Multifunctional and 2-D Materials

This thrust aims at investigating the science and engineering of multifunctional and non-traditional 2-D materials and exploiting their unique thermal, mechanical and electrical properties for a broad market segment ranging from transportation through consumer products to the electronic industry.

Science and Engineering of Graphene Coatings and Foams

VTIREF has an active research program on Graphene and Graphene derivatives for exploiting their unique thermal, mechanical and electrical properties for a broad market segment, ranging from transportation through consumer products to electronic industry. Our newly-established Graphene Laboratory at VTIREF has the capability of the synthesis and characterization of Graphene oxide and reduced Graphene oxide and a user-friendly process for the coating of Graphene and Graphene oxide on various substrates. Our future plans are centered on the following projects:

Graphene foams and Graphene-based thermal grease for superior thermal management:
We will develop a process for growing Graphene foams directly onto the back of a silicon wafer which would hold phase-change materials. This novel approach is expected to provide several orders of magnitude improvement in thermal management of electronics systems. A companion project will involve developing Graphene based thermal greases for reduced thermal interface resistance.

Phase change heat transfer from surfaces modified by Graphene and its derivatives:
Graphene is known to be hydrophobic and can serve as an excellent material for promoting drop-wise condensation which has orders of magnitude better heat transfer than film-wise condensation. Graphene oxide, on the other hand, is hydrophilic. A comprehensive understanding of the condensation heat transfer from surfaces modified by patterned coatings of Graphene and Graphene oxide should pave the way for the design of superior thermal performance heat exchangers. Another potential application is the generation of multi-layered super-hydrophobic surfaces for robust water repellency and reduced drag.

In parallel, we will study pool boiling heat transfer from Graphene and Graphene oxide-coated surfaces in Fluorinert fluids to ascertain whether these coatings can serve to enhance the critical heat flux, and reduce the hysteresis effect commonly associated with such fluids. The results will have strong implications for electronic cooling applications.

Advanced Multifunctional Materials

At VTIREF, we explore the interface between Physics and Material Science to innovate in the critical field of Advanced multi-functional materials. Our research on multi-functional materials such as ferroelectrics, piezoelectrics and multiferroics is driven by numerous long-term technological applications such as state- of- the- art sensors, nonvolatile memories and spintronic devices.

A major slice of our efforts emphasizes on exploring the fundamental science of these materials to gain deeper understanding about structure – property relationships, which consequtively can bring about a momentous shift in the research and applications of these materials. To be precise, this research broadly strives to establish the corelation between crystallography, crystallographic anisotropy, domains and domain dynamics on electro-mechanical behavior of ferroelectrics, piezoelectrics and multiferroics. We also utilize the characterization techniques like electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) to investigate the presence of ionic defects, their mutual interaction and subsequent consequences on the functional behavior of these materials.

Another facet of our research focuses on gradual advancement of the functional behavior of few technologically vital multi-functional materials for device applications. To this end, we will deploy scientific methods and processing techniques to engineer some of the key functional properties of materials such as sodium potassium niobate, bismuth ferrite and other lead based perovskites.

Considering the exciting prospects for semiconducting oxides at nanoscale, we are also devoting some of our efforts on synthesis of size-controlled nanoparticles and their characterization for a variety of applications.