Olivier Delaire

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

The Delaire group investigates atomistic transport processes of energy and charge, and thermodynamics in energy materials. We use a combined experimental and computational approach to understand and control microscopic energy transport for the design of next-generation materials, in particular for sustainable energy applications. Current materials of interest include superionic conductors, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, ferroelectrics/multiferroics, and metal-insulator transitions. Our group's studies provide fundamental insights into  atomic dynamics and elementary excitations in condensed-matter systems (phonons, electrons, spins), their couplings and their effects on macroscopic properties. We probe the microscopic underpinnings of transport and thermodynamics properties by integrating neutron and x-ray scattering, optical spectroscopy, and thermal characterization, together with quantum-mechanical computer simulations.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Associate Professor of Physics
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 144 Hudson Hall, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5310
  • Email Address: olivier.delaire@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • M.Sc. Pennsylvania State University, 2000
  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 2006

Research Interests

Olivier Delaire investigates atomic dynamics in materials, focusing on problems at the interface of Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry. His research group utilizes a range of experimental and computational approaches, including neutron and x-ray scattering techniques, optical spectroscopy, and first-principles quantum materials simulations.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • DOE EARLY CAREER AWARD 2014 “Quasiparticle Couplings in Transport of Heat, Charge, and Spin for Novel Energy Materials”. Department of Energy. 2014
  • World Materials Research Institute Forum Prize, 2nd International Workshop for Young Materials Scientists, Berlin, Germany. World Materials Research Institute. 2010
  • Director's Award, Outstanding Science Team Accomplishment. Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 2009
  • Clifford G. Shull Fellowship. Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 2008
  • Louis Rosen Prize. Los Alamos National Laboratory . 2008
  • Outstanding Ph.D. Research Award. Neutron Scattering Society of America. 2006

