Current Challenges in Materials Science: Aspects of Interface Motion

FALL 2009
Department of Mathematics
Department of Physics
Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST)
University of Maryland, College Park

LECTURES: Wednesdays, 4:30pm-5:30pm (unless noted otherwise);
Room: MATH 1308

Organizers: Theodore L. Einstein (,
Dionisios Margetis (

Scope & Research Focus: The complex properties of material surfaces and interfaces
have been the subject of theoretical and experimental scrutiny for many years.
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.
This RIT focuses on recent progress and emerging problems in the modeling and analysis
of surface phenomena across length and time scales.
Mathematical, physical and 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 and analysis:
Prediction of surface morphology from given initial or final data ("inverse problem");
averaging (homogenization) of composite 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. Emerging issues of energy conversion and storage: modeling of electronic transport; kinetic formalism(s).

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 2009:
(talks will be posted on a week-by-week basis)
  • September 9, 4:30-5:30pm
    Organizational meeting -- Introduction of topics
    by Dio Margetis

  • September 16, 4:30-5:30pm
    Terrace width narrowing on surfaces during growth
    by Ted Einstein (Physics, UMD)

  • September 23, 4:30-5:30pm
    Some analytic results on kinetic theory of step fluctuations
    by Dio Margetis (Math, IPST & CSCAMM, UMD)

  • September 30,

  • October 7,
    Determining equilibrium correlation functions from truncations of exact BBGKY hierarchy equations
    by John D. Weeks (Chemistry & IPST, UMD)

  • October 14,
    The evolution of free boundaries: Analysis and homogenization.
    by Antoine Mellet (Math, UMD)

  • October 21,

  • October 28,
    Kinetic Monte Carlo simulation studies of coarsening in
    mesoporous fcc crystals: topological and morphological evolution,
    diffusion pathways, and void formation

    by Jonah D. Erlebacher (Mat. Sci. & Eng., Johns Hopkins Univ.)

  • November 4,
    One-dimensional stochastic model of epitaxial growth
    by Rongrong Wang, (Math/AMSC, UMD)

  • November 11,
    Generalized Thermodynamics of Surfaces with Application to Small Scale Systems
    by Robert C. Cammarata, (Mat. Sci. & Eng., Johns Hopkins Univ.)

  • November 18,
    by Mark Stiles (NIST)

  • November 25,
    OPEN--Thxgiving Eve

  • December 2,
    On diffuse interface models
    by Konstantina Trivisa (Math & IPST, UMD)

  • December 9,
    Mean-field theories for fluctuations of surface line defects:
    Fokker-Planck equations and kinetic Monte Carlo simulations

    by Paul Patrone (Physics, UMD)