Primary AffiliationComputational Molecular Science
Yang Zhang is an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering; the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a core faculty member and lead of the Computational Molecular Science Group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Zhang received his B.S. in electrical science and technology from the University of Science and Technology of China (2004) and his Ph.D. in nuclear science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2010). He was a Clifford G. Shull Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2010 to 2012. The research of his group focuses on the physics and chemistry of liquids, especially under extreme, interfacial, non-equilibrium conditions. His group synergistically combines and pushes the boundaries of accelerated atomistic simulation methods that are based on statistical and quantum mechanical theories and neutron and X-ray scattering experiments. By studying a variety of liquids and liquid-like systems, the goal is to unravel the emergent principles that govern a much wider range of long timescale phenomena and rare events. On the application side, leveraging expertise on soft materials, his group designs and builds soft robots, human-compatible machines, and wearable human-enhancing devices that can lead to immediate societal impact. He has been recognized with several awards including, most recently, the American Nuclear Society Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award. He is an associate editor of Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. [http://zhang.engineering.illinois.edu/]
- American Nuclear Society's Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award (2017)
- American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award (2015)
- List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (2013-2015)
- Collins Fellow, UIUC (2013)
- Clifford G. Shull Fellowship, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2010)
- Manson Benedict Award, MIT (2008)
- Neutron Scattering Society of America Prize (2008)
The understanding of collective phenomena is one of the major intellectual challenges in many research fields. Conventional statistical methods have been successfully applied to describe systems at or near equilibrium, but they often fail to provide accurate predictions for systems and processes away from equilibrium, where time reversal symmetry and ergodicity are readily broken. Yet, patterns of amazing complexity spanning an immense range of hierarchical spatial and temporal scales—ubiquitous in the world around us—are formed from non-equilibrium conditions, such as turbulent flow, structure of the universe, social activities, and life itself. Research on such systems and processes may help identify the rule of randomness and recognize the role of correlated degrees of freedom in the organization and transport of energy and matter.
The research of our group focuses on the physics and chemistry of liquids, especially under extreme, interfacial, non-equilibrium conditions. We synergistically combine and push the boundaries of accelerated atomistic simulation methods that are based on statistical and quantum mechanical theories and neutron and X-ray scattering experiments. By studying a variety of liquids and liquid-like systems, the goal is to unravel the emergent principles that govern a much wider range of long timescale phenomena and rare events. On the application side, leveraging our expertise on soft materials, we design and build soft robots, human-compatible machines, and wearable human-enhancing devices that can lead to immediate societal impact.
To date, how to characterize and control matter away from equilibrium remains a grand challenge. From the fundamental science perspective, research on non-equilibrium phenomena may shed light on a class of scientific problems involving phenomena emerging from self-organization, symmetry breaking, and rare events, such as viscous flow of supercooled liquids and glasses, nucleation and crystal growth, folding of polypeptide chains into structured proteins, and self-assembly of micro-units into functional objects. From the application perspective, research on non-equilibrium phenomena may yield transformative knowledge that directly influence countless pivotal applications in nuclear industry and beyond, such as understanding and preventing the aging and degradation of materials, bio-preservation by kinetically blocking the transition pathways, design and manufacture of novel amorphous materials with otherwise unattainable properties, and control of non-equilibrium processing techniques, as part of an overarching mission of fostering secure and reliable energy infrastructures that are environmentally and economically sustainable.
Our current research can be roughly divided into two areas:
- Physics and chemistry of liquids, especially under extreme, interfacial, non-equilibrium conditions
- Soft robotics, human-compatible machines, wearable human-enhancing devices
- Publications listed: http://zhang.engineering.illinois.edu/publications.html
- Moneypenny T. P. 2nd, Walter N. P., Cai Z., Miao Y. R., Gray D. L., Hinman J. J., Lee S., Zhang Y., Moore J. S., Impact of Shape Persistence on the Porosity of Molecular Cages. J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Mar 1;139(8):3259-3264. DOI:10.1021/jacs.7b00189. PubMed PMID: 28157299.
