Research

Maldovan Research Group is a part of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Physics at Georgia Tech.

Our research is focused on thermal energy transport from macro to nanoscales. At increasingly small length scales in technological devices, established approaches to control thermal transport processes are out-of-date. There exist fundamental thermal processes at small length scales that are absent at large length scales. For example, heat conduction is no longer diffusive and it can actually be manipulated using both classical and quantum effects. Our objective is to design novel thermal transport processes and system devices through the fundamental understanding and rationally design of heat flow. Heat flux engineering is critically important for energy-converter systems such as thermoelectrics (which convert heat into electricity) and solar cells (which convert light into electricity), micro and nanoelectronic devices (computers and cell phones), and chemical engineering equipment (heat exchangers and chemical reactors).

Our group is also centered on developing unconventional systems and devices to manipulate mass transport. 10–15% of the world's energy consumption involves industrial processes that separate the components of large quantities of chemical mixtures into pure or purer forms. Research in our group is dedicated to fundamentally investigate new ways to control mass diffusion that can be used to separate chemicals. The design and construction of a new class of artificial membranes that can be utilized to manipulate mass transfer in ways inconceivable with naturally occurring materials constitutes a major part of our research. These engineered “metamaterial” systems have unique potential for selectively guiding different chemical compounds towards different spatial places, thus performing separations. This radically new way to control mass diffusion also provides a new dimension in the ability to design catalytic systems and chemical reactors.

Research in our group involves students and researchers with multiple backgrounds ranging from chemical engineering to materials science and physics.