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 (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

Chen, X., et al. “Weak coupling of pseudoacoustic phonons and magnon dynamics in the incommensurate spin-ladder compound S r14 C u24 O41.” Physical Review B, vol. 94, no. 13, Oct. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.94.134309. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bansal, Dipanshu, et al. “Modeling non-harmonic behavior of materials from experimental inelastic neutron scattering and thermal expansion measurements.Journal of Physics. Condensed Matter : An Institute of Physics Journal, vol. 28, no. 38, Sept. 2016, p. 385201. Epmc, doi:10.1088/0953-8984/28/38/385201. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bansal, D., et al. “Phonon anharmonicity and negative thermal expansion in SnSe.” Physical Review B, vol. 94, no. 5, Aug. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.94.054307. Full Text Open Access Copy

Jiang, M. P., et al. “The origin of incipient ferroelectricity in lead telluride.” Nature Communications, vol. 7, July 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1038/ncomms12291. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bao, F., et al. “Hierarchical optimization for neutron scattering problems.” Journal of Computational Physics, vol. 315, June 2016, pp. 39–51. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.jcp.2016.03.017. Full Text

Luo, C., et al. “Hierarchical domain structure of lead-free piezoelectric (Na1/2 Bi1/2)TiO3-(K1/2 Bi1/2)TiO3 single crystals.” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 119, no. 17, May 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4948478. Full Text

May, A. F., et al. “Structural phase transition and phonon instability in Cu12Sb4S13.” Physical Review B, vol. 93, no. 6, Feb. 2016. Manual, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.93.064104. Full Text

Hong, Jiawang, and Olivier Delaire. “Electronic Instability and Anharmonicity in SnSe.” Materials Today Physics, vol. 10, 2016, pp. 100093–100093. Manual, doi:10.1016/j.mtphys.2019.100093. Full Text Open Access Copy

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

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