Glasses are ubiquitous in nature and the nature of glassy states as well as glass transition is one of the major unsolved problems in condensed matter physics. According to Nobel laureate PW Anderson: “The deepest and most interesting unsolved problem in solid-state theory is probably the theory of the nature of glass and the glass transition”. Many food items like ketchup; cosmetic products; toothpaste etc. and metallic glasses are examples of glassy materials whose rheological properties matter in our daily life. A better understanding of plasticity or yielding behaviour in these materials will lead to the development of better materials for future use. On the other hand, many important devices are becoming smaller and smaller in size and devices at nano-scales are becoming essential in life. Nanomoulding with metallic glasses is reshaping the device fabrication at nano-scale. But It is rather unclear how plasticity in these materials at nano-scale will affect the mechanical stability of the material. The role played by glassy dynamics in bio-preservation is also an urgent problem that needs attention for its immense importance in the food and drug industry apart from fundamental curiosity. Thus, detailed understanding of glassy dynamics and the plasticity in glassy solids are of general interest amongst the physics community as well as in industry. My group tries to understand some of these puzzles of the glass transition and mechanical properties of amorphous solids within the framework of statistical physics.
Some of the research directions we are pursuing are :
- Looking for elusive order in disordered system and the associated correlation length.
- Ideal glassy states in systems with quenched disorder and their connection to spin glass physics.
- Glasses with metallicity : physics of metallic glasses
- Cavitation in amorphous solids and their implications on the mechanical properties of these disordered solids.
- Brittleness and Ductility of amorphous solids – is there a transition?
- Amorphization Transition : how to transform a crystal in to amorphous states and can one learn something from this transition?