Nano-topology optimization for materials design with atom-by-atom control

CT Chen and DC Chrzan and GX Gu, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 11, 3745 (2020).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17570-1

Atoms are the building blocks of matter that make up the world. To create new materials to meet some of civilization's greatest needs, it is crucial to develop a technology to design materials on the atomic and molecular scales. However, there is currently no computational approach capable of designing materials atom-by-atom. In this study, we consider the possibility of direct manipulation of individual atoms to design materials at the nanoscale using a proposed method coined "Nano-Topology Optimization". Here, we apply the proposed method to design nanostructured materials to maximize elastic properties. Results show that the performance of our optimized designs not only surpasses that of the gyroid and other triply periodic minimal surface structures, but also exceeds the theoretical maximum (Hashin-Shtrikman upper bound). The significance of the proposed method lies in a platform that allows computers to design novel materials atom-by-atom without the need of a predetermined design.

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