Dr. Nicole Benedek: Bridging Materials Science, Solid-state Chemistry and Condensed Matter Physics

A High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy image of a BaTiO3 /SrTiO3 superlattice grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy [Schlom, et al. J. Am. Cer. Soc. 91 2429 (2008)]. J. Heber, Nature 459 28 (2009)

Assistant Professor Nicole Benedek of the Mechnical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin, is working on bridging materials science, solid-state chemistry and condensed matter physics. Dr. Benedek’s group uses first-principles theoretical techniques, in combination with symmetry principles, to try to understand why materials have the structures that they have, how the structure of a material gives rise to its properties and how structure-property relationships can be exploited to create new functional materials with enhanced properties, with a particular emphasis on complex oxides and their interfaces. The ‘materials-by-design’ paradigm has been used with spectacular success to create new functional oxides with novel electronic and magnetic properties.

Dr. Benedek’s  group is taking this approach in several new directions: for example, establishing design rules for improved ionic transport in oxide energy materials and relating the structure, chemistry and physical properties of non-perovskite oxide interfaces to their bulk constituents.

For more information on Dr. Benedek’s research, please see her research web site.