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Olivier Delaire


Associate Professor of the Thomas Lord Department 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 the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Associate Professor of Physics
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 144 Hudson Hall, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 5310
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


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

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
  • Louis Rosen Prize. Los Alamos National Laboratory . 2008
  • Clifford G. Shull Fellowship. Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 2008
  • Outstanding Ph.D. Research Award. Neutron Scattering Society of America. 2006

Courses Taught

  • PHYSICS 995: Graduate Training Internship
  • MSEG 591: Independent Study
  • ME 758S: Curricular Practical Training
  • ME 591: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 510: Diffraction and Spectrometry of Materials
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • de la Peña Muñoz, GA; Correa, AA; Yang, S; Delaire, O; Huang, Y; Johnson, AS; Katayama, T; Krapivin, V; Pastor, E; Reis, DA; Teitelbaum, S; Vidas, L; Wall, S; Trigo, M, Ultrafast lattice disordering can be accelerated by electronic collisional forces, Nature Physics, vol 19 no. 10 (2023), pp. 1489-1494 [10.1038/s41567-023-02118-z] [abs].
  • Huang, Y; Teitelbaum, S; Yang, S; De la Peña, G; Sato, T; Chollet, M; Zhu, D; Niedziela, JL; Bansal, D; May, AF; Lindenberg, AM; Delaire, O; Trigo, M; Reis, DA, Nonthermal Bonding Origin of a Novel Photoexcited Lattice Instability in SnSe., Physical review letters, vol 131 no. 15 (2023) [10.1103/physrevlett.131.156902] [abs].
  • Ren, Q; Gupta, MK; Jin, M; Ding, J; Wu, J; Chen, Z; Lin, S; Fabelo, O; Rodríguez-Velamazán, JA; Kofu, M; Nakajima, K; Wolf, M; Zhu, F; Wang, J; Cheng, Z; Wang, G; Tong, X; Pei, Y; Delaire, O; Ma, J, Extreme phonon anharmonicity underpins superionic diffusion and ultralow thermal conductivity in argyrodite Ag8SnSe6., Nature materials, vol 22 no. 8 (2023), pp. 999-1006 [10.1038/s41563-023-01560-x] [abs].
  • Chen, L; Mao, C; Chung, J-H; Stone, MB; Kolesnikov, AI; Wang, X; Murai, N; Gao, B; Delaire, O; Dai, P, Anisotropic magnon damping by zero-temperature quantum fluctuations in ferromagnetic CrGeTe3., Nature communications, vol 13 no. 1 (2022) [10.1038/s41467-022-31612-w] [abs].
  • Li, J; Wu, L; Yang, S; Jin, X; Wang, W; Tao, J; Boatner, L; Babzien, M; Fedurin, M; Palmer, M; Yin, W; Delaire, O; Zhu, Y, Direct Detection of V-V Atom Dimerization and Rotation Dynamic Pathways upon Ultrafast Photoexcitation in VO2, Physical Review X, vol 12 no. 2 (2022) [10.1103/PhysRevX.12.021032] [abs].
  • Gupta, MK; Ding, J; Bansal, D; Abernathy, DL; Ehlers, G; Osti, NC; Zeier, WG; Delaire, O, Strongly Anharmonic Phonons and Their Role in Superionic Diffusion and Ultralow Thermal Conductivity of Cu7PSe6, Advanced Energy Materials, vol 12 no. 23 (2022) [10.1002/aenm.202200596] [abs].
  • Huang, Y; Yang, S; Teitelbaum, S; De La Peña, G; Sato, T; Chollet, M; Zhu, D; Niedziela, JL; Bansal, D; May, AF; Lindenberg, AM; Delaire, O; Reis, DA; Trigo, M, Observation of a Novel Lattice Instability in Ultrafast Photoexcited SnSe, Physical Review X, vol 12 no. 1 (2022) [10.1103/PhysRevX.12.011029] [abs].
  • Gupta, MK; Ding, J; Osti, NC; Abernathy, DL; Arnold, W; Wang, H; Hood, Z; Delaire, O, Fast Na diffusion and anharmonic phonon dynamics in superionic Na3PS4, Energy and Environmental Science, vol 14 no. 12 (2021), pp. 6554-6563 [10.1039/d1ee01509e] [abs].
  • Rettie, AJE; Ding, J; Zhou, X; Johnson, MJ; Malliakas, CD; Osti, NC; Chung, DY; Osborn, R; Delaire, O; Rosenkranz, S; Kanatzidis, MG, A two-dimensional type I superionic conductor., Nature materials, vol 20 no. 12 (2021), pp. 1683-1688 [10.1038/s41563-021-01053-9] [abs].
