Material Sciences

Baylor is home to an array of faculty and labs that pursue research in Materials Science. Working individually and across a range of colleges, schools, and departments, these faculty have garnered external funding, provided high-impact learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, and are identifying solutions to challenges facing high-visibility industries. Research funding for materials science comes from a wide range of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Labs, the Air Force Research Labs, the Department of Energy, and many industrial partners.

  • Dr. Brian Jordon's research focuses on understanding the influence of microstructure on mechanical behavior in order to model materials and structures for superior performance. His interests include fatigue and fracture, process-structure-property relationships, constitutive modeling of plasticity and damage, simulation modeling of welding and joining, and solid-state additive manufacturing.
  • Dr. Paul Allison conducts research characterizing the structure-property-processing relations of a variety of material systems to support basic and applied research projects. The research examines different material systems, including ferrous and non-ferrous alloys, ceramics, cementitious materials, biomaterials, and bio-inspired nanocomposites across multiple-length scales at quasi-static and dynamic loading rates.
  • Dr. Trevor Fleck's research focuses on various aspects of the additive manufacturing (AM) process, including novel materials development, in situ process monitoring and process enhancement capabilities, and AM component qualification. His experience in additive manufacturing spans multiple AM techniques, including fused filament fabrication, inkjet printing, and direct ink writing.
  • Dr. Jonathan Hu's research focuses primarily on the areas of optics and photonics. Some of Dr. Hu's most recent scholarship and research concerns specialty optical fibers and negative curvature fibers, 2-D materials consisting of a single layer of atoms, nanophotonics and metamaterials, Mid-IR supercontinuum generation, and optical quantum communications.
  • Dr. David Jack examines constitutive modeling of contemporary composite processes, rigid and flexible suspension dynamics, and mechanics-based modeling of contemporary composite products. Dr. Jack's additional current research interests are conductivity analysis of carbon nanotube networks for high current applications, non-destructive evaluation of composites using ultrasonic techniques, and large-scale simulations of oil well casings with spatial and temporal properties. 
  • Dr. Linda J. Olafsen has research projects in areas such as mid-infrared semiconductor laser development, graphene-semiconductor optoelectronic devices, and endovascular navigation, including programming and characterizing shape-memory-alloy wire, the navigation in phantoms, and electrical properties/conduction/connections for powering emitters and detectors. She also has research interests in infrared imaging, ultrasonic imaging, LabVIEW programming, and beam profiling.
  • Dr. Alan Wang has research interests in nano-photonic devices, optical sensing for biomedical research and environmental protection, board level optical interconnects and on-chip optical interconnects, silicon photonics, innovative micro- and nano-fabrication technology, and RF photonic devices and systems. 
  • Dr. Abhendra Singh's research interests lie in ceramic matrix composites, emerging materials for hypersonic applications, hybrid multifunctional composite structures, and modeling of damage in composite structures.
  • Dr. Douglas E. Smith's research foci include the development of finite element methods for simulation-based design, inverse analyses, and computational biomechanics with a focus on design sensitivity analysis, multidisciplinary analysis and optimization, and reliability-based design. Applications include polymer and composites processing, fiber orientation modeling, structural optimization, biomechanics, and thermo-mechanical response of lasers and railguns. This research includes theoretical development, computer implementation, and industrial application.
  • Dr. Alex Yokochi's research and teaching interests focus on the process and reaction engineering applied to sustainability-related issues such as renewable energy production and modular electrical energy generation. Dr. Yokochi’s work includes advanced chemical process intensification and modular chemical engineering such as the direct conversion of methane to chemicals and liquid fuels using corona discharge instead of the traditional reforming plus synthesis pathway. In addition, he works on the development of advanced electrochemical approaches to energy conversion (e.g., fuel cells and batteries), grid-scale energy storage, water treatment, and the creation of novel materials with advanced properties through the development of nanocomposites.
Environmental Science
  • Dr. Christie M. Sayes’s primary research area of interest is environmental health & safety. Currently, she focuses on exposure characterization along the product value chain. She has more than a decade of experience in the fields of nanotechnology and nanotoxicology. Dr. Sayes's research lab addresses several fundamental issues relevant to the development safe and effective formulations in biological and environmental applications, including material characterization, exposure kinetics, hazard identification and communication, and mechanistic and molecular analyses.
Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Dr. Kevin L. Shuford's research group specializes in theory, modeling, and simulation of interdisciplinary problems spanning chemistry, physics, materials science, and engineering. A variety of methods are employed to calculate atomic, molecular, and optical properties of gas and condensed phase systems, with an emphasis on structure, dynamics, and fundamental studies of light/matter interactions. Established research areas include ultrafast quantum dynamics of atoms, molecules, and semiconductors, nano-optics, and plasmonics. Most recently, the focus within the group has been on renewable energy generation and storage. Specifically, we are interested in exploring new materials and unique designs to enhance light capture and conversion efficiency in solar applications as well as boosting energy and power densities in electrical energy storage devices.
  • Dr. Julia Chan's research group is focused on the discovery of new families of quantum materials. Efforts are placed on the crystal growth of strongly correlated systems to determine the structures, electrical, magnetic, and transport properties of rare-earth intermetallics to understand emergent phenomena. She also serves as the Deputy Editor of Science Advances (AAAS). 
  • Dr. Zhenrong Zhang's research is centered around energy and environment-related catalytic chemical physics, specifically, understanding the mechanisms and dynamics of catalytic reactions on metal oxides by using scanning probe microscopy (SPM) coupled with the Raman spectroscopy. The long-range goal of her research team is to develop and advance nanoscale imaging techniques for extremely-high resolution sensing (chemical, thermal, optical, and magnetic) in practical complex environments and see the eventual adoption of these techniques by the scientific community in both academic and industrial settings.
  • Dr. Alan Farhan is joining Baylor from Aalto University with research interests in nanomagnetism, multiferroics, and spectromicroscopy. Some of his most recently funded research concerns emergent phenomena in artificial frustrated systems and oxide superlattices, thermodynamics of artificial two-dimensional frustrated systems, and the direct observation of a dynamical glass transition in a nanomagnetic artificial Hopfield network. 
  • Dr. David Hilton’s research program focuses on the study of insulator-to-metal phase transitions in transition metal oxides and ultrafast investigations of high mobility 2DEGs and dichalcogenides. Primary research tools are ultrafast laser systems, nonlinear optical systems, and high magnetic field spectroscopy, both at Baylor as well as in collaboration with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, FL.

Recent Materials Science News

Baylor Welcomes Leading Engineering Researcher as Inaugural Kenneth and Celia Carlile Endowed Chair in Materials Science
(July 27, 2022)

Baylor University Announces $1.5 Million Gift Establishing New Chair in Materials Science 
(July 19, 2022)

Going Deep: On-campus access to cutting-edge scientific instruments is helping Baylor reach its research goals
(May 11, 2022)

Baylor Materials Testing and Characterization Laboratory Earns ISO Accreditation
(February 23, 2022)

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