Ph.D. in Materials Engineering
PhD in Engineering, with specialization in Materials Engineering
TARGET DATES FOR FULL FINANCIAL CONSIDERATION:
Fall: February 15
Spring: October 15
Summer: February 15
OTHERWISE Rolling admissions
Required by the Office of Graduate Studies:
Online Application for Graduate Admission
$50 non-refundable application processing fee
One set of transcripts uploaded into MyRed
If your native language is not English: verification of English proficiency
If you are not a US citizen and you expect to hold an F or J visa: financial resource information
Entrance exam(s): GRE (international applicants only)
Minimum TOEFL: Paper-550 Computer-213 Internet-79
Statement of degree goals, career aims, and research areas of interest
Three letters of recommendation
Use GAMES for online submission of materials
Areas of Study
Experimental and computational aspects of materials synthesis, processing, characterization, and simulation. Engineering of nanomaterials, coatings, fibers, and novel materials, and of devices enabled by these materials.
Materials engineering involves investigation and application of the fundamental physics, chemistry and engineering of materials in order to create, develop, and use materials with superior and new properties for manufacturing processes and engineering design. The discovery, research, development, and applications of materials are major reasons behind the adoption, widespread availability, cost reduction, innovations, and improvements in medical, transportation, communications, security, home, and entertainment technologies, and much more.
At UNL, students and faculty from four departments (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering) work individually and in collaboration in the interdepartmental Materials Engineering doctoral area of specialization.
The objectives in the Materials Engineering specialization are:
- To involve students in research and creative activity in new aspects and applications of materials engineering
- To prepare students for careers in the research, development, and applications of new and advanced materials
- To provide students with a foundation for work in industry, commerce, and national and corporate laboratories, and in academia
For instruction and research, students have access to many experimental and computational research laboratories and facilities in the departments and labs of the faculty listed below and in the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience
Our research interests are focusing on Interface Engineering: Improve Mechanical Properties and Irradiation Tolerance of Materials by Tailoring Interfaces in Solids.
This is realized from two aspects:
- Discover unusual mechanical behavior (e.g., high strength and good ductility) of nanostructured composites and Develop theory and fundamental understanding of unusual mechanical behavior.
- Transform fundamental understanding of structural characters and deformation physics of nanostructured composites into a mesoscale capability of discovering, predicting, and designing superior nanostructured materials (strength, ductility, toughness, and radiation).
This is a multiscale effort involving synthesis, characterization, measurement, theory and modeling at different scales to design materials with desired properties. Theory and modeling at atomic scale employ Density function theory, Molecular Dynamics methods, Crystallography and Defect theory while experiments at atomic scale use transmission electron transmission microscopy to perform in situ/ex situ characterization and measurement. Theory and modeling at micro/meso/macro scales are focusing on developing physics-based predictive materials modeling tools (Interface Dislocation Dynamics and Crystal Plasticity theory that incorporate interface physics), while experiments at micro/meso/macro scales use SEM, TEM and EBSD etc. to observe and identify deformation mechanisms and texture evolution of nanostructured materials.
- Computational chemistry and materials science
- Electronic structure, electron/ion transport, surface chemistry
Linear and nonlinear plasmonics and nanophotonics, metamaterials and their applications, antenna design, transformation electromagnetics, photonics, active, tunable and reconfigurable metadevices, acoustic/thermal metamaterials, microwave/mm-wave/THz engineering, novel optical interconnects, thermal emission from plasmonic structures, graphene nanophotonics, novel energy harvesting devices and computational electromagnetics.
- Damage and fracture with peridynamics
- Modeling of corrosion damage and stress corrosion cracking
- Damage in heterogeneous materials (fiber-reinforced composites, polycrystalline ceramics, etc.)
- Dynamics of Granular Materials
- Optimization of material composition and optimal shape design
- Nuclear nonproliferation and counter proliferation
- Nuclear detection and nuclear forensics
- Nuclear security and reducing nuclear threats
- Materials for extreme environments: oxide-dispersion-strengthened (ODS) alloys, structural ceramics, MAX phases.
