstructures in ferroelectric materials to develop novel nanoscale device concepts, such as actuators and energy harvesters.

Functional materials are characterized by their native properties and functions of their own, such as ferroelectricity, magnetism and light-interactive properties. These materials show a large response to small stimuli and are used in sensors, actuators, memory devices and energy harvesters. We develop multi-physics models to computationally engineer material microstructures that can drastically enhance material performance. For example, in our past projects we uses phase-field methods to engineer ferroelectric actuators with enhanced displacements, energy harvesters with increased reversibility, and memory elements with superior storage density.

Energy storage materials

Electrode_nanoparticle

We engineer both material microstructure and material crystallography to enhance battery lifespans.

Batteries are now used in very high volumes of everyday applications such as powering mobile phones, laptops and other portable electronic devices. These batteries are promising candidates for sustainable energy storage, although their use in high energy density applications, like powering electric vehicles, is still a challenge. A key limitation of the battery performance is the structural instability of battery materials with continuous usage and increased energy density requirements. Our central aim is to crystallographically and microstructurally engineer battery materials, such as electrodes, solid-electrolytes, in order to enhance energy storage capacity and lifespan. In our group, we use martensite crystallographic theory and phase-field methods, to design a new generation of battery electrodes—which offers minimum volume changes, enhanced conductivity and longer lifespans.

Material modeling

material_models

We develop mathematical models, across multiple length scales, to understand fundamental material behavior.

In our group, we develop mathematical models, across multiple length scales, to understand fundamental material behaviour. Specifically, we are interested in developing theoretical and computational tools that predict material response to various loading conditions in phase transformation materials. These theoretical tools will guide in the discovery of materials with enhanced capabilities, and provide a systematic methodology to engineer materials from a bottom-up approach. Methods of interest to our group include, phase-field models, cohesive-zone models, molecular dynamics, and phase-field crystal models.