Current research activities focus on nanoscale structures which enable significant advances in energy and information technologies. Specific topics under investigation include interfaces, stresses, and grain boundaries in thin films for high-speed interconnects; nucleation in condensed systems; laser processing and ultrarapid solidification of thin films; synthesis of nanocrystals; development of magnetoelectronic ultrathin films and heterostructures for GHz and THz applications; solving the nanostructure problem through x-ray diffraction, and the development of ab-initio computational methods to predict the electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of materials at nanoscale dimensions and under high pressures.

Laboratory Facilities

The department maintains a shared user and teaching facility for structural, microstructural and mechanical properties characterization of materials.

Facilities and research opportunities also exist within the interdepartmental Columbia Nano Initiative (which includes MRSEC - Center for Precision Assembly of Superstratic and Superatomic Solids, NSEC - Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center,  EFRC - Energy Frontier Research Center, and the MURI Center. Modern clean room facilities with optical and e-beam lithography, thin film deposition, and surface analytical probes (STM, SPM, XPS) are available. More specialized equipment exists in individual research groups in solid state engineering and materials science and engineering. The research facilities in solid-state science and engineering are listed in the sections for each host department. Facilities, and research opportunities, also exist within the interdepartmental clean room, shared materials characterization laboratories, and electron microscopy facility (SEM, TEM).

Research Groups

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

At the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, the faculty takes an active role in research, which is funded by both private and government sources. Faculty members view student involvement in research as a part of the educational process and actively encourage it.

Many students at Columbia SEAS are destined for the professional research environment, while others may work in professional capacities in tandem with the research function. It is the purpose of the program and this guide to enable undergraduate students to participate.

Participation in the program is voluntary, although students are advised that the faculty expects students to honor any commitment they may make.

Other resources

Cross-Cutting Research

Our faculty's cross-cutting research addresses key and emerging areas in society, such as energy, environment, and health

Undergraduate Research

There are multiple on-campus and off-campus research opportunities for undergraduate students