What is combinatorial materials science?
The goal of combinatorial materials science is high-throughput, high quality data generation to facilitate rapid materials discovery, optimization, development, and commercialization. There are three essential steps:
- Make it. Synthesis of combinatorial thin film library in which the elemental composition varies continuously and predictably across the library sample.
- Measure it. Rapid, local measurements of the properties of interest.
- Inform and Iterate. Robust data handling and analysis techniques to convert experimental data into knowledge. This can be for design of the next experiment, as well as informing computational models.
What is it good for?
Applications-driven. We are exclusively interested in materials for which there is an industrial or government-agency need and application.
Model validation. Computer simulations of important advanced materials benefit from experimental input and validation, such as the self-consistent, high density datasets generated by combinatorial methods.
What are some example problems?
We are interested in materials for energy applications, as well as facilitating industrial process development.
Thermoelectrics. Thermoelectric phenomena enable the solid-state inter-conversion of thermal and electrical energy. Materials that efficiently convert heat into useful energy are desirable for
Materials for thermochromic smart windows that automatically darken on hot days. Vanadium dioxide (VO2) undergoes a thermochromic phase transition from a transparent state (low temperature) to a reflective state (high temperature); the transition temperature is in the range of 10ºC to 70ºC, depending on substitutional impurities such as tungsten.
Thin film 'working' phase diagrams. Thin films are