Olivier Delaire

Olivier Delaire

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Associate Professor of Physics (Secondary)

Associate Professor of Chemistry (Secondary)

Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Office Location: 
3395 Fciemas Building, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
3395 Fciemas Building, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-5606


Olivier Delaire's research program investigates atomistic transport processes of energy and charge, and thermodynamics in energy materials (DOE Early Career Award 2014). His research group studies  elementary excitations in condensed-matter systems (phonons, electrons, spins), their couplings (phonon-phonon interaction, electron-phonon coupling, spin-phonon coupling), and their effects on macroscopic material properties. Current materials of interest include thermoelectrics, ferroelectrics/multiferroics, spin-caloritronics, and photovoltaics. We develop new methods to reveal microscopic underpinnings of thermal transport, by integrating neutron and x-ray scattering measurements with quantum-mechanical computer simulations. This combined experimental and computational approach opens a new window to understand and control microscopic energy transport for the design of materials with novel properties (thermoelectrics, spin-caloritronics), and to rationalize multiferroics and metal-insulator transitions. In addition to state-of-the-art scattering experiments and first-principles simulations, our team also uses transport measurements, optical spectroscopy, materials synthesis, calorimetry, and thermal characterization, with the goal of gaining deeper atomistic understanding for developing future materials.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 2006

  • M.Sc., Pennsylvania State University 2000

Shiga, T., et al. “Origin of anomalous anharmonic lattice dynamics of lead telluride.” Applied Physics Express, vol. 7, no. 4, Jan. 2014. Scopus, doi:10.7567/APEX.7.041801. Full Text

Manley, M. E., et al. “Phonon localization drives polar nanoregions in a relaxor ferroelectric.Nature Communications, vol. 5, Jan. 2014, p. 3683. Epmc, doi:10.1038/ncomms4683. Full Text

Pramanick, A., et al. “Origins of large enhancement in electromechanical coupling for nonpolar directions in ferroelectric BaTiO3.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 88, no. 18, Nov. 2013. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.88.180101. Full Text

Ma, J., et al. “Glass-like phonon scattering from a spontaneous nanostructure in AgSbTe2.Nature Nanotechnology, vol. 8, no. 6, June 2013, pp. 445–51. Epmc, doi:10.1038/nnano.2013.95. Full Text

Delaire, O., et al. “Effects of temperature and pressure on phonons in FeSi1-xAl x.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 87, no. 18, May 2013. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.87.184304. Full Text

Shiga, T., et al. “Microscopic mechanism of low thermal conductivity in lead telluride.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 85, no. 15, Apr. 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.85.155203. Full Text

Delaire, O., et al. “Anharmonic phonons and magnons in BiFeO 3.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 85, no. 6, Feb. 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.85.064405. Full Text

May, A. F., et al. “Properties of single crystalline AZn 2Sb 2 (A Ca,Eu,Yb).” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 111, no. 3, Feb. 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.3681817. Full Text

May, A. F., et al. “Thermoelectric transport properties of CaMg 2Bi 2, EuMg 2Bi 2, and YbMg 2Bi 2.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 85, no. 3, Jan. 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.85.035202. Full Text Open Access Copy

Abernathy, D. L., et al. “Design and operation of the wide angular-range chopper spectrometer ARCS at the Spallation Neutron Source.The Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 83, no. 1, Jan. 2012, p. 015114. Epmc, doi:10.1063/1.3680104. Full Text