Michael S. Dimitriyev, Ph.D.
Hello! I'm Mike. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher working with Prof. Greg Grason at the UMass Amherst Department of Polymer Science and Engineering. Before then, I was a postdoc in Prof. Elisabetta Matsumoto's group at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics, where I did my Ph.D. work with Prof. Paul Goldbart. I'm interested in the (statistical)mechanics of stringy soft materials, from polymer networks to knitted fabric.
I'm also a devoted cat dad.
Let's start with a broad description. I study soft materials as a theorist, using a variety of analytical and computational approaches. By "soft" I mean that the materials are easily deformable -- they can dramatically change their shape under modest stress. This stress can come from many sources, both external and internal. Narrowing in a bit, my primary focus is on rigid materials, which hold their shape under stress, unlike a fluid that flows when stressed. From a materials science perspective, such materials are incredibly useful (think rubber).
From a physics perspective, soft materials provide a laboratory for studying how microstructure (such as the arrangement of molecules) affects macroscopic response (such as stiffness). I'm particularly interested in materials that are formed from linkages between slender or string-like constituents. These slender elements, from polymers to yarn, possess their own properties of rigidity and shape. When linked together to form network structures, they give rise to materials that tend to be remarkably soft, yet robust, from rubber to knitted sweaters. I'm interested in how the details of these network structures, such as their linking topology and the mechanics and thermodynamics of the underlying elements, conspire to create a range of macroscopic material properties. On the molecular scale, I study polymer systems, such as polymer gels and network phases of block copolymers. On the everyday scale, I study knitted fabric. To learn more, see my Research page [under development].