Courses Taught

  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 510: Diffraction and Spectrometry of Materials
  • ME 591: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 758S: Curricular Practical Training
  • MSEG 591: Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Lanigan-Atkins, T., X. He, M. J. Krogstad, D. M. Pajerowski, D. L. Abernathy, Guangyong N. M. N. Xu, Zhijun Xu, et al. “Two-dimensional overdamped fluctuations of the soft perovskite lattice in CsPbBr3.” Nat Mater 20, no. 7 (July 2021): 977–83. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-021-00947-y.
  • Niedziela, J. L., D. Bansal, J. Ding, T. Lanigan-Atkins, C. Li, A. F. May, H. Wang, et al. “Controlling phonon lifetimes via sublattice disordering in AgBiSe2.” Physical Review Materials 4, no. 10 (October 12, 2020). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.4.105402.
  • Lanigan-Atkins, T., S. Yang, J. L. Niedziela, D. Bansal, A. F. May, A. A. Puretzky, J. Y. Y. Lin, et al. “Extended anharmonic collapse of phonon dispersions in SnS and SnSe.” Nature Communications 11, no. 1 (September 4, 2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18121-4.
  • Ding, Jingxuan, Jennifer L. Niedziela, Dipanshu Bansal, Jiuling Wang, Xing He, Andrew F. May, Georg Ehlers, et al. “Anharmonic lattice dynamics and superionic transition in AgCrSe 2.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, no. 8 (February 25, 2020): 3930–37. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1913916117.
  • He, Xing, Dipanshu Bansal, Barry Winn, Songxue Chi, Lynn Boatner, and Olivier Delaire. “Anharmonic Eigenvectors and Acoustic Phonon Disappearance in Quantum Paraelectric SrTiO3.” Physical Review Letters 124, no. 14 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.124.145901.
  • Bansal, Dipanshu, Jennifer L. Niedziela, Stuart Calder, Tyson Lanigan-Atkins, Ryan Rawl, Ayman H. Said, Douglas L. Abernathy, Alexander I. Kolesnikov, Haidong Zhou, and Olivier Delaire. “Magnetically driven phonon instability enables the metal–insulator transition in h-FeS.” Nature Physics, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-020-0857-1.
  • Bansal, D., J. L. Niedziela, X. He, T. Lanigan-Atkins, A. Said, A. Alatas, D. L. Abernathy, et al. “Lattice dynamics of the hybrid improper ferroelectrics (Ca,Sr)3Ti2 O7.” Physical Review B 100, no. 21 (December 6, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.100.214304.
  • Leiner, J. C., H. O. Jeschke, R. Valentí, S. Zhang, A. T. Savici, J. Y. Y. Lin, M. B. Stone, et al. “Frustrated Magnetism in Mott Insulating (V1-xCrx)2 O3.” Physical Review X 9, no. 1 (February 21, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.9.011035.
  • Niedziela, J. L., D. Bansal, A. F. May, J. Ding, T. Lanigan-Atkins, G. Ehlers, D. L. Abernathy, A. Said, and O. Delaire. “Selective breakdown of phonon quasiparticles across superionic transition in CuCrSe 2.” Nature Physics 15, no. 1 (January 1, 2019): 73–78. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0298-2.
  • Bansal, D., J. L. Niedziela, R. Sinclair, V. O. Garlea, D. L. Abernathy, S. Chi, Y. Ren, H. Zhou, and O. Delaire. “Momentum-resolved observations of the phonon instability driving geometric improper ferroelectricity in yttrium manganite.” Nature Communications 9, no. 1 (December 1, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02309-2.
  • Wall, Simon, Shan Yang, Luciana Vidas, Matthieu Chollet, James M. Glownia, Michael Kozina, Tetsuo Katayama, et al. “Ultrafast disordering of vanadium dimers in photoexcited VO 2.” Science 362, no. 6414 (November 2, 2018): 572–76. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aau3873.
  • Liu, K., S. Lee, S. Yang, O. Delaire, and J. Wu. “Recent progresses on physics and applications of vanadium dioxide.” Materials Today 21, no. 8 (October 1, 2018): 875–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mattod.2018.03.029.
  • Muy, Sokseiha, John Bachman, Livia Giordano, Douglas Abernathy, Dipanshu Bansal, Olivier Delaire, Ryoji Kanno, Filippo Maglia, Saskia Lupart, and Yang Shao-Horn. “Mobility and stability descriptors of lithium ion conductors based on lattice dynamics.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 255. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2018.
  • Luo, C., D. Bansal, J. Li, D. Viehland, B. Winn, Y. Ren, X. Li, H. Luo, and O. Delaire. “Neutron and x-ray scattering study of phonon dispersion and diffuse scattering in (Na,Bi)Ti O3-xBaTi O3 single crystals near the morphotropic phase boundary.” Physical Review B 96, no. 17 (November 10, 2017). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.96.174108.
  • Bansal, D., J. L. Niedziela, A. F. May, A. Said, G. Ehlers, D. L. Abernathy, A. Huq, M. Kirkham, H. Zhou, and O. Delaire. “Lattice dynamics and thermal transport in multiferroic CuCrO2.” Physical Review B 95, no. 5 (February 9, 2017). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.95.054306.
  • Lee, Sangwook, Kedar Hippalgaonkar, Fan Yang, Jiawang Hong, Changhyun Ko, Joonki Suh, Kai Liu, et al. “Anomalously low electronic thermal conductivity in metallic vanadium dioxide.” Science (New York, N.Y.) 355, no. 6323 (January 2017): 371–74. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aag0410.
  • Bao, F., R. Archibald, D. Bansal, and O. Delaire. “Hierarchical optimization for neutron scattering problems.” Journal of Computational Physics 315 (June 15, 2016): 39–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcp.2016.03.017.
