Predicting a New Energy Frontier
Researchers at the University of Arkansas will use a $374,621 federal grant to investigate fundamental properties of materials that are considered key to advances in energy generation, storage and conversion.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which commissions advanced research for the U.S. Department of Defense, awarded the grant to an international research team led by Laurent Bellaiche, Distinguished Professor of physics at the U of A.
The researchers will focus on developing, implementing and using predictive computational methods to advance the understanding of ferroelectric and multiferroic perovskite oxides, which are materials that convert one form of energy into another, said Sergei Prokhorenko, a postdoctoral research associate at the U of A and a lead researcher on the team.
Ferroelectric materials convert changes in mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. These changes are known as a piezoelectric response and are used in a wide range of applications that include cell phones and heart implants.
“We will build on our previous works within the general area of study of properties of ferroelectric and multiferroelectric materials, and develop a set of computational strategies that will allow, in conjunction with experimental efforts of our European partners, to test our predictions and refine our analysis,” Bellaiche said.
The simulations will be performed at the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center at the U of A. The research team includes Braham Dkhil at Ecole Centrale Paris and Dawei Wang, a former postdoctoral research associate at the U of A who is now a professor at Jiatong University in China, among others.
Bellaiche holds the Twenty-First Century Endowed Professorship in Optics/Nanoscience/ Science Education in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and conducts research in the U of A’s Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering.