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Overview

     Our understanding of matter at the microscopic (molecular) level is undergoing a revolution made possible, in part, through the availability of very powerful computers. These computational tools allow one to examine matter, as individual molecules or as collections of molecules, in ways that would be very difficult or impossible using current experimental techniques. The research of Prof. Kusalik focuses on model studies of condensed-phase systems and their transformations, where molecular simulations are the primary research tool. The principal aim of his work is to probe the microscopic behaviour of these systems and its relationship to the macroscopic (bulk) properties. Since many aspects of these fundamentally important physical phenomena have remained poorly understood at the molecular level, for example the microscopic mechanisms involved in the processes associated with the organization of molecules in a liquid or solution to form a crystal have remained obscure, the insights gained through his research will impact upon many areas of the discipline of chemistry, as well as on such far ranging fields as atmospheric science, materials science and molecular biology. The possible implications of the knowledge gained are very broad and could include, for example, better weather forecasts, more effectively delivered drugs, and the successful exploitation of methane hydrates.

     Prof. Kusalik's research program focuses on several exciting and highly interconnected fronts. Working at the forefront of the molecular modeling of liquid-solid phase transitions, we are investigating the formation (nucleation) of crystals in molecular liquids to address questions of how and why order (symmetry) appears spontaneously in a bulk liquid. Extensive studies of the heterogeneous (interfacial) growth of molecular crystals, both from pure liquids and from solutions, are currently being undertaken to help identify and characterize the microscopic mechanisms and driving forces involved. We continue to build on the leadership we have established in aqueous systems. We are also continuing to work to develop and characterize new methodologies and models; innovative and more efficient simulation techniques are being sought to provide novel ways of exploring the systems and behaviours of interest.

     Click on Projects for further details on specific projects.