Faculty & Research

Our outstanding faculty and technical staff conduct research in a variety of areas. Many of the research topics are interdisciplinary, with participation from other engineering science and medical disciplines. The department had the highest median research funding among all departments in the UW College of Engineering for fiscal year 2007.

Areas of current research strength include biomaterials, biomimetics, ceramics, composites, durability, electronic and optical materials, materials characterization, magnetic materials, materials chemistry, metals and alloys, polymers, semiconductors and surface science. Several faculty members direct or contribute significantly to interdisciplinary centers with facilities at or near the UW.

The department has more than 25,000 square feet of research and lab space, including the Electron Microscopy Center and the Materials Characterization User Facility.

Research Directions

See below for just a few of the exciting directions our research is headed. Or, view our areas of expertise listed by research area and faculty member.

Ceramics & Composites Research »

Professor Raj Bordia’s research focus is at the interface between materials and solid mechanics. Bordia and his team conduct research in three distinct but related areas: processing of ceramics, ceramic matrix composites and multilayered systems; mechanical properties of ceramics and ceramic matrix composites; and processing and mechanical properties of polymer matrix composites.

Computational Materials

Professor Lucien Brush focuses on the computation of crystal growth arrest by an adsorption-inhibition mechanism; nonlinear patterns in hydrodynamics and solidification; and theories and models developed to predict times and lengths characteristic of evolving micro- and nanostructures.

Sol-Gel Processing »

Professor Guozhong Cao’s research emphasis is to achieve novel properties for various applications through control of micro- and nanostructures, and atomic engineering of materials through processing and composition design.

Photonics, Optoelectronics, Biosensing and Nanoscience »

Professor Alex Jen and his team use molecular, polymeric and bio-macromolecular self-assembly to create the ordered arrangement of organic and inorganic functional materials for photonics, optoelectronics, nanomedicine and nanotechnology. They employ a "molecular engineering” approach to tailor the size, shape, sequence and function of organic and hybrid organic/inorganic materials.

Integrated Nanosciences and Mesoscale Engineering »

The central theme of Professor Kannan Krishnan’s research is the systematic exploration and design of fundamental materials properties and phenomena as a function of size, dimensionality and organization. This interdisciplinary approach builds on established methods in condensed matter physics, solid-state chemistry, metallurgy, ceramic science, electrical engineering and most recently, biology.

Molecular Self-Assembly »

Professor Christine Luscombe’s research expands the current knowledge of self-assembly processes in the development of functional molecules with novel electronic and photonic properties. Luscombe’s team designs and synthesizes functional molecules by harnessing the ability of materials to self-assemble.

Combinatorial Materials Exploration

Professor Fumio Ohuchi is involved in a new type of materials development strategy called “combinatorial materials exploration” in collaboration with Japan’s National Institute of Materials Science and Micron Technology, Inc.  This approach is rapidly becoming a new paradigm for accelerated materials research by enabling the understanding of complex material systems in a time- and cost-effective manner.

Metallurgical Research

Professor Y. K. Rao studies oxide and chalcogenide thin films for thermoelectric, photovoltaic,  magneto-caloric, phase-change and spintronic applications. Rao aims to understand physical and chemical processes at the surface of materials and dissimilar interfaces.

Nanodevice Fabrication »

The quest for smaller electronic components has aroused increased interest in transport phenomena at the nanoscale. To enable further scientific endeavors, Marco Rolandi aims to improve the processes that allow researchers to precisely control the position, size and shape of nanomaterials. His research focuses on schemes to reliably fabricate novel materials for the investigation of nanoscale phenomena.

Molecular Biomimetics and Genetically Engineered Materials »

In nature, evolution has produced simple yet elegant mechanisms to synthesize materials with remarkable functional properties. Professor Mehmet Sarikaya leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers that combine nature’s proven molecular tools with nanoengineered materials to make molecular biomimetics a full-fledged research methodology.

Biomaterials: Nanoparticles and Tissue Engineering »

Professor Miqin Zhang combines the study of biomaterials and materials science to create new horizons for materials research. Her team explores the interactions between materials and biological systems with the goal of developing materials and devices for biological and medical applications.

Contact Us

UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering

phone: (206) 543-2600
fax: (206) 543-3100