AME Department Seminar: Probing nanoscale transport phenomena for engineering applications


Dr. Deyu Li
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Vanderbilt University


Probing nanoscale transport phenomena for engineering applications


Nanoscale energy, charge and mass transport plays critical roles in various phenomena in nature and has important engineering implications. In this talk, I will discuss some new understandings we obtained in nanoscale transport and some engineering applications. For energy transport, I will present a few interesting observations on phonon transport through individual nanostructures and their contacts. More specifically, I will show how kinks could alter the thermal conductivity of boron carbide nanowires, which provides new insights into tuning thermal properties of nanowires. I will also introduce the intriguing diameter dependence of contact thermal conductance between individual multi-walled carbon nanotubes, which comes from complex interplay between phonons and boundaries. Moreover, I will demonstrate two separate specularity parameters for transmitted and reflected phonons at interfaces through comparing the thermal conductivities of single and double boron nanoribbons. Finally, I will discuss several interesting observations of thermal transport through quasi-1D van der Waals crystal NbSe3 nanowires together with the underlying mechanisms governing these phenomena. In terms of charge and mass transport, I will present a new approach taking advantage of the superior electronic transport properties of graphene to probe the electrical activities of single dendritic spines and synapses of central nervous system neurons cultured in microfluidic platforms.


Dr. Deyu Li is currently a professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at Vanderbilt University. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Science and Technology of China, Tsinghua University, and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. Professor Li’s research interest includes nanoscale energy transport as well as microfluidics and nanofluidics. He has authored/co-authored over 80 journal papers, which have been cited over 9000 times according to Google Scholar. Dr. Li received an NSF career award in 2007, the Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Award for Research in 2013, and was elected an ASME fellow in 2017.