- Laser processing: laser shock processing, laser welding, laser sintering
- Corrosion: stress corrosion cracking, hydrogen embrittlement, high-temperature corrosion
- Irradiation damage: irradiation defects, irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking
- Pulse electric current sintering
- Microstructural characterizations: electron microscopy, in-situ TEM (deformation, irradiation, heating), focused ion beam
- Advanced nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing
- Experimental and theoretical analysis of electrospinning process
- Continuous polymer, carbon, and ceramic nanofibers
- Hierarchical materials and composites
- Damage and fracture mechanics
- Fatigue analysis and life prediction
- Multiscale NDE
- Cardiovascular biomechanics and tissue mechanics
- The Role of Fracture Surface Topography and Friction in Dynamic Response of Armor Ceramics (DEPSCoR/ARO project)
- Polycrystal Modeling of Ceramics Subjected to High Strain Rates and Pressures (DEPSCoR/ARO project)
- Multiscale Treatment of Solid-Fluid Interfaces: Development of Hybrid Monte Carlo and Finite Element Code (NFS ITR project)
- Manufacturing of Novel Continuous Nanocrystalline Ceramic Nanofibers with Superior Mechanical Properties (NSF NIRT project)
- Processing and flow-induced crystallization of polymers
- Conjugated polymers
- Hierarchical structures and self-assembly
- Thin Film Deposition
- Ion beam processing
- Chiral materials and Hybrids
- Material characterization
- Organic Electronic Materials and Devices
- Nanoelectronic Material and Devices
- Hybrid Perovskite Materials and Devices
- Ferroelectric Materials
- Solar Energy Conversion
- Weak Light Sensing'
- Radiation Detection
- Thin Film Deposition including sputtering and PECVD
- High Density Plasma Processing
- Nanoscale processing
- In-situ optical process monitroing
Our group aims to:
- Regulate cell function and fate via applying biomaterial cues (chemical and topographical micro/nanopatterning, surface energy tuning) and mechanical signals (fluid flow-induced shear stress, stretch, impulsive pressurization) and through co-regulatory effects from biomaterial and mechanical signals.
- Integrate molecular engineering (RNA interference or overexpression) of key signaling molecules, e.g., FAK, ROCK, cadherin, and NF-κB, to reveal the role of focal adhesion, cytoskeletal tension, cell-cell interaction, and immune response in cells sensing and responding to biomaterials and mechanical signals.
The crosstalk between extracellular milieus and cell signaling cascades in cell-biomaterial interaction and mechanotransduction revealed through our study will provide high impact mechanistic data for biomaterials science, mechanobiology, and regenerative medicine.
See publications and more at the Biomaterials and Mechanotransduction Lab
- Carbon materials: diamond, carbon nanotubes, carbon nano-onions, graphene, etc.
