Professor Balandin’s UCLA Phonon Optimized Engineered Materials (UCLA POEM) Laboratory conducts research focused on understanding the properties of quantum and strongly correlated materials and developing new electronic, optical, magnonic, and energy conversion devices based on such materials. The underlying phenomena often determining or affecting the properties of these novel materials are closely associated with phonons–quanta of crystal lattice vibrations. The materials systems of interest include 1D and 2D van der Waals layered materials, charge-density-wave condensate materials, and topological and chiral materials. The low-dimensional van der Waals materials are used for fabricating and testing nano-device structures in the cleanroom environment or preparing multifunctional composites with unique functionalities. The UCLA POEM Laboratory instrumentation includes Raman spectroscopy, Brillouin – Mandelstam spectroscopy, electrical and thermal characterization equipment, electronic noise spectroscopy, microscopy, and semiconductor device testing.


Balandin Group’s expertise and research interests cover a broad range from the physics of materials to nano-fabrication of devices with applications in electronics and energy conversion, and the development of composites with unique functionality. Balandin Group is internationally recognized for pioneering studies of graphene’s thermal properties, the discovery of unique features of phonon thermal transport in two-dimensional materials, as well as the first proposals and demonstrations of practical applications of graphene in the thermal management of electronics. The Raman spectroscopy-based optothermal technique developed in the Balandin Group for the first measurements of the thermal conductivity of graphene became a common method for investigating the thermal properties of various two-dimensional materials. Balandin Group is known for its key contributions to the development of nanoscale phonon engineering and the phononics field. It accomplished a number of firsts in the field, including the theoretical possibility of controlling thermal conductivity by spatial confinement of the acoustic phonon dispersion and density of states, the experimental proof of confined acoustic phonon branches in semiconductor nanowires, and the first demonstration of the voltage-controlled oscillator operating on charge-density-wave effects at room temperature. Balandin Group is also recognized for its works on low-frequency electronic noise in materials and devices, as well as the practical realization of a number of innovative devices based on graphene and other two-dimensional materials.