Applied and Engineering Physics
My group's research at Cornell University is focused on understanding the behavior of materials and devices at the atomic scale. Using some of the most powerful electron microscopes in the world, placed in specially-designed and environmentally isolated rooms, we are able to explore the chemistry, electronic structure and bonding inside objects as diverse as transistors, turbine blades, two-dimensional superconductors, fuel cells and batteries. All of these systems are made up of different materials, and where they join at the atomic scale, the boundary conditions on the quantum mechanical wavefunctions force very different behavior from what might be expected of the bulk materials. At these boundaries, where everyday intuition breaks down, we are searching for new and unexpected phases and physics. The impact of this research on devices, both larger and small, could be very significant. We are interested in students who enjoy both physics theory and experiment, can think in both real and reciprocal space, and care about both why things are, and what they might be used for. Openings are likely in the area of atomically-engineered materials for energy generation, conversion and storage, and studies of two-dimensional materials and electronic phases in complex oxides. Projects range from fundamental science to collaboration with industry.