Team > Elif Ertekin
Elif Ertekin
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phone: (217) 333-8175
Web pages:

  • Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2006
  • M.S., Materials Science & Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
  • M.S., Engineering Science, Penn State University, 2000
  • B.S., Engineering Science & Mechanics, Penn State University, with Honors, 1999
  • B.S., Mathematics, Penn State University, 1999

Academic Positions:
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Science & Engineering, UIUC, 2011-date
  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT, 2009-2011
  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist & Course Instructor, Berkeley Nanosciences & Nanoengineering Institute, University of California, Berkeley, 2007-2009

Research Interests:
Mechanical properties at the nanoscale, electronic properties of materials for energy storage and conversion, nanoscale phase transitions, properties of interfaces between dissimilar materials, defect-property relationships for materials, modeling growth and synthesis, computational materials.

My research interests in the field of computational science and engineering lie at the crossroads of mechanical science, engineering, and materials physics. Computational materials science plays a critical role in elucidating fundamental mechanisms, understanding experimental results, and predicting physical properties of existing and new materials. Thanks to numerous advances in computational methods and computing power over the last few decades, computational science now has the potential to pivotally impact our ability to understand, predict, and design materials - semiconductors, metals, polymers, ceramics, and combinations thereof - with enhanced functionality to address critical issues of societal importance.

My work focuses on predicting and designing the mechanical and electromagnetic properties of advanced materials systems at both the bulk-scale and nano-scale, with an emphasis on the development of materials for energy storage, energy conversion, and energy efficiency. We work in close collaboration with experimental colleagues, as we apply computational methods at the atomic, meso, and continuum scale to specific problems of interest in the areas of energy, transportation, and the environment.

In computational science, we use mathematical models to describe the properties and response of materials systems, and then apply these models to predict and design new materials. These models vary in scale, from the Schrodinger equation for electrons, to constitutive models of plasticity and deformation at mesoscales. Coupled with numerical algorithms and high performance computing resources, these models help to elucidate the relationship between the structure of a material and its electromagnetic, chemical, and mechanical properties. Understanding electromagnetic properties is critical for the development of energy storage and conversion systems such as advanced photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and fuel cells. For example, I have been investigating exciting new ways based on hyperdoping semiconductors to develop third-generation photovoltaic materials. The picture above shows the electron charge density of silicon hyperdoped with the chalcogen selenium; it is computed using first principles based electronic structure methods. I am also interested in the development of statistical models that accurately describe the mechanical properties of nanoscale systems such as nanotubes, nanowires, and two-dimensional layered materials. This includes, for example, models of plasticity and deformation in carbon nanotubes (shown in the picture on the right), the mechanical properties of nanowire heterostructures and interfaces, and the coupling between stress, temperature, and phase at the nanoscale. The development of advanced mechanical components has the potential to improve our energy efficiency through, for example, the development of lightweight materials (for transportation) and materials that can withstand high temperatures (for use in turbine blades).

Selected Publications:
  • Ertekin, E., M. T. Winkler, D. Recht, A. J. Said, M. J. Aziz, T. Buonassisi, and J. C. Grossman, "Insulator-to-metal Transition in Selenium-hyperdoped Silicon: Observation and Origin," Physical Review Letters, 108, 026401, 2012.
  • Schebarchov, D., S. C. Hendy, E. Ertekin, and J. C. Grossman, “Interplay of Wetting and Elasticity in the Nucleation of Carbon Nanotubes,” Physical Review Letters, 107, 185503, 2011.
  • Chen, S., E. Ertekin, and D. C. Chrzan, “Plasticity in Carbon Nanotubes: Cooperative Conservative Dislocation Motion,” Physical Review B, 81, 155417, 2010.
  • Ertekin, E., M.S. Daw, and D.C. Chrzan, “Transferable Continuum Description of the Stone–Wales Defect Formation Energy in Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes,” Physical Review B, 79, 155421, 2009.
  • Cao, J., E. Ertekin, V. Srinivasan, S. Huang, W. Fan, H. Zheng, J. W. L. Yim, D. R. Khanal, D. F. Ogletree, J. C. Grossman, and J. Wu, “Strain Engineering and One–dimensional Organization of Metal Insulator Domains in Single Crystal VO2 Beams,” Nature Nanotechnology, 4, 732-737, 2009.
  • Fan, W., S. Huang, J. Cao, E. Ertekin, C. Barrett, D. R. Khanal, J. C. Grossman, and J. Wu. “Superelastic Metal–insulator Phase Transition in Single–crystal VO2 Nanobeams,” Physical Review B, Rapid Communication, 80, 241105(R), 2009.
  • Begtrup, G. E., W. Gannett, J. C. Meyer, T. D. Yuzvinsky, B.M. Kessler, E. Ertekin, J. C. Grossman, and A. Zettl, “Facets of Nanotube Synthesis: High–resolution Electron Microscopy Study and Density Functional Theory Calculations,” Physical Review B, 79, 205409, 2009.
  • Ertekin, E., M.S. Daw, and D.C. Chrzan, “Elasticity Theory of Topological Defects in Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene,” Philosophical Magazine Letters, 88, 159-167, 2008.
  • Ertekin, E. and D. C. Chrzan, “Ideal Torsional Strengths and Stiffnesses of Carbon Nanotubes,” Physical Review, B 72, 45425, 2005.
  • Ertekin, E., P. A. Greaney, D. C. Chrzan, and T.D. Sands. “Equilibrium Limits of Coherency in Strained Nanowire Heterostructures,” Journal of Applied Physics, 97, 114325, 2005.
  • Ertekin, E. and A. Lakhtakia. “Optical Interconnects Realizable with Thin-film Helicoidal Bianisotropic Mediums,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Seerice A-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 457, 817-836, 2001.
  • Ertekin, E., V.C. Venugopal, and A. Lakhtakia. “Effect of Substrate and Lid on the Optical Response of an Axially Excited Slab of a Dielectric Thin-film Helicoidal Bianisotropic Medium,” Microwave and Optical Technology Letters, 20, 218-222, 1999.
  • Ertekin, E. and A. Lakhtakia. “Sculptured Thin Film Solc Filters for Optical Sensing of Gas Concentration,” European Physical Journal-Applied Physics, 5:1, pp. 45-50, 1999.