Please join us in congratulating Prof. Erkin Şeker (Electrical and Computer Engineering) in collaboration with Prof. Jeremy Mason (Materials Science and Engineering) receiving a National Science Foundation award, titled "Experimental and Computational Study of Pore Morphology Evolution Mechanisms in Nanoporous Metal Thin Films Under Thermal/Electrical/Mechanical Stress Fields" funded by the Metals and Metallic Nanostructures Program under the Division of Materials Research.
Nanostructured metals have had a tremendous impact on a variety of applications including battery electrodes, biomedical implant coatings, and biosensors. Materials in these conditions are generally subject to various external factors (e.g., temperature, electric, and mechanical stress fields) that can gradually change the material's properties and performance. The purpose of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of these processes using nanoporous gold (np-Au) as a model system. The np-Au belongs to the emerging class of nanoporous metals that have attracted significant interest for its catalytic, optical, mechanical, and biomedical features. The expected outcome is the generation of scientific knowledge that allows for precise control of shape and structure changes in nanoporous metals; this will improve predictions of how material properties evolve and in turn enhance the performance of nanostructured metals in applications. The instrumentation and simulation techniques developed as part of the project will be widely applicable to other material systems as well, including other nanoporous metals and metallic nanowires. The broader impacts of this project include societal benefits and educational opportunities, such as undergraduate research opportunities with the principal investigators and interactive educational tools that teach key concepts of micro-/nano-fabrication and atomistic simulations via interactive computer games.