  • Lanigan-Atkins, T; He, X; Krogstad, MJ; Pajerowski, DM; Abernathy, DL; Xu, GNMN; Xu, Z; Chung, D-Y; Kanatzidis, MG; Rosenkranz, S; Osborn, R; Delaire, O, Two-dimensional overdamped fluctuations of the soft perovskite lattice in CsPbBr3., Nat Mater, vol 20 no. 7 (2021), pp. 977-983 [10.1038/s41563-021-00947-y] [abs].
  • Ding, J; Lanigan-Atkins, T; Calderón-Cueva, M; Banerjee, A; Abernathy, DL; Said, A; Zevalkink, A; Delaire, O, Soft anharmonic phonons and ultralow thermal conductivity in Mg3(Sb, Bi)2 thermoelectrics., Science advances, vol 7 no. 21 (2021) [10.1126/sciadv.abg1449] [abs].
  • Niedziela, JL; Bansal, D; Ding, J; Lanigan-Atkins, T; Li, C; May, AF; Wang, H; Lin, JYY; Abernathy, DL; Ehlers, G; Huq, A; Parshall, D; Lynn, JW; Delaire, O, Controlling phonon lifetimes via sublattice disordering in AgBiSe2, Physical Review Materials, vol 4 no. 10 (2020) [10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.4.105402] [abs].
  • Lanigan-Atkins, T; Yang, S; Niedziela, JL; Bansal, D; May, AF; Puretzky, AA; Lin, JYY; Pajerowski, DM; Hong, T; Chi, S; Ehlers, G; Delaire, O, Extended anharmonic collapse of phonon dispersions in SnS and SnSe, Nature Communications, vol 11 no. 1 (2020) [10.1038/s41467-020-18121-4] [abs].
  • Ding, J; Niedziela, JL; Bansal, D; Wang, J; He, X; May, AF; Ehlers, G; Abernathy, DL; Said, A; Alatas, A; Ren, Y; Arya, G; Delaire, O, Anharmonic lattice dynamics and superionic transition in AgCrSe
    , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 117 no. 8 (2020), pp. 3930-3937 [10.1073/pnas.1913916117] [abs].
  • Bansal, D; Niedziela, JL; Calder, S; Lanigan-Atkins, T; Rawl, R; Said, AH; Abernathy, DL; Kolesnikov, AI; Zhou, H; Delaire, O, Magnetically driven phonon instability enables the metal–insulator transition in h-FeS, Nature Physics (2020) [10.1038/s41567-020-0857-1] [abs].
  • He, X; Bansal, D; Winn, B; Chi, S; Boatner, L; Delaire, O, Anharmonic Eigenvectors and Acoustic Phonon Disappearance in Quantum Paraelectric
    , Physical Review Letters, vol 124 no. 14 (2020) [10.1103/physrevlett.124.145901] [abs].
  • Bansal, D; Niedziela, JL; He, X; Lanigan-Atkins, T; Said, A; Alatas, A; Abernathy, DL; Ren, Y; Gao, B; Cheong, SW; Delaire, O, Lattice dynamics of the hybrid improper ferroelectrics (Ca,Sr)3Ti2 O7, Physical Review B, vol 100 no. 21 (2019) [10.1103/PhysRevB.100.214304] [abs].
  • Leiner, JC; Jeschke, HO; Valentí, R; Zhang, S; Savici, AT; Lin, JYY; Stone, MB; Lumsden, MD; Hong, J; Delaire, O; Bao, W; Broholm, CL, Frustrated Magnetism in Mott Insulating (V1-xCrx)2 O3, Physical Review X, vol 9 no. 1 (2019) [10.1103/PhysRevX.9.011035] [abs].
  • Niedziela, JL; Bansal, D; May, AF; Ding, J; Lanigan-Atkins, T; Ehlers, G; Abernathy, DL; Said, A; Delaire, O, Selective breakdown of phonon quasiparticles across superionic transition in CuCrSe 2, Nature Physics, vol 15 no. 1 (2019), pp. 73-78 [10.1038/s41567-018-0298-2] [abs].
  • Bansal, D; Niedziela, JL; Sinclair, R; Garlea, VO; Abernathy, DL; Chi, S; Ren, Y; Zhou, H; Delaire, O, Momentum-resolved observations of the phonon instability driving geometric improper ferroelectricity in yttrium manganite, Nature Communications, vol 9 no. 1 (2018) [10.1038/s41467-017-02309-2] [abs].
