Characterizing the physical behavior of complex heterogeneous systems is not straightforward, especially when the constituent components are micrometer to nanometer in size. Analytical models, while useful,' are restricted by their simplifying assumptions. Experimental measurements of physical properties and behavior likewise are subject to interpretation, especially at small length scales, and are fraught with experimental uncertainties. Mesoscale computer simulations provide an alternative stratagem for predicting physical properties and behavior of complex heterogeneous systems at the small scale. Several examples are given to illustrate this approach. They range from near-zero thermal expansion ceramic composites for use in precision optical devices (e.g., extreme ultraviolet nano-lithography), but which can self-destruct due to high internal stresses, to optically activated gold-shell nanoparticles for use in tumor ,ablation for cancer therapy, while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.
Edwin R. Fuller, Jr.
Dr. Edwin R. Fuller, Jr. is a Guest Scientist in the Ceramics Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland.
He received a B.S. degree in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He joined NIST (then the National Bureau of Standards) as a National-Research-Council Postdoctoral Research Associate, and retired in December 2008. His research interests include thermal ablation efficacy of optically-active nanoparticles, mechanical metrology of. small-scale structures, and microstructure-based computer simulations of physical properties and behavior for heterogeneous, stochastic microstructures. He is co-developer of the NIST Object Oriented Finite Element (OOF) software for physical property simulations from material microstructures.
Dr. Fuller is currently President-Elect of The American Ceramic Society (ACerS). He has served on the Board of Directors of ACerS, and as Chair of the Basic Science Division and the Baltimore-Washington Section. A Fellow of ACerS, he has co-organized more than twenty technical symposia, co-edited five conference. proceedings, and published more than 150 technical papers. He has received the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal, the ACerS Ross Coffin Purdy Award, the ACerS Robert B. Sosman Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists, and the NIST Jacob Rabinow Applied Research Award. Asa co-developer of OOF, he was co-recipient of one of Industry Week's 1999 Technologies of the Year awards for " ... one of the 25
technologies that can make a difference in the global economy."