  • Luo, C., Y. Wang, W. Ge, J. Li, D. Viehland, O. Delaire, X. Li, and H. Luo. “Hierarchical domain structure of lead-free piezoelectric (Na1/2 Bi1/2)TiO3-(K1/2 Bi1/2)TiO3 single crystals.” Journal of Applied Physics 119, no. 17 (May 4, 2016). https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4948478.
  • May, A. F., O. Delaire, J. L. Niedziela, E. Lara-Curzio, M. A. Susner, D. L. Abernathy, M. Kirkham, and M. A. McGuire. “Structural phase transition and phonon instability in Cu12Sb4S13.” Physical Review B 93, no. 6 (February 2016). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.93.064104.
  • Li, C. W., J. Hong, A. F. May, D. Bansal, S. Chi, T. Hong, G. Ehlers, and O. Delaire. “Orbitally driven giant phonon anharmonicity in SnSe.” Nature Physics 11, no. 12 (December 1, 2015): 1063–69. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3492.
  • Bansal, D., C. W. Li, A. H. Said, D. L. Abernathy, J. Yan, and O. Delaire. “Electron-phonon coupling and thermal transport in the thermoelectric compound Mo3Sb(7−x)Te(x).” Physical Review B 92, no. 21 (December 2015). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.92.214301.
  • Delaire, O., I. I. Al-Qasir, A. F. May, C. W. Li, B. C. Sales, J. L. Niedziela, J. Ma, M. Matsuda, D. L. Abernathy, and T. Berlijn. “Heavy-impurity resonance, hybridization, and phonon spectral functions in Fe(1−x)M(x)Si (M=Ir, Os).” Physical Review B 91, no. 9 (March 2015). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.91.094307.
  • Chen, Xi, Annie Weathers, Jesús Carrete, Saikat Mukhopadhyay, Olivier Delaire, Derek A. Stewart, Natalio Mingo, et al. “Twisting phonons in complex crystals with quasi-one-dimensional substructures.” Nature Communications 6 (January 2015): 6723. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7723.
  • Budai, John D., Jiawang Hong, Michael E. Manley, Eliot D. Specht, Chen W. Li, Jonathan Z. Tischler, Douglas L. Abernathy, et al. “Metallization of vanadium dioxide driven by large phonon entropy.” Nature 515, no. 7528 (November 2014): 535–39. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13865.
  • Li, C. W., O. Hellman, J. Ma, A. F. May, H. B. Cao, X. Chen, A. D. Christianson, et al. “Phonon self-energy and origin of anomalous neutron scattering spectra in SnTe and PbTe thermoelectrics.” Physical Review Letters 112, no. 17 (May 2014): 175501. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.112.175501.
  • Manley, M. E., J. W. Lynn, D. L. Abernathy, E. D. Specht, O. Delaire, A. R. Bishop, R. Sahul, and J. D. Budai. “Phonon localization drives polar nanoregions in a relaxor ferroelectric.” Nature Communications 5 (January 2014): 3683. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4683.
  • Ma, J., O. Delaire, A. F. May, C. E. Carlton, M. A. McGuire, L. H. VanBebber, D. L. Abernathy, et al. “Glass-like phonon scattering from a spontaneous nanostructure in AgSbTe2.” Nature Nanotechnology 8, no. 6 (June 2013): 445–51. https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2013.95.
  • Delaire, O., M. B. Stone, J. Ma, A. Huq, D. Gout, C. Brown, K. F. Wang, and Z. F. Ren. “Anharmonic phonons and magnons in BiFeO 3.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 85, no. 6 (February 13, 2012). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.85.064405.
  • Delaire, O., J. Ma, K. Marty, A. F. May, M. A. McGuire, M. -. H. Du, D. J. Singh, et al. “Giant anharmonic phonon scattering in PbTe.” Nature Materials 10, no. 8 (June 2011): 614–19. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3035.
  • Delaire, O., K. Marty, M. B. Stone, P. R. C. Kent, M. S. Lucas, D. L. Abernathy, D. Mandrus, and B. C. Sales. “Phonon softening and metallization of a narrow-gap semiconductor by thermal disorder.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, no. 12 (March 22, 2011): 4725–30. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1014869108.
  • Delaire, O., M. S. Lucas, A. M. Dos Santos, A. Subedi, A. S. Sefat, M. A. McGuire, L. Mauger, et al. “Temperature and pressure dependence of the Fe-specific phonon density of states in Ba ( Fe1-x Cox)2As2.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 81, no. 9 (March 4, 2010). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.81.094504.
  • Christianson, A. D., M. D. Lumsden, O. Delaire, M. B. Stone, D. L. Abernathy, M. A. McGuire, A. S. Sefat, et al. “Phonon density of states of LaFeAsO(1-x)Fx.” Physical Review Letters 101, no. 15 (October 2008): 157004. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.101.157004.
  • Delaire, O., M. S. Lucas, J. A. Muñoz, M. Kresch, and B. Fultz. “Adiabatic electron-phonon interaction and high-temperature thermodynamics of A15 compounds.” Physical Review Letters 101, no. 10 (September 2008): 105504. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.101.105504.
  • Delaire, O., and B. Fultz. “Charge redistribution and phonon entropy of vanadium alloys.” Physical Review Letters 97, no. 24 (December 2006): 245701. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.97.245701.
  • Yue, A. F., A. B. Papandrew, O. Delaire, B. Fultz, Z. Chowdhuri, R. M. Dimeo, and D. A. Neumann. “Vibrations of micro-eV energies in nanocrystalline microstructures.” Physical Review Letters 93, no. 20 (November 2004): 205501. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.93.205501.
  • Delaire, O., T. Swan-Wood, and B. Fultz. “Negative entropy of mixing for vanadium-platinum solutions.” Physical Review Letters 93, no. 18 (October 2004): 185704. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.93.185704.