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

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

Muñoz, J. A., et al. “Positive vibrational entropy of chemical ordering in FeV.Physical Review Letters, vol. 107, no. 11, Sept. 2011, p. 115501. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.107.115501. Full Text

Delaire, O., et al. “Giant anharmonic phonon scattering in PbTe.Nature Materials, vol. 10, no. 8, Aug. 2011, pp. 614–19. Epmc, doi:10.1038/nmat3035. Full Text

Markovskiy, N. D., et al. “Nonharmonic phonons in MgB2 at elevated temperatures.” Physical Review B, vol. 83, no. 17, May 2011. Manual, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.83.174301. Full Text

Sales, B. C., et al. “Thermoelectric properties of Co-, Ir-, and Os-doped FeSi alloys: Evidence for strong electron-phonon coupling.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 83, no. 12, Mar. 2011. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.83.125209. Full Text

Delaire, O., et al. “Phonon softening and metallization of a narrow-gap semiconductor by thermal disorder.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 108, no. 12, Mar. 2011, pp. 4725–30. Scopus, doi:10.1073/pnas.1014869108. Full Text

Lucas, M. S., et al. “Effects of composition, temperature, and magnetism on phonons in bcc Fe-V alloys.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 82, no. 14, Oct. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.82.144306. Full Text

Lucas, M. S., et al. “Erratum: Effects of chemical composition and B2 order on phonons in bcc Fe-Co alloys (Journal of Applied Physics (2010) 108 (023519)).” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 108, no. 7, Oct. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.3484430. Full Text

Lucas, M. S., et al. “Effects of chemical composition and B2 order on phonons in bcc Fe-Co alloys.” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 108, no. 2, July 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.3456500. Full Text