Welcome to the research group website of Professor Huajian Gao at Brown University. Our research is focused on the understanding of basic principles that control mechanical properties and behaviors of materials in both engineering and biology. We study how metallic and semiconductor materials behave in thin film and nanocrystalline forms, and how biological materials such as bone, gecko and cell achieve their mechanical robustness through structural hierarchy.
Systems and phenomena of interest include hierarchical structures of bone and gecko, cell adhesion, endocytosis, thin films, dynamic fracture, carbon nanotubes and biomolecules. Fundamental concepts include diffusion, dislocations, fracture, grain boundary, stiffness, toughness, contact, adhesion, viscoelasticity, convergent evolution, flaw tolerance, size effects, shape optimization, self-assembly and bottom-up hierarchical materials design. Applications of research include microelectronic and optoelectronic devices, nanotechnology, nano- and hierarchical materials in engineering, biomimetics, bio-sensing and gene/drug delivery systems.
Our current research includes grain boundary diffusion and dislocation processes in thin films and nanocrystalline materials; mechanics of hierarchical structures in biology; stochastic cohesive models of focal contact in cell adhesion and mechanics of cellular endocytosis. You will find more in-depth information about our ongoing projects and cutting-edge results in corresponding pages of this site.