SMART MATERIALS' ADVANCED RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY (SMART) LABORATORY
Welcome to the SMART Lab at Georgia Tech Our group's research focuses on understanding the processing-structure-property relationships in functional materials. Specifically, we pursue the following research thrusts.
Far-from-Equilibrium Processing Approaches We create new processing approaches for fabrication of micro and nanoscale complex oxide materials, with special focus on enabling technologies for fabrication of micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) and for complete compatibility with CMOS processing for full integration and final miniaturization. These processing approaches are far-from-equilibrium and therefore result not only in substantially microstructure changes but also large variations of the final functional properties of the material. We probe the resulting properties of the materials, specifically targeting the physics of these complex oxides at the mesoscale, through integration of macro and microscopic characterization techniques. Our final goal is to create a processing design space that uniquely correlated with the desired final functional responses.
In-Situ and In-Operando Characterization at the Mesoscale This thrust hinges on design of energy platforms: appropriately created micro and nano-structures to enable in-situ and in-operando characterization at multiple length scales (e.g. force microscopy and electron microscopy, as well as macro-scale characterization techniques), while resulting in enhanced compatibility with mathematical and finite element modeling of the same. The married theoretical and experimental results then allow a unique vision into the electro-chemo-mechanical processes with an unprecedented resolution (from tens of nanometers to few microns) over many of orders of magnitude larger overall length-scales (tens to hundreds of microns).
Fundamental Science of Electromechanically-Active Materials We probe the fundamental science of ferroic materials, as it pertains to the mechanisms of intrinsic and extrinsic contributions to the functional response of these materials. Specifically, we probe the defect-defect interactions between domain walls, point, line and area defects. Additionally, we explore novel mechanisms and new processing approaches for enhanced electromechanical response at the micro and nanoscale (increased or invariant response with decreasing size). Of special interest are radiation effects on the functional response of ferroelectric materials, and understanding of the mesoscale origins of the giant electromechanical response in relaxor-ferroelectric solid solutions, and correlation of the micro- and macro-scopic responses are other areas of interest within this research thrust.