Author: Jack Darrell

Annie Barnett’s research lies at the intersection of computation and experiment: She uses diffraction patterns to quantify a short-range ordering in metal alloys in the high-entropy space.

“Essentially, my research seeks to understand and quantify the chemical landscape of complex alloys, which are currently sought after for their excellent properties, like strength and corrosion resistance,” said Barnett, a second-year doctoral student who is co-advised by Michael Falk and Mitra Taheri, both professors of Materials Science and Engineering.

Having two distinctly different areas of focus—computation and experiment—has given Barnett a unique lens on the materials she is investigating.

“The two perspectives are very complimentary and, since this work focuses on the nanoscale, preforming research on both sides has really improved my understanding and visualization of the mechanisms we’re studying,” she says.

Barnett spends a lot of time peering at things on the small scale through a transmission electron microscope in the new Materials Characterization and Processing (MCP) facility—a skill that is relatively new to her.

“My undergraduate research at Clemson consisted of only simulation, specifically using molecular dynamics via LAMMPS. I’d never done microscopy. So, the past year has really been about learning how a microscope can help us obtain structural and chemical information about the alloys ” she says. Indeed, the MCP was one of the things that drew her to Johns Hopkins for graduate work.

“Hopkins was the only program where I could be involved in both computational and experimental research. Also, with the Materials Characterization and Processing Center getting up and running, it was a great opportunity,” says Barnett, a native of Chicago.

She says that after graduation, she doesn’t want to stray too far from research.

“There is a lot of exciting work being done at the National Labs. I’ve been able to collaborate with them through my Department of Energy project,” Barnett says.

When not running simulations or in the MCP, she enjoys exercise, is a lifelong competitive swimmer and former member of the Clemson water polo team and has recently started running.