Condensed Matter Theory: Nanostructured Systems Outside of Equilibrium

Nanostructured Systems Outside of Equilibrium

Professor Zhi-Feng Huang

Our research aims to theoretically model and understand the nonequilibrium, nonlinear phenomena in complex dynamical systems. We focus on the nanopattern self assembly in both "soft" and "solid" complex materials, as well as the evolution of complex spatial structures involving elastic and plastic deformations and topological defects. Typical systems include: (i) strained solid films, such as semiconductor heterostructures and defected alloy systems; (ii) self-assembling block copolymer thin films, showing nanostructured but defected nature; and (iii) pattern-forming systems far from equilibrium, such as the nonrelaxational dynamics in Rayleigh-Bénard convection and the emergence of spiral defect chaos.

Most of our efforts are based on an efficient multiple-scale framework that is being developed for modeling the above nonequilibrium systems. This involves different levels of approaches and analysis that incorporate standard continuum theory and detailed configurations of defects, nanophases, or crystalline structures. Examples include the phase field crystal (PFC) modeling, "slow"-scale amplitude equation formalism, mesoscopic-level coarse-grained modeling, and continuum/hydrodynamic approaches.

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This research is supported by the National Science Foundation.