his undergraduate degree from MIT, and his Ph.D. from U. C. Berkeley
in 1982. He was a Presidential Young Investigator, he received
an IBM Faculty Development Award, a Jacob Wallenberg Scholarship,
and won the TMS EMPMD Distinguished Scientist Award in 2010.
He serves on review boards of the Advanced Photon Source and the NIST Center for Neutron Research.
He consulted for an electronics testing company, Everett Charles Technologies,
for the Defense Science Board, was a member of the Science Advisory
Board of Actium Materials, and is now on the Science Board of the Materials Project and Contour Energy. Fultz has authored or co-authored over
As an emerging academic field, materials science still needs
fresh books to organize its concepts and develop new understandings.
With his friend, Prof. J. Howe of Univ. Virginia,
Fultz published a graduate-level textbook
on diffraction and microscopy of materials (now in its fourth English edition, first Russian edition, and under translation into Chinese).
More recently, Fultz authored a graduate-level textbook on phase transitions in materials
that unifies concepts from traditional materials science and from condensed-matter physics.
X-ray and neutron scattering are two of the most important methods for
studying materials, and the U.S. community scattering scientists
has access to remarkably powerful and precise synchrotrons and neutron sources.
These require innovative hardware and software for new studies of materials.
Brent Fultz was the Principal Investigator of
the ARCS spectrometer project at the
Neutron Source, now complete and in operation.
Scientific computing offers opportunities for doing new science with neutron scattering experiments, and
Brent Fultz was the Principal Investigator of the software project Distributed Data Analysis for Neutron Scattering Experiments, DANSE . A new effort on computational scattering science is underway, and descriptive reports are available for download on this website.
of Fultz's research is how atom vibrations in solids affect the entropy
and thermodynamic stability of materials -- a review article is available here (4.5 MB). In the late 1980s, vibrational entropy was new
to materials science, and its importance was unexpected when Fultz's group started work on this topic. Many studies of today involve
measuring phonon spectra of materials by inelastic neutron scattering,
and identifying the reasons for differences in vibrational entropy of different
materials. Inelastic neutron scattering is also sensitive to magnetic
and electronic excitations in solids, and several cases were found where
these make major thermodynamic contributions.
Sometimes it is possible to determine experimentally the partition function of the solid, from which all its thermodynamic
properties can be derived.
Recent work has focused on high-temperature behavior, where phonons interact with other phonons and with electronic excitations.
Using a technique involving high-resolution inelastic x-ray scattering, Fultz's group has been studying how
vibrational thermodynamics is altered when the material is under megabar pressures in a diamond anvil cell.
The global "energy problem" is
of paramount societal importance, but the
ultimate technical solutions are unknown today.
Research on energy-storage materials can help.
For many years Fultz's group has worked on materials that
store lithium (used in rechargeable batteries),
and on materials that store hydrogen.
One effort is focused
on understanding the interactions of hydrogen molecules with
surfaces, with the goal of learning how to
hydrogen-storage potential of new materials that store
hydrogen by adsorption interactions.
For materials that store lithium or sodium ions,
Fultz's group found an opportunity to use nuclear resonant
scattering on materials at sub-megabar pressures
to measure the atom distortions that occur as
an electron hops between adjacent ions.
The mechanism of "small-polaron hopping"
gives electrical conductivity to ionic materials that
are insulators at low temperatures. Understanding
polaron dynamics should open possibilites for many more electrode
materials in rechargeable batteries.
of recent research results are given in the Fultz
Fultz's interview for the Distinguished Scientist Award, with thoughts for young scientists, is here.
A more opinionated view is here.