Upmanyu Awarded $320K Grant


This award supports theoretical and computational research and educational activities centered on improving our fundamental understanding of the synthesis of technologically relevant materials that have some of their spatial dimensions confined to very small length scales. A primary focus will be semiconducting "nanowires", which are extended along one direction and have cross-sectional diameters of the order of up to several "nanometers", where a nanometer is one billionth the size of a meter. Such nanowires are of significant technological interest for next-generation electronic devices, energy systems, as well as systems that integrate electronic and mechanical functionality at the nanometer length scale. In spite of detailed experimental observations, the mechanisms that govern the formation of nanowires including size, shape, growth orientation and composition remain poorly understood. Since the realization of almost all of the envisioned applications of nanowires relies on high-yield nanowire synthesis with controlled structure and composition, a detailed theoretical understanding of the growth process at a fundamental level is urgently needed. In this research program, the PIs will combine various state-of-the-art computational approaches on the atomistic and continuum scales to elucidate basic mechanisms of nanowire formation. The insight gained from this multi-physics approach is expected to apply to a broad set of technologically relevant elemental and compound materials at the nanoscale.

The research component will be integrated into educational and outreach activities that include i) the summer research discovery program and research internships made available through an NSF-funded interdisciplinary program to promote interest in Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and the sciences among college and high-school students, ii) participation and mentorship within the Materials Research Society chapter at Northeastern University, iii) the development of nanoscale-relevant curricula, iv) design of two capstone projects on nanowire growth and mechanics, v) participation in outreach at local schools and museums in the Boston area and through the Society for Women Engineers at Northeastern University, and vi) integration of related computational efforts within the region via the formation of a New England Network on Computational Sciences.

Related Faculty: Moneesh Upmanyu

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering