L. D. Marks Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Research Interests

We need to develop the paradigms for materials when the carbon cost becomes a critical issue. Much of the research we do focuses on some of the fundamental scientific questions central to many energy related problems, for instance:

  • How do we engineer a concrete/cement that requires less energy to produce?
  • How do we reduce frictional losses, which are estimated to cost about 5% of the GDP of most countries?
  • How do we improve on catalysts, for instance increasing the selectivity of partial oxidation reactions?
  • Can we improve on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells so we can produce electricity directly from hydrocarbons with high efficiency?
  • How do we understand oxide surfaces, and as we do, how do we engineer desirable surface structures?

Current projects include

  • Catalysis: The work we do combines a wide range of different techniques from growing single crystals through solving the surface structures, examining how the materials behave as catalysis in practice to theoretical modelling of the surfaces. Our aim is to bridge what is called the "Materials Gap," connecting what is taking place on large, single crystal surfaces under controlled conditions with controlled nanoparticles of oxides used as catalysts.
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: The basic premise of this project is that the significantly enhanced electronic and ionic transport properties of nano-scale oxides, combined with the high surface area of nano-porous materials, offer an opportunity to address electrode polarization and conductivity issues limiting low-temperature SOFC performance.
  • Density Functional Modelling: A critical component for understanding the properties of materials, and enabling the development of new materials is the ability to characterize them in detail as well as understand why they form. While this may appear to be a combination of two disparate concepts, in many respects they are not and should be considered as synergistic. Approached from the characterization side, better tools allow one to answer more fundamental scientific questions about why a particular structure is formed. Approached from the other side, the underlying scientific questions can drive what types of characterization is needed. Frequently the underlying science can be best revealed by theoretical calculations, particularly density functional calculations, which, despite some limitations, can probe many important questions.
  • Nanotribology: The importance of controlling friction and wear through structure, materials selection and lubrication was realized since the time of the construction of the pyramids. It was first formulated and documented scientifically by Leonardo Da Vinci 200 years before Newton defined the laws of force and mechanics, making tribology one of the oldest fields of scientific study. Despite this, only a fragmented understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of friction exists.
  • Nanoplasmonics: Nanoplasmonics is the study of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), i.e. collective electron oscillations, in nanoparticles. By using correlated single particle spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy, it is possible to study the effect of shape and size on plasmonic properties without having to use ensemble averaged data.

Selected Publications

L. Hu, C. Wang, S. Lee, R.E. Winans, L.D. Marks, and K.R. Poeppelmeier, "SrTiO3 Nanocuboids from a Lamellar Microemulsion," Chemistry of Materials, 25 (2013) 378.

Chen C-C, Zhu C, White ER, Chiu C-Y, Scott MC, Regan BC, Marks LD, Huang Y, Miao J., "Three-dimensional imaging of dislocations in a nanoparticle at atomic resolution," Nature 2013; 496(7443):74-77.

Yu Jin Shin, Emilie Ringe, Michelle L. Personick, M. Fernanda Cardinal, Chad A. Mirkin, Laurence D. Marks, Richard P. Van Duyne, and Mark C. Hersam, "Centrifugal Shape Sorting and Optical Response of Polyhedral Gold Nanoparticles," Advanced Materials 25: 4023-27.

A. Grubisic, E. Ringe, C.M. Cobley, Y.N. Xia, L.D. Marks, R.P. Van Duyne, and D.J. Nesbitt, "Plasmonic Near-Electric Field Enhancement Effects in Ultrafast Photoelectron Emission: Correlated Spatial and Laser Polarization Microscopy Studies of Individual Ag Nanocubes," Nano Letters, 12 (2012) 4823.

Ringe, E.; Langille, M. R.; Sohn, K.; Zhang, J.; Huang, J. X.; Mirkin, C. A.; Van Duyne, R. P.; Marks, L. D., "Plasmon Length: A Universal Parameter to Describe Size Effects in Gold Nanoparticles," Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 3 (11), 1479-1483 (2012).

Liao, Y. F.; Marks, L. D., "On the alignment for precession electron diffraction,"Ultramicroscopy 117, 1-6 (2012).

Kienzle, D. M.; Marks, L. D., "Surface transmission electron diffraction for SrTiO3 surfaces," CrystEngComm 14, 7833-7839 (2012).

Ringe, E.; Van Duyne, R. P.; Marks, L. D., "Wulff Construction for Alloy Nanoparticles," Nano Letters 11 (8), 3399-3403 (2011).

Marshall, M. S. J.; Becerra-Toledo, A. E.; Marks, L. D.; Castell, M. R., "Surface and Defect Structure of Oxide Nanowires on SrTiO(3)," Phys. Rev. Lett. 107 (8), 086102 (2011).

Liao, Y.; Pourzal, R.; Wimmer, M. A.; Jacobs, J. J.; Fischer, A.; Marks, L. D., "Graphitic Tribological Layers in Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements," Science 334 (6063), 1687-1690 (2011).

Kienzle, D. M.; Becerra-Toledo, A. E.; Marks, L. D., "Vacant-Site Octahedral Tilings on SrTiO3 (001), the (root 13 x root 13)R33.7 degrees Surface, and Related Structures," Phys. Rev. Lett. 106 (17), 176102 (2011).

Enterkin, J. A.; Poeppelmeier, K. R.; Marks, L. D., "Oriented Catalytic Platinum Nanoparticles on High Surface Area Strontium Titanate Nanocuboid," Nano Letters11 (3), 993-997 (2011).