Our group operates in the field of material science. Materials are substances with specific applications such as semiconductors, ionic-conductors, ferroelectrics, or biological functionality. The central paradigm in material science is composition and structure of a material determine its properties (mechanical, chemical, electrical, thermal, optical, and magnetic). A crucial implicit assumption of this paradigm is that the thermal fluctuations of atoms and molecules in the material do not change the average structure significantly. The research activity in our group demonstrates that this assumption fails in many cases. Therefore, we are developing a new approach to understanding and controlling material properties at finite temperatures.
We are an experimental group of engineers, physicists, and chemists dedicated to uncovering the connection between atomic and molecular dynamics and material properties. We combine state-of-the-art optical spectroscopy methods, heat capacity, and electronic transport measurements to demonstrate that thermal fluctuations often profoundly affect the dielectric constant, heat capacity and transport, charge transport, and optical properties of materials. Therefore, mechanistic understating of the motion of atoms and molecules in materials is imperative for designing new materials that usually operate at room or higher temperatures.
The analysis of our experimental data relies on classical models of solid-state physics and first-principle computation (via collaborations). It allows us to uncover mechanisms of atomic/molecular dynamics and derive generalized theories on the behavior of materials at finite temperature.
"The whole point of doing experiments is to get the first crack at figuring out what it really means"
- Louis Brus.
Follow us on Twitter: Follow @YaffeLab