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: 
144 Hudson Hall, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
3395 Fciemas Building, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-5310


Olivier Delaire's research program investigates atomistic transport processes of energy and charge, and thermodynamics in energy materials. The nanoscale studies probe atomic dynamics and elementary excitations in condensed-matter systems (phonons, electrons, spins), their couplings and their effects on macroscopic material properties. Current materials of interest include thermoelectrics, ferroelectrics/multiferroics, spin-caloritronics, and photovoltaics. The Delaire group develops 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 enabling novel technologies for energy applications (thermoelectrics, solid-state batteries, photovoltaics) and information storage and processing (multiferroics, metal-insulator transitions, topological materials). 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

Li, C. W., et al. “Orbitally driven giant phonon anharmonicity in SnSe.” Nature Physics, vol. 11, no. 12, Dec. 2015, pp. 1063–69. Scopus, doi:10.1038/nphys3492. Full Text

Bansal, D., et al. “Electron-phonon coupling and thermal transport in the thermoelectric compound Mo3Sb(7−x)Te(x).” Physical Review B, vol. 92, no. 21, Dec. 2015. Manual, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.92.214301. Full Text Open Access Copy

Specht, E. D., et al. “Nanoscale Structure in AgSbTe2 Determined by Diffuse Elastic Neutron Scattering.” Journal of Electronic Materials, vol. 44, no. 6, June 2015, pp. 1536–39. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11664-014-3447-0. Full Text

Delaire, O., et al. “Heavy-impurity resonance, hybridization, and phonon spectral functions in Fe(1−x)M(x)Si (M=Ir, Os).” Physical Review B, vol. 91, no. 9, Mar. 2015. Manual, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.91.094307. Full Text

Chen, Xi, et al. “Twisting phonons in complex crystals with quasi-one-dimensional substructures.Nature Communications, vol. 6, Jan. 2015, p. 6723. Epmc, doi:10.1038/ncomms7723. Full Text

Li, C. W., et al. “Anharmonicity and atomic distribution of SnTe and PbTe thermoelectrics.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 90, no. 21, Dec. 2014. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.90.214303. Full Text

Budai, John D., et al. “Metallization of vanadium dioxide driven by large phonon entropy.Nature, vol. 515, no. 7528, Nov. 2014, pp. 535–39. Epmc, doi:10.1038/nature13865. Full Text

Lara-Curzio, E., et al. “Low-temperature heat capacity and localized vibrational modes in natural and synthetic tetrahedrites.” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 115, no. 19, May 2014. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4878676. Full Text