Non-equilibrium interface and surface dynamics: Modeling, analysis, numerics & experiment

FALL 2011
Department of Mathematics
Department of Physics
Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST)
Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling
University of Maryland, College Park
and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

LECTURES: Wednesdays, 4:15pm-5:15pm (unless noted otherwise);
Room: MATH 1308

Organizers: Theodore L. Einstein (,
Dionisios Margetis (,
Paul Patrone (

Scope & Research Focus: The complex properties of material surfaces and interfaces
have been the subject of theoretical and experimental scrutiny for many decades.
Advances in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and other experimental techniques
have enabled remarkably presice observations and stimulated challenging theoretical
questions of practical importance, many of which remain unresolved.

Surfaces mediate mass and charge transport mechanisms in various
applications ranging from the design and fabrication of nanoscale optoelectronic devices
to the pressing issues of energy conversion and storage.
Despite this rapid experimental progress, our understanding of surface and interface
motion is far from complete. A crucial question concerns the improvement of
modeling, analysis and simulation in order to describe far-from-equilibrium
phenomena such as growth and nucleation.

This RIT focuses on recent progress and emerging problems in the modeling, analysis, numerics
and experiments on surface phenomena across length and time scales.
Mathematical, physical and possibly chemical aspects will be discussed.
Particular emphasis will be placed on tools of kinetic theory that permeate interface evolution and fluctuation.

TOPICS: The (tentative) topics to be addressed are expected to fall into three general categories:

A. PDE modeling, analysis and simulation:
Prediction of surface morphology from given initial or final data ("inverse engineering");
averaging (homogenization) of composite or decorated surfaces;
free-boundary problems with microstructure.

B. Stochastic aspects of interface motion:
Random data, notions of noise and related descriptions; kinetic theory of surfaces;
`mean-field' approximations; analogies with other physical systems (e.g., non-uniform liquids);
germane problems of long-range interactions between line defects (steps)

C. Other emerging issues: Linkages of atomistic motion (lattice gas
and Solid-On-Solid models) to descriptions at larger scales (step flow models, full continuum);
coupling of morphology with electronic transport; energy storage

D. Lessons and challenges from recent STM and other experiments.

CREDIT: Students can take 1-3 units of credit by attending this RIT, and
studying and presenting a paper on an acceptable topic agreed on with one of the organizers,
or discussing original research.
For details, contact one of the Organizers (above).

Schedule for Fall 2011:
(talk titles will be posted on a week-by-week basis)

  • September 14, 4:30-5:30pm
    Organizational meeting -- Introduction of topics
    by Ted Einstein, Dio Margetis, and Paul Patrone

  • September 21, 4:30-5:30pm
    No seminar

  • September 28, 4:15pm-5:15pm
    Characterizing equilibrium in epitaxial growth,
    Paul Patrone, Physics UMD & NIST

  • October 5, 4:30-5:30pm

  • October 12, 4:15pm-5:15pm
    Steps and facets in model of evaporation-condensation
    Kanna Nakamura, Mathematics, UMD

  • October 19, 4:15pm
    In situ measurements of Factors Controlling the Structure and the Morphology of Carbon Nanotubes
    Renu Sharma, NIST

  • October 26, 4:30pm
    Directed Self Assembly and Self-Limiting Behavior during Growth on Nanopatterned GaAs(001)
    Ray Phaneuf, Materials Science & Eng., UMD

  • November 2, 4:15pm
    Field-Theoretic Simulations of Block Copolymer Melts for Nanotechnology
    August W. Bosse, NIST

  • November 9, 4:15pm
    Path integral formulations of vortex electron beams
    Gregg Gallatin, NIST

  • November 16
    Fluctuations of zigzag steps
    Micah Hawkins, Physics, UMD

  • November 23

  • November 30
    Impurities on stepped surfaces John Weeks, Chemistry & IPST, UMD

  • December 7
    One-Dimensional Island Nucleation With Hindered Aggregation
    Diego Luis Gonzalez, Physics, UMD