Chen’s group’s primary research is focused on the fundamental understanding of the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations and mesoscale microstructure evolution in bulk solid and thin films using multiscale computer simulations.
During the past 3 decades, Dr. Chen’s group at Penn State has been particularly active in developing phase-field models for microstructure evolution during various materials processes including grain growth, coherent precipitation, ferroic domain formation, particle coarsening, domain structure evolution in thin films, phase transformation in the presence of structural defects, effect of stress on microstructure evolution, and more recently. Current research focus of Dr. Chen’s group is on the effect of stress/strain on ferroelectric phase transitions and domain structure evolution in ferroelectric and multiferroic thin films, piezoelectric and transparency of ferroelectric crystals and ceramics, electrochemical reactions and microstructure evolution in solid oxide fuel cells and batteries, phase transformations and microstructure evolution during additive manufacturing, and mesoscale structural evolution in quantum and functional materials involving both electronic and structural processes. Most of the research activities are carried out in collaboration with experimental groups.
The Chen group is currently looking for motivated graduate students and post-doctoral scholars to work on the general area of thermodynamic and phase-field modeling of phase transformations, electrochemical reactions, and microstructure evolution under a wide variety of different external static and dynamic thermal, mechanical, electric, magnetic stimuli as well as light at different frequencies. We currently have openings in helping to develop and apply new phase-field models of coupled structural and electronic phase transitions and microstructure evolution in functional and quantum materials, piezoelectric responses and light transparency of ferroelectric crystals and ceramics, polar topological evolution in oxide heterostructures, and electrochemical reaction kinetics and microstructure evolution in Li-ion batteries and solid oxide fell cells (SOFC).