A dominant traditional theme in materials physics and chemistry has been the synthesis and analysis of the properties of novel crystalline materials in macrosocopic (bulk) form. In the last two decades, a new focus on nanoscale science has emerged, driven by major advances in instrumentation and computational capabilities. However, there is now an increasing recognition (see, for example, the USDOE BESAC 2012 report) of broad new research opportunities at the intermediate scales to devise new complex (heterogeneous, hybrid, hierarchical, self-similar, fractal, etc.) materials with mesoscale architectures on length scales ranging from roughly 10 nanometers to 10 micrometers.
These materials are not simply a bridge between the nano- and macro-worlds, but they promise the emergence of new behavior and functionalities. Research in this area forms the core of the Complex Materials Signature Theme. This focus area is a collaboration of the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Both are nationally highly ranked programs that enjoy a close collaborative relationship with the Ames Laboratory, a DOE national laboratory with a focus on materials research. This relationship provides excellent access to unique research facilities, staff support, and funding opportunities.
About the LAS Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative
To support the growth of collaborative research, we have defined five Signature Themes which outline broad priority areas for research and scholarship in the College. Guided by these five themes, hiring in the college strikes a balance between serving core departmental research and teaching needs and sustaining and growing our international reputation in four selected focus areas through a major interdisciplinary hiring initiative.
In each of the following four areas, we will hire at least 4-6 faculty, over the next 2-3 years. Building on existing strengths, this will allow us to grow internationally competitive groups quickly.
These are exciting opportunities to work with established researchers and superb junior faculty and define the future direction of a major research area.