The goal of this theme is to understand and develop control of how materials move in response to an electric field to deliver new functionalities in the field of electromechanical phenomena and to develop new user capabilities. To achieve this goal, three specific aims will guide the research tailored towards basic understanding and manipulation of electromechanical phenomena:
- Understanding fundamentals of electric field induced mass flow
- Elucidation of electromechanical phenomena under dimensional confinement
- Control of electromechanical phenomena through external interfaces
The work in this theme relies heavily on achievements within “Electronic and Ionic Functionality at the Nanoscale,” in particular the work on materials functionality using advanced modalities of scanning probe microscopies. While the previous work focused on understanding the coupling between electronic and ionic functionalities, the new emphasis here is on electric field induced mass transport (including ionic motion), and its effect on electric to mechanical energy conversion relevant to many technologies in the area of information and energy spanning solids, polymers, and liquids. Previous work within “Functional Polymer and Hybrid Architectures” started to address electric field responsive polymers, which will play an even stronger role here. Finally, “Collective Phenomena in Nanophases” investigated droplet transport and 2D materials, which will now be investigated further in the framework of electric field driven processes.