The properties of any material are inextricably linked to its atomic structure. Methods for determining the structure of materials exhibiting a high degree of structural order, also known as crystalline materials, are well-established. However, materials scientists are always generating new materials that can help solve the challenges facing the global community, such as global warming, lack of clean water and good health. Many of these materials are not fully crystalline but have a messy (disordered) atomic structure. Currently existing analysis methods used to study perfectly crystalline materials are ill-equipped to reveal important structure-property relationships in such materials. This hampers the realization of the full potential impact of novel disordered materials in a broad range of applications.
In the DISORDER group we aim to remedy this shortcoming by combining advanced electron microscopy techniques, big data analysis, and X-ray based structural characterization approaches to develop new ways of revealing the structure of materials residing at the border between order and disorder.
We furthermore use the new tools we develop to answer important materials science questions, such as: The role of disorder in catalytic nanoparticles, relation between local order and properties during order/disorder transitions and the correlation of electronic properties to static and dynamic disorder in relaxor ferroelectrics, to name a few.