@ The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Professor Dana D. Dlott

William H. and Janet G. Lycan Emeritus Professor of Chemistry

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Department of Chemistry
Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory
600 S. Matthews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801

Welcome to the Dlott group website. The Dlott group is an interdisciplinary experimental research group based in the School of Chemical Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. We investigate condensed matter dynamics under extreme conditions by combining expertise in the areas of chemical physics, physical chemistry, chemical engineering, laser spectroscopy, physics, solid-state chemistry, mechanical engineering, materials science and aerospace engineering.

The unique tool we use to study extreme states of matter is the shock compression microscope. It uses a pulsed laser to launch hypervelocity (1-6 km/s or about Mach 18) metal disks, called “flyer plates” to create a high-speed impact that almost instantaneously creates states with high pressure, high temperature and high dynamic strain rates, on a tabletop, in an intrinsically safe manner. This is practically a universal tool, since we can launch a flyer plate at anything.

Current research has three tracks. The first involves development of new shock wave measurement techniques. The current focus is on developing a more powerful laser flyer launcher and optical pyrometry and hyperspectral imaging for high-speed temperature measurements. This work is described in a recent review: F. Li and D. D. Dlott, High throughput tabletop shock techniques and measurements, Journal of Applied Physics 131, 075901 (2022).

The second track studies fundamental mechanisms of detonations in plastic-bonded explosives. The current focus is on observing and predicting the appearance of hot spots and how hot spots evolve into a detonation, understanding ultraenergetic detonations, understanding the unique chemistries associated with metallization at the shock front and developing new metallic nanocomposites can increase explosive power. This work is described in recent reviews, D. Sellan, X. Zhou, L. Salvati III, S. K. Valluri, and D. D. Dlott, In operando measurements of high explosives, J. Chem. Phys 157, 224202 (2022).

The third track involves emerging applications made possible by the development of shock compression microscopy. These include new methods to absorb shock energy to protect personnel and materials, dynamic fragmentation of high-entropy alloy materials, fundamental mechanisms of pulsed detonation engine and hypersonic impacts with raindrops and dust. This work was recently reviewed in D. D. Dlott, Laser pulses into bullets: tabletop shock experiments, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 24, 10653-10666 (2022).

Dlott group researchers are trained in the development of advanced instrumentation and the science of materials under extreme conditions. Recent Dlott group alumni have gone on to careers as professors, research scientists at government and industrial laboratories, and application engineers in industries such as Thorlabs, Intel and Thermo-Fisher.

The Dlott group is actively recruiting postdoctoral researchers. If you are interested, feel free to contact Prof. Dlott dlott@illinois.edu for further information if you have relevant expertise.  Learn more