Materials Science & Condensed Matter Physics

Materials Science & Condensed Matter Physics

Participating Faculty: Richard Christensen, Francois Gygi, Niels Gronbech Jensen,Denise Krol, Greg Miller, Atul Parikh

Materials Science involves the study of the structure and properties of materials, the synthesis of new types of materials, and the processing of materials to tailor their properties for specific uses. Materials are of great importance to nearly every imaginable industry – the automotive, aerospace, chemical, computer, communications and biomedical industries to name a few. The performance of a material in any given application is related to its mechanical, physical, electrical and/or optical properties. These properties are determined by the composition and structure of the material and the conditions under which the material is processed. For example, in the telecommunications industry new optical materials have been developed that can be used to generate, transmit or detect light. The ability to effectively incorporate these materials in a telecommunications system has required novel synthesis and processing techniques

In the Department of Applied Science faculty in materials science and condensed matter physics are involved with research on a wide range of materials, from structural materials and complex fluids to optical and electronic materials. The faculty also have research projects in the exciting new areas of nanomaterials and biomaterials. Several faculty members in materials science and condensed matter physics have overlapping research projects with the department’s computational science and engineering research. For example both areas pursue materials modeling of shock physics and continuum mechanics, atomic scale properties and materials chemistry, and soft materials, for example. This overlap allows the opportunity for collaboration and further exploration.

Projects in biomaterials involve the design of new materials and devices inspired by biology. Faculty members exploit biosynthetic tools of self-organization and self-assembly to design novel materials for advanced technologies and biotechnologies.

Projects in nanomaterials involve exploring the design and use of nanoparticles, nanotubes, and quantum-dot materials for conventional and non-conventional applications in sensing and detection technologies.

Research on optical materials focuses on the development and characterization of new laser and nonlinear optical waveguide materials that have applications in telecommunications and medical technology.

All the projects above involve concerted applications and development of new approaches for computational materials science using molecular simulation, multiscale modeling, and other applicable statistical-mechanical and quantum-mechanical approaches.

Departmental faculty in this area have strong partnerships with other research groups at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, allowing for unique and exciting research opportunities for students.

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