Theory Simulation and Modeling

Andrew M. Rappe

Photo: 
First Name: 
Andrew M.
Last Name: 
Rappe
Official Title: 
Blanchard Professor of Chemistry

Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Additional Titles: 
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Co-Director, Pennergy
Contact Information
Office Location: 
264 Cret, Lab: 263, 265, 267, 268 Cret
Email: 
rappe@sas.upenn.edu
Phone: 
(215) 898-8313
Fax: 
(215) 573-2112
Admin Support: 
Education: 
  • B.A. Chemistry and Physics, Summa Cum Laude, Harvard University (1986)
  • ONR Graduate Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1986-1989)
  • JSEP Graduate Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990-1992)
  • Ph. D. Physics and Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992)
  • IBM Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California at Berkeley (1992-1994)
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania (1994-2000)
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania (2000-2006)
  • Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania (2006-present)
  • NSF CAREER Award (1997-2001)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1998-2000)
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1999-2004)
Research Interests: 

 

My research group creates and uses new theoretical and computational approaches to study complex systems in materials science, condensed-matter physics, and physical chemistry.

 

We look for new phenomena that occur when different components are brought together. For example, we examine molecules adsorbing on metal surfaces, in order to understand the effect of surface composition and structure on preferred adsorption sites, dissociation pathways, and vibrational dynamics. We also study how the compositions of oxide solid solutions lead to Angstrom-scale chemical structure, nanometer scale structural disorder, and long-range ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties. These studies find real-world applications in catalysis, corrosion, SONAR, fuel cells and other important technologies. Whenever possible, we model systems analytically, in order to extract general principles and simple pictures from complex systems. We recently derived general expressions for the vibrational lifetimes of molecules on surfaces, revealing the dependence of lifetime on molecular coverage and arrangement. Our recent exploration of quantum stress fields has helped to link chemical and mechanical effects in materials.

 

We are constantly developing methods for computing new properties, and for making quantum-mechanical calculations more accurate and more efficient. We tailor computational algorithms to maximize performance on modern computing platforms such as Beowulf clusters. Wherever possible, we also model systems analytically, in order to extract general principles and simple pictures from complex systems. This combination of theoretical and computational tools enables us to identify new phenomena in complex systems, like multicenter bonds between methyl radicals and the rhodium surface. ( See figure below )

Converting the 5d wavefunction of gold to a smoother pseudowavefunction results in a dramatic reduction in the required basis set size for converged calculations.

Andrea J. Liu

Photo: 
First Name: 
Andrea J.
Last Name: 
Liu
Official Title: 
Hepburn Professor of Physics
Additional Titles: 
Professor of Chemistry
Contact Information
Office Location: 
2N30, David Rittenhouse Laboratory
Email: 
ajliu@physics.upenn.edu
Phone: 
(215) 573-7374
Fax: 
(215) 898-2010
Education: 

Ph.D., Cornell University (1989)
B.A., University of California, Berkeley (1984)

Research Interests: 

In my research group, we use a combination of analytical theory and numerical simulation to study problems in soft matter physics ranging from jamming in glassforming liquids, foams and granular materials, to biophysical self-assembly in actin structures and other systems. The idea of jamming is that slow relaxations in many different systems, ranging from glassforming liquids to foams and granular materials, can be viewed in a common framework. For example, one can define jamming to occur when a system develops a yield stress or extremely long stress relaxation time in a disordered state. According to this definition, many systems jam. Colloidal suspensions of particles are fluid but jam when the pressure or density is raised. Foams and emulsions (concentrated suspensions of deformable bubbles or droplets) flow when a large shear stress is applied, but jam when the shear stress is lowered below the yield stress. Even molecular liquids jam as temperature is lowered or density is increased this is the glass transition. We have been testing the speculation that jamming has a common origin in these different systems, independent of the control parameter varied. On the biophysical side, our research has been motivated recently by the phenomenon of cell crawling. When a cell crawls, its cytoskeleton--a network of filaments (primarily composed of the protein actin) that maintains the mechanical rigidity of the cell and gives the cell its shape--must reorganize in structure. This reorganization is accomplished via polymerization, depolymerization and branching of actin filaments, as well as by crosslinking the filaments together with "linker" proteins. The morphology of the resulting structure is of special interest because it determines the mechanical properties of the network. We are developing dynamical descriptions that capture morphology. In addition, we are exploring models for how actin polymerization gives rise to force generation at the leading edge.

Department of Chemistry

231 S. 34 Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323

215.898.8317 voice | 215.573.2112 fax | web@chem.upenn.edu

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