Multiphase spirals: uncovering the materials mystery

NARRATOR>>Spirals are powerful structures in
materials, but we haven’t been able to harness their full potential because we
haven’t been able to synthesize them. Material Science and Engineering
Professor Ashwin Shahani is now studying the
process of how multi-phase spirals come to form during the crystallization
process of materials. SHAHANI>>In terms of fundamental science it’s an unsolved
mystery and this is something that’s eluded material scientists from the
1950s to present day. My goal is really to decipher patterns that we see in our
natural environment. NARRATOR>>In order to solve this mystery Shahani’s research group
uses a wide range of imaging, from the micro scale to the atomic scale. This
allows them to reconstruct the process by which these spirals form. And by modifying variables in the process, such as growth velocity and thermal gradient,
Shahani’s group is able to fine-tune different properties, opening the
possibilities of what we can do with these materials. SHAHANI>>I think it’s been really
thrilling to forge all of these connections and collaborations. When not
only the solidification science but the techniques are evolving at such a fast
pace. And the integration of the two has really opened new doors, not only for me
but I think for the community at large. [Music]

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