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Multi-scale Surface Engineering with Metallic Glasses

The new Multi-scale Surface Engineering with Metallic Glasses IRG addresses the grand challenge of how to control surface properties through topographical structuring at multiple length scales. Examples include tailoring biocompatibility, reactivity, friction, adhesion, and wetting to efficiently functionalize surfaces for a wide range of new applications and devices. To this end, nano-imprinting and blow molding, whose application to metallic glasses has been pioneered at Yale, are utilized to create hierarchically structured metal surfaces on length scales ranging from atomic distances to ≈10 μm. The IRG’s intellectual merit is rooted in gaining a fundamental understanding of the deformation of metallic glasses on these length scales and on using this knowledge to create hierarchical surface patterns, often inspired by nature, to achieve and exploit unusual surface properties. The broader impacts of the research will be felt in novel devices, in the understanding and utilization of size-dependent properties, in pushing the limit in imprinting density beyond current constraints, and in efficient and versatile processes to functionalize metallic surfaces. This research program provides undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and teachers with unique training that allows them to understand complex phenomena on scales ranging from atoms to cm.