Lin Lin, an assistant professor of mathematics, and Eric Neuscamman, an assistant professor of chemistry, have received 2017 Early Career Research Program awards from the Department of Energy to further their work on new materials.
Lin, who joined UC Berkeley’s math department in 2014 and is a faculty scientist in the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will use his award to tackle a big challenge for scientists trying to computationally simulate the properties of materials: bridging the gap between materials’ nanoscale properties, which are described by quantum mechanics, and the macroscopic properties described by classical physics.
The area of “mesoscale” science in which Lin works has implications for a number of areas of materials science, such as understanding material defects, battery degradation and crack propagation.
“In many important areas of research — such as defect structure and evolution, coupled chemical reactions and pathways, transport properties, non-equilibrium structures and assembly of hierarchical functional materials — the properties and functionalities that are critical to macroscopic behavior start to manifest themselves at the mesoscale,” said Lin.
He hopes to develop new numerical methods and other mathematical tools to accurately capture mesoscale phenomena in multiscale simulations.
Neuscamman, who joined the College of Chemistry in 2015, derives and implements new theoretical models and related algorithms for the electronic structure of molecules and materials. He plans to combine theoretical chemistry and the mathematics of random processes to design high‐fidelity models for electron transfer that can be used on DOE’s high performance computers.
“Processes that move electrons between molecules play crucial roles in battery technology, light harvesting, liquid fuels production and many other high‐priority areas of energy science,” he wrote in his application for the award.
Now in its eighth year, the award supports exceptional researchers during critical stages of their formative work by funding their research for five years.