New Faculty Profile: Associate Professor Daniel S. Gianola

Monday, November 23, 2015

UCSB Materials welcomed new Associate Professor Daniel Gianola on November 1 to the Structural Materials research group. Prof. Gianola’s research interests span from the nanomechanical behavior of ultra-strong materials to the development of tunable energy conversion materials for applications in structural settings, micro- and nanoelectronics, robust thermal management, and waste heat collection.  Prof. Gianola’s research group aims to both understand and exploit the unique deformation mechanisms that govern mechanical response in nanoscaled materials at the extreme limits of strength.  His team is motivated by the opportunities for both developing structural materials with unprecedented combinations of strength and damage tolerance, as well as creating a new paradigm for tunable functional properties via elastic strain engineering.  His laboratory is poised to make significant strides in these areas owing to their unique expertise in probing the behavior of individual nanostructures in situ, allowing them to directly observe materials mechanisms with atomic fidelity, while simultaneously performing quantitative measurements.

One of Prof. Gianola’s long-term visions includes the exploitation of the unique deformation mechanisms in materials at both ends of the order – disorder spectrum to elicit mechanical properties that are unattainable in conventional structural materials.  On the ordered side, where nanostructures can be developed with close to zero defects, the surfaces or internal interfaces begin to dominate the properties.  In this regime, manipulation of the surface/interface chemistry even with only one atomic layer will cause drastic changes to the strength.  On the disordered side, the goal is to develop processing routes outside of the realm of traditional thermal treatments that produce glassy materials that can both be thermoplastically formed at low thermal budget and circumvent the poor damage tolerance that has long plagued glasses. Another long-term objective of the Gianola group is to utilize the exceptional elastic limit of functional materials to tune the transport properties – using elastic strain engineering - of energy conversion materials such as thermoelectrics, potentially leading to a new and tunable class of waste heat capture and thermal management systems.

Prof. Gianola is the recipient of several notable awards. In 2013, he received The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Early Career Faculty Fellow Award. Before that, Prof. Gianola received a Department of Energy Early Career Award and a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award. 

Prof. Gianola came to UCSB from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an Associate Professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Prior to joining the faculty at UPenn as Skirkanich Assistant Professor in 2009, Prof. Gianola was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his B.S. in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin. 

Welcome, Prof. Gianola!