Will conduct research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2017-18

UCLA Engineering graduate student Nick Julian has received a prestigious Graduate Student Research Award from the Department of Energy Office of Science.

Julian, who is advised by Jaime Marian, associate professor of materials science and engineering, will spend nine months starting in December at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He will work with research groups studying computational materials and ultrafast materials characterization.  The award covers his expenses while working at the lab, and also includes a stipend.

Julian’s research is in glassy or amorphous materials – solids whose atoms are not as ordered as those in a crystal, and whose useful properties may be sensitive to their disorder. For example, some solid state memory devices reversibly switch a material between amorphous and crystalline phases. Those phases have differing electrical conductivities, which represent the ones and zeroes of binary data. Modeling these phase changes may help improve performance and reliability of such devices, but requires more precise knowledge of atomic positions in the amorphous phase which correlate with experimental measurements.

Julian is looking to more accurately model the material’s atomic order in experiments. He’ll use a combination of electron microscopy techniques and custom simulation software. The results should more accurately model the arrangement of atoms and how they may move over time.

Julian was one of 52 awardees from around the country that were announced during this current cycle.

Photo: Nick Julian. By UCLA Engineering