Our research focusses on smart engineering materials capable of generation of mechanical motion in response to external stimuli as heat, light, biochemical environment, electric and magnetic fields, etc. by exploiting physical processes in solids taking place on the structural level. Besides of that we investigate advanced metallic materials with controlled microstructure and prepare, characterize and exploit diamond coatings and nanoparticles.
Department of Functional Materials (http://ofm.fzu.cz/) was established in 2009 as a new research department within the Division of Condensed Matter Physics. The research is organized in 3 research groups.
In the area of smart engineering materials (research group FMC), we investigate martensitic transformations in shape memory alloys, internal stress in smart functional composites, functional metal-polymer composites, electro active polymers combined with superelastic NiTi, biodegradable metals or textiles made from NiTi wires. We study mechanics od inelastic deformation of polycrystalline engineering materials via combination of thermomechanical testing with in-situ x-ray and neutron diffraction, resistometry, infrared calorimetry, DIC, ex-situ transmission electron microscopy and mechanics modelling. Using the in-hose developed models we simulate thermomechanical behavior of solids derived from martensitic phase transformations.
In the area of advanced engineering materials (research group MCM), we employ modern methods of severe plastic deformation or additive manufacturing by 3D laser printing to prepare materials with controlled microstructure and properties which we characterize by advanced methods of x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy.
In the area of diamond coatings and nanoparticles (research group MNB) we prepare the former by microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition method, characterize them and work on the development of their engineering applications. We specialize in the synthesis of doped nanodiamond layers for their potential electrochemical, optical, electronic and quantum applications. Special diamond coatings are prepared for functionalized interfaces between inorganic materials and biomaterials.
The Department researchers have built and operate a Mechanical testing laboratory equipped with a range of equipment for thermomechanical testing and characterization of deformation processes in functional materials. There is Metallurgical laboratory equipped for alloy casting, heat treatment and crystal growth. Finally, their technological laboratories preparing thin films and coatings using CVD and PVD thin film growth technologies. The Department hosts modern mechanical workshop of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics.
All three research groups are active in PhD training in collaboration with national and foreign universities. We are involved in Czech participation of the construction of European Spallation Source in Lund Sweden and we have been successful in commercialization of our research results.