Arranging Atoms: Relating Crystal Structure to Dielectric and Piezoelectric Response

Summer 2016

David Mrdjenovich : Materials Science and Engineering

Mentor: Kristin Persson

Throughout human history, advances in materials science have heralded new periods of technological advancement, from the stone to the modern silicon age. By harnessing newfound computational power, it is now possible to design materials on the atomic scale and accurately predict their properties, based solely on the knowledge of their structure and composition. Such flexibility has allowed for the systematic, high-throughput computational characterization of materials.

Focusing on calculated dielectric and piezoelectric response, this study will investigate the connection between materials' fundamental crystal structure and their overall performance. Over two-thousand distinct crystals will be analyzed using various statistical techniques, with the end goal of establishing criteria for predicting future high-performing materials based solely on their structure. Such criteria have the potential to greatly accelerate the discovery of stronger dielectric and piezoelectric materials, with large potential impact across many disciplines, most notably, integrated circuit development.

I would like to thank the Rose Hills Foundation for the opportunity to partake in research this summer. Receiving this prestigious award has given me the means by which to experience working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and to challenge myself with a full-time research project. I have plans to pursue a PhD in materials science, and this unique summer opportunity has provided me with a very important preview of a future career in academia. Combining this experience with potential publication of my research project will be a critical stepping stone to a PhD program. Thank you again for this opportunity!