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Materials-by-design: computation, synthesis, and characterization from atoms to structures

Jingjie Yeo's picture In the 50 years that succeeded Richard Feynman’s exposition of the idea that there is "plenty of room at the bottom" for manipulating individual atoms for the synthesis and manufacturing processing of materials, the materials-by-design paradigm is being developed gradually through synergistic integration of experimental material synthesis and characterization with predictive computational modeling and optimization. We review how this paradigm creates the possibility to develop materials according to specific, rational designs from the molecular to the macroscopic scale. We discuss promising techniques in experimental small-scale material synthesis and large-scale fabrication methods to manipulate atomistic or macroscale structures, which can be designed by computational modeling. These include recombinant protein technology to produce peptides and proteins with tailored sequences encoded by recombinant DNA, self-assembly processes induced by conformational transition of proteins, additive manufacturing for designing complex structures, and qualitative and quantitative characterization of materials at different length scales. We describe important material characterization techniques using numerous methods of spectroscopy and microscopy. We detail numerous multi-scale computational modeling techniques that complements these experimental techniques: DFT at the atomistic scale; fully atomistic and coarse-grain molecular dynamics at the molecular to mesoscale; continuum modeling at the macroscale. Additionally, we present case studies that utilize experimental and computational approaches in an integrated manner to broaden our understanding of the properties of two-dimensional materials and materials based on silk and silk-elastin-like proteins.

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