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Science and Mathematics

Physics Colloquium: Systematic manipulation of disorder for extraordinary functionality in materials

February 8, 2022 at 3:30pm5:00pm EST

Virtual (See event details)

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The Department of Physics is pleased to welcome Dr. Varda F. Hagh for a virtual colloquia presentation. Dr. Varda F. Hagh is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago particularly interested in the training of out-of-equilibrium amorphous solids such as glasses, granular media, proteins, and biopolymer networks since they are exceptionally versatile and are able to retain a memory of the changes they undergo.


Much of materials science deals with ordered crystalline or polycrystalline materials that are designed and delicately fabricated to have specific desired properties.  However, disordered materials, such as glasses or granular media, have an untapped potential: they can exist in a multitude of metastable states that are distinguished by their microstructure. While the vast majority of these states have similar (boring!) bulk properties, there are a few rare cases, in the midst of this sea of mediocrity, that have spectacular behavior.  The challenge, of course, is to direct the material to such targeted useful states that would never be discovered by chance alone.  Inspired by biology, we meet this challenge by introducing material training protocols that allow evolution toward those desired states. In these protocols, the possible modes of relaxation are augmented by introducing extra transient degrees of freedom, such as particle radii, that allow an easier pathway to the target. Once that desired state is reached, the additional degrees of freedom are removed.  In this talk, I will explore how different transient degrees of freedom lead to different behaviors such as enhanced stability.  The framework I present provides a systematic approach to create novel materials and metamaterials by using disorder as a core feature of the design.

This is a virtual colloquium. Please contact for the link.

This event was published on January 24, 2022.

Event Details