This research program is aimed at obtaining a fundamental understanding of fast non-equilibrium processes induced by short pulse laser irradiation of metal surfaces as well as on the analysis of practical implications of the revealed physical picture for the advancement of laser technologies. The microscopic mechanisms of melting and recrystallization occurring under extreme superheating/undercooling conditions, parameters that define the glass forming ability in laser quenching, mechanisms of laser induced photomechanical damage and spallation, cluster ejection in laser ablation are among the research questions being addressed in this program.
Dmitriy Ivanov, a PhD student initially supported by this grant, graduated in November of 2004 and accepted a research position at the National Centre for Laser Applications, Galway , Ireland . Two graduate students, Zhibin Lin and William Duff, as well as an undergraduate student Carlos Sevilla are currently working on this research program. Stephen Guy, an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Engineering, is leading the development of an educational software package for high school students. The educational tool uses computer modeling as a medium to provide vivid illustrations of science phenomena discussed in school classrooms and to engage and fascinate students with science and engineering.
Computational Materials Group web site: http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/CompMat/