  • Wall, S; Yang, S; Vidas, L; Chollet, M; Glownia, JM; Kozina, M; Katayama, T; Henighan, T; Jiang, M; Miller, TA; Reis, DA; Boatner, LA; Delaire, O; Trigo, M, Ultrafast disordering of vanadium dimers in photoexcited VO
    , Science, vol 362 no. 6414 (2018), pp. 572-576 [10.1126/science.aau3873] [abs].
  • Liu, K; Lee, S; Yang, S; Delaire, O; Wu, J, Recent progresses on physics and applications of vanadium dioxide, Materials Today, vol 21 no. 8 (2018), pp. 875-896 [10.1016/j.mattod.2018.03.029] [abs].
  • Muy, S; Bachman, J; Giordano, L; Abernathy, D; Bansal, D; Delaire, O; Kanno, R; Maglia, F; Lupart, S; Shao-Horn, Y, Mobility and stability descriptors of lithium ion conductors based on lattice dynamics, ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, vol 255 (2018) [abs].
  • Luo, C; Bansal, D; Li, J; Viehland, D; Winn, B; Ren, Y; Li, X; Luo, H; Delaire, O, 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, vol 96 no. 17 (2017) [10.1103/PhysRevB.96.174108] [abs].
  • Bansal, D; Niedziela, JL; May, AF; Said, A; Ehlers, G; Abernathy, DL; Huq, A; Kirkham, M; Zhou, H; Delaire, O, Lattice dynamics and thermal transport in multiferroic CuCrO2, Physical Review B, vol 95 no. 5 (2017) [10.1103/PhysRevB.95.054306] [abs].
  • Lee, S; Hippalgaonkar, K; Yang, F; Hong, J; Ko, C; Suh, J; Liu, K; Wang, K; Urban, JJ; Zhang, X; Dames, C; Hartnoll, SA; Delaire, O; Wu, J, Anomalously low electronic thermal conductivity in metallic vanadium dioxide., Science (New York, N.Y.), vol 355 no. 6323 (2017), pp. 371-374 [10.1126/science.aag0410] [abs].
  • Bao, F; Archibald, R; Bansal, D; Delaire, O, Hierarchical optimization for neutron scattering problems, Journal of Computational Physics, vol 315 (2016), pp. 39-39 [10.1016/] [abs].
  • Luo, C; Wang, Y; Ge, W; Li, J; Viehland, D; Delaire, O; Li, X; Luo, H, Hierarchical domain structure of lead-free piezoelectric (Na1/2 Bi1/2)TiO3-(K1/2 Bi1/2)TiO3 single crystals, Journal of Applied Physics, vol 119 no. 17 (2016) [10.1063/1.4948478] [abs].
  • May, AF; Delaire, O; Niedziela, JL; Lara-Curzio, E; Susner, MA; Abernathy, DL; Kirkham, M; McGuire, MA, Structural phase transition and phonon instability in Cu12Sb4S13, Physical Review B, vol 93 no. 6 (2016) [10.1103/PhysRevB.93.064104] [abs].
  • Li, CW; Hong, J; May, AF; Bansal, D; Chi, S; Hong, T; Ehlers, G; Delaire, O, Orbitally driven giant phonon anharmonicity in SnSe, Nature Physics, vol 11 no. 12 (2015), pp. 1063-1069 [10.1038/nphys3492] [abs].
  • Bansal, D; Li, CW; Said, AH; Abernathy, DL; Yan, J; Delaire, O, Electron-phonon coupling and thermal transport in the thermoelectric compound Mo3Sb(7−x)Te(x), Physical Review B, vol 92 no. 21 (2015) [10.1103/PhysRevB.92.214301] [abs].
  • Chen, X; Weathers, A; Carrete, J; Mukhopadhyay, S; Delaire, O; Stewart, DA; Mingo, N; Girard, SN; Ma, J; Abernathy, DL; Yan, J; Sheshka, R; Sellan, DP; Meng, F; Jin, S; Zhou, J; Shi, L, Twisting phonons in complex crystals with quasi-one-dimensional substructures., Nature communications, vol 6 (2015) [10.1038/ncomms7723] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Al-Qasir, II; May, AF; Li, CW; Sales, BC; Niedziela, JL; Ma, J; Matsuda, M; Abernathy, DL; Berlijn, T, Heavy-impurity resonance, hybridization, and phonon spectral functions in Fe(1−x)M(x)Si (M=Ir, Os), Physical Review B, vol 91 no. 9 (2015) [10.1103/PhysRevB.91.094307] [abs].
