Advancing Nanostructured Materials
Over the past three decades we have seen a revolution in materials science and nanotechnology. With at least one characteristic dimension in the nanometer range, novel materials can be designed with unique properties that help us build faster computers, better cars, smarter sensors and more. As well, the boundary effect—that is, the confinement of embedded nanoscale constituents by their surroundings—provides numerous opportunities to further advance nanostructured materials.
With the help of powerful techniques to probe local structures down to the atomic scale, such as electron microscopy, Dr. Guo-zhen Zhu, Canada Research Chair in Mechanical and Functional Design of Materials, is working on discovering superior nanostructured materials. She is doing this by characterizing and tuning the atomic and electronic structures of nanoscale constituents in crystalline materials, such as functional oxides and lightweight alloys.
She is also designing new nanoscale constituents within nanostructured materials and developing new characterization approaches to study them using advanced electron microscopy. She and her research team are also trying to predict nanoscale constituents and the corresponding materials’ behaviours.
The knowledge they acquire will be used to develop new methods of discovering, predicting and designing advanced materials with better mechanical, electrical or catalytic performance. Ultimately, this research could contribute to advances in lightweight alloys and functional composites for the aerospace, automotive and energy industries.