Understanding how atoms move is fundamental to making and using materials. Atoms on the surface of some glasses move at nearly the same rate as atoms on the inside. But for other glasses, surfaces atoms move a million times faster. Researchers in the Wisconsin MRSEC IRG 1 have combined experiments, simulations, and data-centric methods to understand why some surfaces are so much faster than others. They found that atoms in glasses move by breaking out of a “cage” of nearby atoms. On the surface, that cage can be weaker than inside the glass, allowing for faster motion. They also discovered a relationship that predicts surface motion from more accessible data about bulk motion. Their results unify behavior for glasses of organic molecules, metals, and oxides and make creating glasses for applications like light-emitting diodes, quantum computers, and hard coatings easier.
Glasses have disordered arrangements of atoms without the repeating patterns that crystals have. However, there are small-scale patterns of atoms that touch each other that strongly affect the energy of the glass, how the atoms move when they get hot, and other properties like strength and response to an electric field. Unfortunately, there are many possible patterns and many slight variations of each one, so studying them is like sorting the grains of sand on a beach by size and color by hand–it’s an impossible task. Wisconsin MRSEC IRG 1 uses machine learning to sort the sand. They have developed algorithms to find small-scale atomic patterns in large simulations of glasses and link them to the glass’ energy. Ongoing studies have connected patterns to atomic motions, which provides a path to simulations of glasses over long times and low temperatures that are currently impossible.
A team of researchers from the Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Education Center (MRSEC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has designed, constructed, and implemented a new, highly specialized piece of research equipment that can be used to visualize the real-time formation and growth of tiny crystals of novel materials. The unique perspective provided by this approach provides access to new ways to discover and develop materials relevant to electronics, optics, and magnetic applications.
Materials with a repetitive pattern the same size as the wavelength of a wave can be used to control the wave, causing it to bend, perfectly reflect or transmit, or even turn around corners. Where different patterns meet, even more exotic behavior occurs, including making highways for light or sound that only travel in one direction or where the waves cannot be dissipated. Synthesizing such materials is a major challenge, which Wisconsin MRSEC researchers have met by adapting a family of 3D printing techniques.
The generation and sharing of a large dataset created as part of his study has won Zheng Yu the 2021 Wisconsin MRSEC Excellence in Open Science Prize. A graduate student in Dr. Bu Wang’s lab at the Grainger Institute for Engineering, Yu generated the data as part of his work investigating the relationship between structure and stability in specialized glasses using computer simulations and machine learning.
For more than ten years, the Field Trip Program has brought students and teachers to Madison, Wis., for a day of activity and exploration. But when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered on-campus activity, the Discovery Outreach Team had to get creative. This spring, more than 28 Field Trips will connect students statewide to researchers using an entirely online model. The post Online Field Trips bring science to the state appeared first on Morgridge Institute for Research. Read the full article at: https://morgridge.org/story/online-field-trips-bring-science-to-the-state/
The winners of the Wisconsin MRSEC Educational Video Competition have been announced. There were two videos awarded in this competition. The winner of the Most Engaging Video is “Thin Film Fun” by the Ediger Group. The winner for Most Informative Video is “Determining Distances with Diffraction” by Tesia Janicki.
WMTV in Green County, an NBC affiliate, featured some of MRSEC’s work on its recent news segment, “Schools taking more virtual field trips during COVID-19 pandemic.”
Recent Materials Science and Engineering doctoral graduate, Sachin Muley, was awarded the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL) Award for Communicating PhD Research to the Public. His thesis chapter, “Structure-property correlations in metallic glass and amorphous carbon films,” focuses on one of three themes of his PhD thesis, metallic glasses. Metallic glasses have many important uses today and in the near future as strong smart phone bodies, and as tough, slick coatings.
The Wisconsin MRSEC has shown that molecules inside in a type of topological photonic material called a Weyl crystal can exchange energy over much larger distances. The intricate twisting structure of the material uses light to connect one molecule to others much farther away. Developing photonic Weyl crystals may contribute to more efficient LEDs and solar cells and improve molecular sensors.