PULSE congratulates Evan Reed on recently winning a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. NSF CAREER Awards are prestigious five-year grants given in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization.
Dr. Reed's project entitled, "Two-Dimensional Phase Change Materials" builds on the recent prediction that some two-dimensional (2D) transition metal dichalcogenide materials exhibit phase change properties near ambient conditions. These 2D materials are nearly atomically thin, an aspect that provides potentially useful properties that ordinary phase change materials lack. The 2D nature of these materials provides fundamentally new physical mechanisms for controlling the transformations that do not exist in known, bulk materials. His project will explore the phase change properties of 2D materials and their potential for applications in energy, information storage, electronic, optical, and other important applications with broad societal benefit. It will also elucidate the scientific theory of 2D structural phase transformations, likely to be quite different from conventional theories. In the process, this project will tackle some of the most challenging problems in computational materials science by extending the accuracy and scale of computational methods for predicting the properties of materials.
To integrate outreach with this research, Dr. Reed will host and mentor a group of college-bound, under-represented minority high school students during the summers and involve them in aspects of this project. He will develop interactive Java applications that run real-time atomistic materials simulations aimed at broad research dissemination and materials education at the undergraduate and K-12 levels. These applications represent an exciting new paradigm for materials education that has potential to transform the way in which students learn about materials by putting them in the driver seat.