Recent advances in material processing techniques enable the fabrication of heterogeneous materials systems with highly complex micro and nanostructure. As the characteristic length scale of these materials becomes smaller and smaller, surface and interface effects dominate response and significant scientific challenges arise in terms of characterizing mechanical properties, performance and reliability. Our research group seeks to understand the mechanical behavior of a variety of complex, heterogeneous materials through meso, micro and nanoscale characterization of deformation and failure mechanisms.