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Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar

Thursday, April 15, 2021
11:00am to 12:00pm
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Misbehavin': anomalous atoms in solids and the extremes of thermal transport
Prof. Austin J. Minnich, Professor, Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Caltech,

Abstract: The typical motion of atoms in solids is thermal vibration about an equilibrium position. How are thermal transport properties altered when atoms don't follow this typical behavior? In this talk, I will describe how misbehaving atoms can lead to crystals with exceptionally high thermal conductivity, as in polyethylene single crystals, as well as exceptionally low thermal conductivity, as in lead chalcogenides and inorganic perovskites. The generality of the physical mechanisms show that otherwise unremarkable crystals can exhibit exceptional values of thermal conductivity that are of both fundamental and practical interest.

Bio: Austin Minnich is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in 2006 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 2011, after which he started his position at Caltech. He is the recipient of a 2013 NSF CAREER Award, a 2015 ONR Young Investigator Award, a 2017 Director of Research Award from the Navy, the 2017 Junior Prize from the International Photothermal and Photoacoustics Association, the 2017 Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award, and a 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

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