My name is Wenhao Sun, and I am a Materials Theory Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. I am interested in resolving outstanding fundamental scientific problems that impede the computational materials design process. My research involves using high-throughput density functional theory, applied thermodynamics, and materials informatics to deepen our fundamental understanding of nucleation and growth, while exploring new chemical spaces for functional technological materials.
Computational materials design is inverting the traditional paradigm of materials science and engineering.
My primary research focus is on developing new quantitative and predictive theories of inorganic materials synthesis. This effort was born out of a realization that the computational materials discovery pipeline is no longer bottlenecked by the identification of promising new materials, but rather, by the difficulty of synthesizing predicted compounds in the laboratory. The ability to predict how materials form, and under which conditions, is the final step required to ‘close-the-loop’ in the computational materials discovery and design process.
In January 2020, I will begin as an Assistant Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the University of Michigan.
My Research Interests
- Targeted Synthesis — Navigating Stability and Metastability in the Synthesis of Novel Materials
- Exploratory Synthesis — Mapping structural and chemical relationships across broad materials spaces
- Nucleation — Calculating the surface and bulk energies of critical nuclei in water
- September 2019 - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Staff scientist Wenhao Sun wins first place at the 2019 Berkeley Lab Research SLAM
June 2019 - Phys.org: Collaborative research charts course to hundreds of new nitrides
July 2018 - SLAC News: X-Ray Experiment Confirms Theoretical Model for Making New Materials
November 2016 - LBNL News: A New Understanding of Metastability Clears Path for Next-Generation Materials
March 2015 - MIT News: Mystery solved: Why seashells’ mineral forms differently in seawater