His group uses first-principles computational methods and high-performance computing resources to predictively model the structural, electronic, and optical properties of bulk materials and nanostructures. The goal is to understand, predict, and optimize the properties of novel electronic, optoelectronic, photovoltaic, and thermoelectric materials.
Sharon Glotzer is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and of Material Science and Engineering. The Glotzer group uses computer simulations to discover the fundamental principles by which nanoscale systems of building blocks self-assemble into higher order, complex, and often hierarchical structures. Their goal is to learn how to manipulate matter at the molecular, nanoparticle, and colloidal scales to create “designer” structures through assembly engineering. Using molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulation codes developed in-house for graphics processors (GPUs) and scalable to large hybrid CPU/GPU clusters, they are the leading computational assembly group in the world, with the most powerful codes for studying assembly and packing. Among others, they are the lead developer of HOOMD-Blue, the fastest molecular dynamics code written solely for GPUs and distributed freely as open source software on codeblue.umich.edu. Based on the fundament scientific principles of assembly gleaned from their studies, they carry out high throughout simulations for materials by design, contributing to the national Materials Genome Initiative.
His research group aims to develop computational and mathematical techniques to address various aspects of materials behavior, which exhibit complexity and structure on varying length and time scales. The work draws ideas from quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and homogenization theories to create multi-scale models from fundamental principles, which provide insight into the complex behavior of materials. Topics of research include developing multi-scale methods for density-functional theory (electronic structure) calculations at continuum scales, electronic structure studies on defects in materials, quasi-continuum method, analysis of approximation theories, numerical analysis, and quantum transport in materials.