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Directed Nanoscale Transformations

Directed Nanoscale Transformations

Seeks to illuminate the basic scientific questions of how matter can be transformed locally and will thus enable novel nanofabrication approaches.

The overarching goal of the Directed Nanoscale Transformation theme is to understand and control the dynamic changes of chemical and structural states that materials undergo in confined and non-equilibrium conditions from the atomic to mesoscale. To achieve this goal, we will pursue the following specific aims focusing on the interplay of matter and energy that govern transformations:

Aim 1 - Understanding Energy Transfer. The interaction between an energetic electron/ion beam or scanning probe tip can induce highly localized transformations in materials by altering bonds at the atomic and molecular level. In this aim, we will use state-of-the-art computational approaches, complemented by in situ experiments, to elucidate energy transfer interactions under relativistic conditions, knowledge of which will provide feedback into Aims 2-3. 

Aim 2 - Understanding the Energy Landscape. To controllably induce reactions, for the purpose of creating complex structures with desired functional properties, necessitates an understanding of how the energy landscape parameters can be locally and globally tuned. In this aim, we will develop advanced experimental platforms with feedback to guide the directed fabrication and atomic manipulation of functional 1D-3D nanostructures from the single atom level and up.

Aim 3 - Interpreting Energy Flow. Directing transformations and developing the means to control it depends upon our understanding of how atomic configurations and their associated energy flows under equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions, taking into consideration the underlying physics associated with each reaction pathway.

To extract physical and chemical information from these interactions, deep learning and artificial intelligence methods will be developed to explore the underlying transformation mechanisms and kinetics. The foundational understanding of directed transformations gained will allow us to controllably direct matter to create novel 1D-3D nanoscale structures with desired form and function, thus addressing a major goal of nanoscience while allowing us to address fundamental aspects of energy materials and quantum materials.