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Mechanical Engineering

Light, Energy, and Heat

Almost all modern technology is enabled either directly or indirectly by the balance of energy into and out of the system. This energy can be in the form of heat, light, or electricity. Research efforts in this direction broadly focus on new materials, devices, and systems that can harness control over these forms of energy.

Some specific research efforts in the department include new materials and systems to store electrical energy, the study of combustion processes to improve the energy efficiency of energy conversion, the design of metamaterials that can modulate the interaction of light and heat with surfaces, and the study of heat transfer through novel materials and systems that are important to energy consuming technologies. Graduate students who work in this area are exposed to an environment that commonly engages core mechanical engineering preparation with multidisciplinary approaches toward technology development often combining concepts of nanoscience, optics, and/or chemistry. Many faculty in this area are closely associated with the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE), which houses state-of-the-art clean room and imaging facilities in the newly constructed Engineering and Sciences Building.

Once database has been updated so that you can designate faculty for each of the research focus areas -- this would ONLY list faculty related to this area.  

Deyu Li

Research Focus: Micro/Nano scale energy and molecular transport phenomena,. Nanofabrication techniques, Molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo Simulation, Micro/Nanofluidics.  

Robert Pitz

Research Focus: Laser diagnostics, laminar & turbulent combustion, turbulence-chemistry interaction, pollutant formation, supersonic combustion, gas turbine combustion, rocket propulsion, Raman scattering, laser-induced fluorescence, molecular-tagging velocimetry.

Jason Valentine

Research Focus: Optical metamaterials, plasmonics, transformation optics, nanophotonics, nanoimaging, active photonics, gradient index optics, high spatial resolution bioimaging and sensing, solar energy conversion, scalable 3D nanomanufacturing.

Greg Walker

Research Focus: Micro-scale heat transfer, heat flux measurement, energy transport processes, ultrasonic pyrometry, thermographic phospors, energy conversion devices, high-performance computing