- Optical spectroscopy and imaging: Confocal Raman spectroscopy and imaging, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, coherent anti-Stocks Raman spectroscopy and imaging
- Nanoscale laser material processing and characterization
- Laser-assisted nanoimprinting
- 2D and 3D nanomanufacturing employing scanning probe microscope
- Surface cleaning and drying
- Laser-assisted materials synthesis and processing
- Molecular Level Surface Drying for Nanoelectronics
- Controlled growth of carbon nanostructures, including carbon nanotubes (CNT), graphene, and carbon nanoonions (CNOs)
- Nano-Raman spectroscopy
- Two photon polymerization for 3D nanofabrication
- Pulsed laser deposition
- Laser-assisted chemical vapor deposition
- Materials for extreme nuclear environments
- irradiation induced phase transformations
- ion irradiation and plasma modification of materials
- synthesis and properties of high strength nanolayered composites
- Micro/Nano systems energy conversion, storage and power generation
- Two-phase heat transfer in Micro and Nano domains
- Micro- & NanoThermoMechanical Systems
- Microfluidics & Functional nanofluids
- BioMEMS & Bioheat transfer
- Surface & Interface Science
- Micro / Nanostructures fabrication
- Interfacial phenomena
- Challenges at Water-Energy-Food-Environment Nexus
- Membrane-based separation processes
- Vacuum processing and deposition
- Bio-inspired materials
- Electrochemical and photoelectrochemical systems
Fluid mechanics, Turbulence, Complex fluids, Electrokinetics, Microscale transport, Mathematical modeling, Scientific computing
- Experimental and computational biomechanics
- Cell and tissue engineering
- Medical devices
- Cardiovascular medicine, ophthalmology, fibrosis, diabetes, and cancer
- Modeling and Analysis of Manufacturing Processes
- Systems Sensing and Control of Traditional and Nontraditional macro, micro and nano Manufacturing Processes
- Electronic Skin
- Electronics on Bacterium
- DNA and Protein Chip
- Dance of Ions at the Electrode
- Nanomaterials on DNA and Polymer Scaffold
- Optical Hall-effect in semiconductors
- Interface polarization coupling
- Form-induced optical anisotropy in nanostructure materials
- Ellipsometric instrumentation development
- New chemical, biochemical and biological sensing and separation principles
- Medical device manufacturing
- Additive manufacturing
- Laser-based manufacturing
- Process sustainability and energy consumption
- Surface integrity
- Fatigue and corrosion
- Biodegradable metals
- Finite element analysis of manufacturing processes
- General area of microstructural development in materials during processing
- Formation of nanostructured materials
- Development of nanoscale structures for functional devices
- Developing novel nanomagnetic materials for high-energy permanent magnets
- Materials characterization, notably electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction
- Ultrasound Medicine and Biology
- Protein Engineering and Design
- In-situ, variable temperature transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies of properties of nanoscale objects – alloy phase diagrams, solute solubility, phase transformations: melting and crystallization, oxidation, solid state reactions such as silicidation.
- Real -time TEM observations of processes in liquid environments: assembly of nanoparticles in colloids and solutions, growth processes - formation of core-shell nanoparticles & complex nanostructures, galvanic replacement reactions, protein self-assemblies, etc.
- Mechanisms of epitaxial growth and nanostructure formation. Self-assembly, self-organization of nanowires, core-shell semiconductor-graphene and metal-graphene nanoparticles and nanowires, nanostructured materials.
- 2-D materials: graphene, h-BN, metal dichalcogenides, heterostructures: epitaxy on transition metals, growth mechanism, band structure, transport properties.
- 2D Materials: Graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, metal dichalcogenides, heterostructures: fundamental growth mechanisms, scalable synthesis; physical & chemical properties, defect chemistry & functionalization; electronic structure, optoelectronic properties, charge transport; devices for electronics, energy applications, sensing.
- Nanomaterials: Semiconductor nanowires & nanowire heterostructures; nanoscale heterostructures (in-plane structures & vertical stacks) of 2D materials; hierarchical metamaterials architectures assembled from atomically precise components.
- Energy conversion & energy efficiency: Energy harvesting & photovoltaics, greenhouse gas capture.
- Advanced methods development: In-situ and microscopy & spectroscopy, low-energy & photoelectron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy & spectroscopy, closed-cell approaches for microscopy & spectroscopy at elevated gas pressures and in liquids.
- Crystallization, Self-assembly, and Material Design
- Mechanics of Nanomaterials and Nanostructures
- Experimental ultrasonics: nondestructive evaluation, materials characterization
- Nanoindentation: quasi-static, nanoDMA, novel measurement technique development
- Atomic force microscopy: contact resonance AFM, AFM beam dynamics, viscoelastic characterization
- Elastic wave propagation: complex media, anisotropic media, scattering, radiative transfer, diffusion
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