  • Budai, JD; Hong, J; Manley, ME; Specht, ED; Li, CW; Tischler, JZ; Abernathy, DL; Said, AH; Leu, BM; Boatner, LA; McQueeney, RJ; Delaire, O, Metallization of vanadium dioxide driven by large phonon entropy., Nature, vol 515 no. 7528 (2014), pp. 535-539 [10.1038/nature13865] [abs].
  • Li, CW; Hellman, O; Ma, J; May, AF; Cao, HB; Chen, X; Christianson, AD; Ehlers, G; Singh, DJ; Sales, BC; Delaire, O, Phonon self-energy and origin of anomalous neutron scattering spectra in SnTe and PbTe thermoelectrics., Physical review letters, vol 112 no. 17 (2014) [10.1103/physrevlett.112.175501] [abs].
  • Manley, ME; Lynn, JW; Abernathy, DL; Specht, ED; Delaire, O; Bishop, AR; Sahul, R; Budai, JD, Phonon localization drives polar nanoregions in a relaxor ferroelectric., Nature communications, vol 5 (2014) [10.1038/ncomms4683] [abs].
  • Ma, J; Delaire, O; May, AF; Carlton, CE; McGuire, MA; VanBebber, LH; Abernathy, DL; Ehlers, G; Hong, T; Huq, A; Tian, W; Keppens, VM; Shao-Horn, Y; Sales, BC, Glass-like phonon scattering from a spontaneous nanostructure in AgSbTe2., Nature nanotechnology, vol 8 no. 6 (2013), pp. 445-451 [10.1038/nnano.2013.95] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Stone, MB; Ma, J; Huq, A; Gout, D; Brown, C; Wang, KF; Ren, ZF, Anharmonic phonons and magnons in BiFeO 3, Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol 85 no. 6 (2012) [10.1103/PhysRevB.85.064405] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Ma, J; Marty, K; May, AF; McGuire, MA; Du, M-H; Singh, DJ; Podlesnyak, A; Ehlers, G; Lumsden, MD; Sales, BC, Giant anharmonic phonon scattering in PbTe., Nature materials, vol 10 no. 8 (2011), pp. 614-619 [10.1038/nmat3035] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Marty, K; Stone, MB; Kent, PRC; Lucas, MS; Abernathy, DL; Mandrus, D; Sales, BC, 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, vol 108 no. 12 (2011), pp. 4725-4730 [10.1073/pnas.1014869108] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Lucas, MS; Dos Santos, AM; Subedi, A; Sefat, AS; McGuire, MA; Mauger, L; Muñoz, JA; Tulk, CA; Xiao, Y; Somayazulu, M; Zhao, JY; Sturhahn, W; Alp, EE; Singh, DJ; Sales, BC; Mandrus, D; Egami, T, 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, vol 81 no. 9 (2010) [10.1103/PhysRevB.81.094504] [abs].
  • Christianson, AD; Lumsden, MD; Delaire, O; Stone, MB; Abernathy, DL; McGuire, MA; Sefat, AS; Jin, R; Sales, BC; Mandrus, D; Mun, ED; Canfield, PC; Lin, JYY; Lucas, M; Kresch, M; Keith, JB; Fultz, B; Goremychkin, EA; McQueeney, RJ, Phonon density of states of LaFeAsO(1-x)Fx., Physical review letters, vol 101 no. 15 (2008) [10.1103/physrevlett.101.157004] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Lucas, MS; Muñoz, JA; Kresch, M; Fultz, B, Adiabatic electron-phonon interaction and high-temperature thermodynamics of A15 compounds., Physical review letters, vol 101 no. 10 (2008) [10.1103/physrevlett.101.105504] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Fultz, B, Charge redistribution and phonon entropy of vanadium alloys., Physical review letters, vol 97 no. 24 (2006) [10.1103/physrevlett.97.245701] [abs].
  • Yue, AF; Papandrew, AB; Delaire, O; Fultz, B; Chowdhuri, Z; Dimeo, RM; Neumann, DA, Vibrations of micro-eV energies in nanocrystalline microstructures., Physical review letters, vol 93 no. 20 (2004) [10.1103/physrevlett.93.205501] [abs].
  • Delaire, O; Swan-Wood, T; Fultz, B, Negative entropy of mixing for vanadium-platinum solutions., Physical review letters, vol 93 no. 18 (2004) [10.1103/physrevlett.93.185704] [abs].