Lucas Berla
Lucas A. Berla, Ph.D.
Senior Associate
Materials & Corrosion Engineering
  • Menlo Park

Dr. Berla specializes in failure analysis, materials deformation and fracture (metals, ceramics, polymers), and materials characterization across various length scales. Much of his current work focuses on thin film delamination and fracture issues, leveraging his eight years of research experience on the deformation, damage, and failure mechanisms of thin films and patterned microstructures.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Berla researched various topics in the field of materials mechanical behavior, with an emphasis on deformation of thin solid films. He engaged in research on mechanical reliability of materials systems central to the microelectronics and energy storage industries. His early work involved modeling failure mechanisms of thin film metallic interconnects. As a doctoral student, Dr. Berla continued his studies of thin film mechanics under the supervision of Professor William D. Nix at Stanford University. His doctoral research consisted of investigations into the deformation and fracture behavior of lithium-silicon alloys. Through this research, he provided a framework for understanding the mechanical properties and failure mechanisms of lithium-silicon alloys and contributed to the development of mechanical testing techniques for probing environment-sensitive materials. He has extensive experience utilizing optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDS), focused ion beam (FIB), and auger electron spectroscopy (AES) for materials characterization. He also possesses experience in metallographic inspection, fractographic analysis, mechanical testing, and microfabrication.

While at Stanford University, Dr. Berla was a teaching assistant for a graduate-level course entitled “Mechanical Properties of Thin Films." Before becoming a part of Exponent’s consulting team, he gained previous consulting experience working with display technology companies.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2014
  • M.S., Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2010
  • B.S., Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2008
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2008

    Stanford Deans’ Award for Academic Accomplishment, 2008

    Stanford Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Grant, 2006

Publications

Berla LA, Lee SW, Cui Y, Nix WD. Mechanical behavior of electrochemically lithiated silicon. Journal of Power Sources 2015; 273:41.

Bennett KC, Berla LA, Nix WD, Borja RI. Instrumented nanoindentation and 3D mechanistic modeling of a shale at multiple scales. Acta Geotechnica 2015; 10:1.

Berla LA. Understanding the deformation behavior of lithiated silicon and related advances in nanoindentation. Doctoral Dissertation, Stanford University 2014.

Berla LA, Lee SW, Ryu I, Cui Y, Nix WD. Robustness of amorphous silicon during the initial lithiation/delithiation cycle. Journal of Power Sources 2014; 258:253.

Lee SW, Berla LA, McDowell MT, Nix WD, Cui Y. Reaction front evolution during electrochemical lithiation of crystalline silicon nanopillars. Israel Journal of Chemistry 2012; 52:1118.

Lee SW, McDowell MT, Berla LA, Nix WD, Cui Y. Fracture of crystalline silicon nanopillars during electrochemical lithium insertion. Proceedings, National Academy of Sciences 2012; 109:4080. 

Berla LA, Allen AA, Han SM, Nix WD. A physically based model for indenter tip shape calibration for nanoindentation. Journal of Materials Research 2010; 25:735. 

Berla LA, Joo Y-C, Nix WD. A model for power law creep controlled hillock growth. Materials Science and Engineering: A 2008; 488:594. 

Conference Presentations

Berla LA, Lee SW, Ryu I, Cui Y, Nix WD. Robustness of micro-scaled amorphous silicon during the initial lithiation/delithiation cycle. Society of Engineering Science 50th Annual Technical Meeting, Providence, RI, 2013. 

Berla LA, Lee SW, Hayes GJ, Cui Y, Nix WD. Nanoindentation of lithiated silicon. Second Biennial Scientific Symposium for Nanomeasurement Research, Stanford, CA, 2012. 

Berla LA, Lee SW, Jennings A, Greer JR, Cui Y, Nix WD. Nanoindentation studies of lithiated silicon. Hardness across the Multi-Scales of Structure and Loading Rate: Applications II, Columbus, Ohio, 2011. 

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2014
  • M.S., Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2010
  • B.S., Materials Science & Engineering, Stanford University, 2008
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2008

    Stanford Deans’ Award for Academic Accomplishment, 2008

    Stanford Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Grant, 2006