NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Mingda Li

Mingda Li

Assistant Professor


Lab website


Mingda Li joins the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in January 2018 as an Assistant Professor. His research interest lies in understanding the mechanism of complex defects on materials’ functional properties, and engineering the defects toward efficient and optimized energy applications. His research group, Energy Nano Group (ENG), is currently developing microscopic quantum theories of defects, growing single crystals with controllable defects, and using artificial intelligence algorithms to assist spectroscopy analysis, to resolve the role that defects are playing on energy transport and conversion processes.


Quantum defects theories

We are developing fundamental theories to study the influence of complex defects — dislocations, grain boundaries, nano-precipitates — on energy materials’ electrical, thermal and magnetic properties, at a microscopic quantum field theoretical level. Comparing to empirical models which are single-particle, low-order scattering with pre-set physical picture, our proposed approach retains all predictive power by incorporating all quantum many-body effects without necessity to introduce fitting parameters.

Single defect characterization

Instead of performing bulk measurements with ensemble-averaged defects, with modern nanotechnology, we are able to measure the influence of defects on materials carrier transport and electronic structures, at individual defect level. This research is expected to directly determine the intrinsic parameters of defects, and are directly comparable with the theories, hence can be considered to be an ultraclean platform for defect studies.

Artificial intelligence aided spectroscopy development

Many spectra are easy to collect but difficult to explain. Equipped with artificial intelligence deep learning methods, we are able to extract more information from existing spectra For instance, we are developing simple spectroscopic method to resolve the materials defect type and concentration.

Hybrid crystal growth

Equipped with unique single crystal growth capability, we are growing hybrid crystals by introducing controllable complex defects, and using these defects as additional dimensions to tune materials properties. This approach is expected to open up a new revenue to tailor materials properties with greater range of tunability.


Recent Publications

Please visit our group website for the updated publication list


22.02 Introduction to Applied Nuclear Physics


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Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

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