This Materials World Network (MWN) award supports a joint research project between Rutgers University (RU) and French counterparts in Ecole Polytechnique (EP) and at Centre de Saclay (CEA) to build a 'Lab without walls' for predictive understanding of correlated electron materials. These are materials, in which the effects of electron interactions are unusually strong, and as a consequence they exhibit a range of new and exciting behavior; their remarkable properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance, anomalous thermoelectricity, and ultrafast optical nonlinearities, continue to surprise the condensed matter and materials community. The electronic structure of these materials is not well described by the standard models of solid state physics. This award will strengthen the existing collaboration between RU, EP and CEA by building a cyber-lab to advance the frontiers of our understanding of correlated materials using new computational tools based on Dynamical Mean Field Theory. The goal of the proposed research is to harness the unique functionalities of correlated electron materials to demonstrate the premise that material design using these materials is possible, thus getting closer to the practical design of materials with useful features. Two test projects will be pursued, the design of pigments with yellow and blue color based on rare earth oxides, fluorides and sulfides such as Ce2O3 and the optimization of the thermoelectric figure of merit in a the class of marcasite transition metals pnictides such as FeSb2. The first project would help understand the optical properties of coloring pigments that are environmentally-responsible and the second project relates to energy conversion potential of an interesting materials system. Success in rational material design using strongly correlated materials will have significant implications. Classes of natural and artificial compounds with desirable properties will be identified using theory and computation which would help improve currently employed trial and error procedures that are expensive and time consuming. The concepts and computational tools generated by this international lab without walls will be disseminated widely (workshops, web-access to database etc.) so as to have great impact in the future search for better materials within the class of correlated electron systems, speeding up material discovery in general. In parallel with the research efforts, this project will develop new pedagogical tools for visualizing unique properties of these materials, and for conceptualizing and teaching the theory behind their extraordinary functionality. This project includes training of a postdoctoral researcher as well as graduate and undergraduate students by fully involving them in the international research and education experience of developing computational tools for designing new materials with useful physical properties. This Materials World Network project called 'Lab without walls' will, thus, integrate research and education efforts on correlated electron materials from different segments of the world community. This award is jointly funded by the Division of Materials Research in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate and the Office of International Science and Engineering.
|Effective start/end date||8/15/08 → 7/31/12|
- National Science Foundation (NSF)