A/Professor Nikhil Medhekar

A/Professor Nikhil Medhekar

Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Room 112, 20 Research Way, Clayton

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Engineering, Brown University, Providence, USA
  • Sc. M., Applied Mathematics, Brown University, Providence, USA
  • M Tech, Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India
  • B. Eng, Mechanical Engineering, University of Pune, India

Professional Recognition

  • Young Tall Poppy Award, Australian Institute of Policy and Science (2014).
  • Materials Research Society’s Graduate Student Silver Award, USA (2008).
  • William N. Findley Award, Brown University, USA (2008).

Professional Association

  • Materials Research Society (MRS)
  • American Physical Society (APS)

Research Interests

Nikhil Medhekar’s research interests lie in a broad area of computational mechanics and materials science. His research group is particularly interested in understanding the structure, properties and processing of materials at nano- and micro-scale using computer simulations. The computational tools that are employed are essentially multi-disciplinary—ranging from the quantum mechanical electronic structure simulations, to large-scale molecular dynamics, phase-field and finite element simulations. Current research interests are focused on material systems crucial for optoelectronics and energy applications—for example, quantum dots, nanowires, nanotubes, and more recently, graphene and related materials.

Research Projects

Current projects

ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-energy Electronics Technologies

Decreasing energy use is a grand challenge facing society. The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronics Technologies addresses this challenge by realizing fundamentally new types of electronic conduction without resistance in solid-state systems at room temperature. Transport without resistance will be realized in topological insulators that conduct only along their edges, and in semiconductors that support superflow of electrons strongly coupled to photons. These pathways are enabled by the new science of atomically thin materials. Novel resistance-free electronic phenomena at room temperature will form the basis of integrated electronics technology with ultra-low energy consumption.

New Stimuli-Responsive Polymer Membranes Using Graphene as a Multifunctional Scaffold

We propose the development of a new type of polymer membrane, in which stimuli-responsive polymers are confined between graphene sheets using the simple process of filtration. The graphene acts as the structural element, whilst also introducing functionality in the final membrane. This process allows the production of largescale, robust and defect-free membranes. Such membranes are increasingly important in areas related to biomedicine, energy and other industrial processes. Whilst we will study the relationship between morphology and permeability of ions and molecules in solvent, we view the membranes as a platform technology, which will find much utility in other applications, such as gas barrier and separation.

Complex Interfaces and Solid-State Precipitation in Advanced Materials

Solid-state precipitates are key features of the microstructures of many natural and artificial materials and govern their properties. Yet understanding, let alone designing, the microstructures of materials remains a formidable challenge. The recent discovery of a new class of embedded interfaces in aluminium alloys offers the prospect of determining the atomic-scale mechanisms of precipitation. In this project we will apply the latest microscopy and computational techniques synergistically to characterise such interfaces and develop atomic-scale mechanisms of nucleation and growth in model alloy systems. This work will constitute a major step towards practical control of solid-state precipitation in technologically important materials.

Next Generation Batteries: Exploiting Divalent Magnesium

The ever-increasing needs of modern society demand batteries that are safer, have higher capacities, and importantly, are cheaper than the ones available today. In this regard, magnesium based batteries offer a tantalising prospect due to their intrinsic higher capacities and lower costs. And yet, their large-scale uptake continues to be a formidable challenge due to the poor reliability and lifetime of magnesium electrodes. In this project, we will employ the latest computational, electrochemical and metallurgical techniques synergistically to overcome the technical barriers in mitigating these issues. This work will lead to a targeted development of a new family of reliable, low cost and high performance magnesium batteries.

Research articles, papers & publications

See Nikhil’s research contributions through published book chapters, articles, journal papers and in the media.

Last modified: January 12, 2018