- Jaiswal, A., Egami, T., Kelton, K. F., Schweizer, K. S. & Zhang, Y., Correlation between fragility and the Arrhenius crossover phenomenon in metallic, molecular, and network liquids. Physical Review Letters 2016, 117, 20, 205701.
- Jaiswal, A., O'Keeffe, S., Mills, R., Podlesynak, A., Ehlers, G., Dmowski, W., Lokshin, K., Stevick, J., Egami, T. & Zhang, Y., Onset of Cooperative Dynamics in an Equilibrium Glass-Forming Metallic Liquid. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2016, 120, 6, 1142-1148.
- Yang, K., Cai, Z., Jaiswal, A., Tyagi, M., Moore, J. S. & Zhang, Y., Dynamic Odd-Even Effect in Liquid n-Alkanes near Their Melting Points. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 2016, Nov 2;55(45):14090-14095. DOI:10.1002/anie.201607316. PubMed PMID: 27730714.
- Yang, K., Cai, Z., Tyagi, M., Feygenson, M., Neuefeind, J. C., Moore, J. S. & Zhang, Y., Odd-Even Structural Sensitivity on Dynamics in Network-Forming Ionic Liquids. Chemistry of Materials 2016, 28, 9, 3227-3233.
- Jaiswal, A., Egami, T. & Zhang, Y., Atomic-scale dynamics of a model glass-forming metallic liquid: Dynamical crossover, dynamical decoupling, and dynamical clustering. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 2015, 91, 13, 134204.
- Jaiswal, A., Podlesynak, A., Ehlers, G., Mills, R., O'Keeffe, S., Stevick, J., Kempton, J., Jelbert, G., Dmowski, W., Lokshin, K., Egami, T. & Zhang, Y., Coincidence of collective relaxation anomaly and specific heat peak in a bulk metallic glass-forming liquid. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 2015, 92, 2, 024202.
- Liu, K. H., Zhang, Y., Jeng, U. S. & Mou, C. Y., Density of hydrophobically confined deeply cooled water investigated by small angle X-ray scattering. Journal of Chemical Physics 2015, 143, 9, 94704.
- Santodonato, L. J., Zhang, Y., Feygenson, M., Parish, C. M., Gao, M. C., Weber, R. J. K., Neuefeind, J. C., Tang, Z. & Liaw, P. K., Deviation from high-entropy configurations in the atomic distributions of a multi-principal-element alloy. Nature Communications 2015, 6, 5964.
- Jaiswal, A. & Zhang, Y., Coherent quasi-elastic neutron scattering studies of the collective diffusion of glass-forming metallic liquids. Transactions of the American Nuclear Society 2014, Volume 110, 942-943.
- Yang, K., Tyagi, M., Moore, J. S. & Zhang, Y., Odd-even glass transition temperatures in network-forming ionic glass homologue. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014, 136, 4, 1268-1271.
- Bertrand, C. E., Zhang, Y. & Chen S.-H., Deeply-cooled water under strong confinement: neutron scattering investigations and the liquid-liquid critical point hypothesis, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics 2013, 15(3), 721.
- Huang, B., Zhang, Y., Shu, X., Liu, Y., Penumadu, D. & Ye, X. P., Neutron scattering for moisture detection in foamed asphalt. Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering 2013, 25, 7, 932-938.
- Liu, K. H., Zhang, Y., Lee, J. J., Chen, C. C., Yeh, Y. Q., Chen, S. H. & Mou, C. Y., Density and anomalous thermal expansion of deeply cooled water confined in mesoporous silica investigated by synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Journal of Chemical Physics 2013, 139, 6, 064502.
- Zhang, Y., Tyagi, M., Mamontov, E. & Chen, S. H., Quasi-elastic neutron scattering studies of the slow dynamics of supercooled and glassy aspirin. Journal of Physics Condensed Matter 2012, 24, 6, 064112.