Nanoscale Fluctuations and Responses in Complex Materials
NSF Award Number: DMR 1006007
Project Date: 8/1/2010 – 7/31/2013 (estimated)
This research is based on the use of techniques developed in Dr. Israeloff’s lab, and by others, based on atomic-force microscopy (AFM) to probe local dielectric and mechanical fluctuations and responses on nanometer length scales. These will be applied to several materials with the objective of investigating the fundamental physics of the glass transition, non-equilibrium statistical physics, and nanophysics of materials. The proposed work will include the following three main components: (a) Nanoscale spatio-temporal dynamics will be studied in glassy materials in a search for growing dynamical correlation length scales, which play a dominant role in leading glass transition theories; (b) Measurement of both fluctuations and responses will allow us to test the validity of the global and local fluctuation-dissipation-relation (FDR) in equilibrium and out-of equilibrium in various materials; and (c) Nanodielectric spectroscopy will be used to study near-surface polymer dynamics in polymers and polymer blends.