Professor Narayana Aluru has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), an honor bestowed to no more than one half of one percent of the society’s membership. He was selected by APS’ Division on Computational Physics (DCOMP).
Aluru, a Richard W. Kritzer Distinguished Professor, was elected for “outstanding contributions to the development of multiscale and multiphysics computational techniques and their application to nanofluidics and nano/micro electromechanical systems to accurately predict interfacial phenomena including the prediction of new properties at nanoscale.”
The criterion for election as an APS Fellow is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education. Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers.
Aluru studies problems at the crossroads of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and chemical engineering. His work in the area of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) revealed previously unknown nonlinear dynamic phenomena, such as complex oscillations, period doubling bifurcation to chaos, and U-sequence. He also developed the first bio-MEMS and microfluidics models for the analysis and design of lab-on-a-chip applications, as well as mathematical models for pH- and electric field-responsive hydrogels-materials with potential applications in small-scale sensing and actuation.
He discovered several new physical phenomena through nanofluidics research, including charge inversion, flow reversal, anomalously immobilized water, asymmetric dependence of fluid and ion transport on surface charge, and enhanced conductivity in nanopores. His recent investigations of surface diffusion demonstrated that liquid molecules move as much as 30 times faster over a solid surface when that surfaced is only partially covered by such molecules, and that larger molecules move faster on a partially covered surface than shorter ones do. His other work in nanofluidics includes the multiscale modeling of the transport of water and other ions through membranes, studying the function of biological channels in the membranes of living cells, investigating the use of carbon nanotubes to filter pathogens and other toxins out of water, and exploring the use of carbon and boron nanotubes to speed the removal of salt from water during reverse osmosis.