"Advances in materials science such as in biomedical and energy conversion devices increasingly rely on computational techniques and modeling," Heinz said. "In particular, interfaces at the nanoscale are difficult to characterize experimentally, such as charge transport mechanisms in solar cells, the formation of biominerals, and self-assembly of polymers in multi-component materials. Model building and simulation are critical to understand dynamic processes across the length and time scales."
This summer, Heinz received $430,000 for two years of research funding from the National Science Foundation's prestigious CAREER award program. Heinz and his research team are taking an interdisciplinary approach using concepts from physics, chemistry, biology, polymer science and engineering, as well as computation and statistical mechanics. The grant supports the development of new computational tools to understand biotic-abiotic interactions at the molecular level, as well a team of student researchers, ranging from graduates and undergraduates to high school pupils.
"We have carried out quantitative molecular simulations of inorganic-organic interfaces in excellent agreement with experimental results and developed accurate molecular models for inorganic components," Heinz explained. "These concepts serve as a starting point for understanding biomineralization processes and the performance of hybrid photovoltaic cells, as current examples. Our research efforts aim at complementing experimental results by molecular-level models to intelligently design (bio)molecules, interfaces, and, ultimately, devices."
|Contact: Mr. Jamie Abel|
Ohio Supercomputer Center