Women in Quantum Science and Engineering Lecture Series: Noa Marom
Upcoming Talk: Tuesday, March 21 at 11:00 a.m.
Success by Design: Noa Marom
An artist her entire life, today Noa Marom turns her attention to designing better materials
As a child growing up in Israel, Assistant Professor Noa Marom always had an interest in science and the natural world. Her father, an engineer, encouraged this passion. “Sometimes, instead of telling me a bedtime story, my dad would answer my questions about nature. I would ask about clouds, volcanoes, earthquakes, dinosaurs, and— when I was a bit older—atoms, stars, and relativity,” Marom recalls. “This scientific education was never forced on me. I was a curious child and always had a million questions about the world around me. I was fortunate to have someone with the patience to answer these questions.”
At the same time, Marom always loved to draw. “I’ve been creating art since I was old enough to hold a crayon,” she says. Today, her website at MSE (www.noamarom.com) is populated with her whimsical and inventive drawings. While she once dreamed of being an artist or fashion designer, now Marom has found the perfect application for her dual passions: designing custom materials for specific applications.
This energetic professor, who joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering back in June, uses computer simulations to predict the properties of materials, based solely on the knowledge of their elemental composition and the laws of quantum mechanics.
“A great deal of a product’s performance depends on the materials it is composed of,” Marom explains. “For example, if you’re trying to design the highest-performing solar cell, you need to begin with a material that absorbs as much of the solar spectrum as possible. My research is focused on optimizing the structure and properties of materials so they contribute to a stated performance goal.”
This research dovetails perfectly with her natural curiosity and creativity. “What I love about my work is the high level of intellectual challenge and the chance to explore interesting problems,” says Marom. “I am constantly thinking about new materials strategies and asking ‘what if’ questions.”
Read the original article here.
Fluctuations of the mind:
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Biography: Noa Marom
Molecular crystals have applications in nonlinear optics, organic electronics, and particularly in pharmaceuticals because most drugs are marketed as crystals of the pharmaceutically active ingredient. Molecular crystals are held together by van der Waals (vdW) interactions (also known as dispersion interactions) between molecules. Unlike chemical bonds, van der Waals interactions do not involve overlap of electron densities. Rather, they arise from quantum fluctuations of the electron density that lead to the formation of dipoles and higher order multipoles. The electrostatic interaction between these generates a weak but long-ranged attractive force.
Owing to the weak nature of van der Waals interactions, a given molecule may crystallize in more than one structure. This is known as polymorphism. Polymorphic forms of the same molecule may possess markedly different physical and chemical properties. Crystal structure may profoundly influence the bioavailability, toxicity, manufacturability, and stability of drugs. In the context of technological applications, crystal structure affects the electronic and optical properties.
We use computer simulations to perform structure prediction and design of molecular crystals from first principles, based solely on the knowledge of their elemental composition and the laws of quantum mechanics. We develop genetic algorithms, which are guided to the most promising regions of the configuration space by the evolutionary principle of survival of the fittest. Offspring are generated by combining structural “genes” of the fittest structures in the population to propagate desirable features, while random mutations are employed to maintain diversity. We are particularly interested in optimizing crystal packing for high-performance organic electronics and solar cells.
Women in Quantum Science and Engineering Lecture Series
Tuesday, February 7, O'Hara Student Center
Tuesday, February 28, Allen Hall 321
Tuesday, March 7, Allen Hall 321
Tuesday, March 21, Allen Hall 321
Wednesday, April 5, Benedum Hall 102
Tuesday, April 11, Eberly Hall 307
Tuesday, April 18, Eberly Hall 307