Current Group Members:
Thomas is a PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering program. He is interested in the use of ab initio models to study problems in electronic and crystal structure, and at an intersection with machine learning. His current focus is topological insulators and ferroelectricity
Kevin is a PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering program. He received his B.S in materials sciences and engineering at UConn in 2016 and started the Ph.D program in the same year. His research experience is with first principles quantum mechanical modeling and is currently interested in ferroelectric properties of complex oxides.
Ms. Espinal is a Ph.D. student in the department of Material Science and Engineering. She arrived at UCONN in 2013 after receiving her M.S. in Chemistry from the City College of New York that same year. She received a joint B.S. from Fordham and Columbia University in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in 2009. Her research interests include synthesis of functional thin films via non-traditional fabrication methods and investigating the inclusion of these films in sensors and actuators during additive manufacturing. She is the recipient of the LSAMP- Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship (2013) and the UCONN Multicultural Scholar Award (2013).
Mehmet Tumerkan Kesim
Mr. Kesim completed his B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Anadolu University in 2009. He received his M.S. degree from Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department (METU) at Middle East Technical University in 2012. His research experiences at METU include sol-gel synthesis of transparent conductive oxide thin films on glass substrates and synthesis of inorganic nanopowders. In 2012, he joined the Functional materials group at UConn and he is currently working on ferroelectric/pyroelectric properties of thin films.
Hamidreza completed his B.S. degree in Materials Engineering with a minor in Metallurgical Engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran-Iran) in 2009. This was followed by his M.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Sabanci University (Istanbul-Turkey). He started his PhD in the same field at the Institute of Material Science (IMS) at UConn in 2012. His research experiences include sol-gel synthesis of oxide thin films and their structural and electrical properties. In the Functional Materials group at UConn, his current research activities revolve around phenomenological theory of ferroelectric transitions and synthesis/characterization of perovskite structures.
Ms. Patel received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in May 2012 and a double MS degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Politecnico di Milano and University of Connecticut as part of the EAGLES exchange program in August 2014. She is currently a doctoral student in this group studying laser-powder interactions for additive manufacturing and is a NSF GK-12 Fellow.
Fu-Chang attended SUNY-Buffalo and received his masters degree in Physics in 2010. Later in the same year, he came to UConn for the PhD program in the Physics department, joining Prof. Alpay’s group in 2012. He has been using nonlinear thermodynamics model for perovskite materials and molecular dynamics simulation for polymeric materials. Currently, he is interested in quantum mechanical modelling method to investigate the ferroelectric properties of layered compounds.
Sanjeev K. Nayak
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Sanjeev K. Nayak (Dr. rer. nat.) joined the group in September 2015 as a university post-doctoral fellow. He earned his PhD in physics in 2012 from University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He held a research associate position at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, where he worked on collaborative research projects together with the Max Planck Institute of Microstructue Physics and University of Leipzig. He expertises in materials modeling using density functional theory (DFT) and has applied Monte Carlo method and phenomenological models for thermodynamics of materials properties. Some of his research interests include physics of point defects in solids, defect induced magnetism, structural transformations in complex oxides, first-principles thermodynamics, and application of DFT to mechanical metallurgy.
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Sanjubala Sahoo (Dr. rer. nat.) joined the IMS in March 2016 as a postdoctoral research associate. She has obtained her PhD in physics in 2011 from University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. She was a postdoctoral appointee at the Chemical Sciences and Engineering division, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL. Subsequently, she joined the Physics Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, as research assistant professor. Her expertise is in modelling fundamental properties of materials using combination of first-principles methodologies such as the density functional theory and wave function based quantum chemical tools. Her research interest includes interface physics and corrosion, reactivity, single atom catalysis, CO2 capture mechanism, and magnetism in low dimensional systems.
S. Pamir Alpay
S. Pamir Alpay received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering in 1999 from the University of Maryland where he worked on the physics of polydomain heterostructures in ferroelectric thin films. He was a post-doctoral research associate at the Materials Research Center at the University of Maryland until 2001. Dr. Alpay then joined the Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) of the University of Connecticut (UConn) where he holds a joint appointment with the Department of Physics and is affiliated with the Institute of Materials Science. Prof. Alpay is currently serving as the Department Head of MSE at UConn. His research is in the general area of functional materials including ferroelectric, ferromagnetic, and shape memory thin films and multilayer heterostructures, compound semiconductor films/nanostructures, functionally graded ferroics, and conducting oxides. Dr. Alpay was the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) Associate Professor in Engineering Innovation from 2008-2010, was awarded the UConn Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in 2004, and received an NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2001. He was elected a Member of the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering in 2012 and is an Editor for the Journal of Materials Science since 2011.
Vinit Sharma, Post-Doctoral Research Associate Jan. 2015. Currently working as Postdoctoral Research Associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Materials Science and Technology Division.
Jialan Zhang, Ph.D. July 2013, “Electrothermal Properties of Perovskite Ferroelectric Films,” Post-doctoral research associate, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2013-2014), currently post-doctoral research associate, Rutgers University. Twice recipient of the Research Fellowship Award for Foreign Citizens of the Scientific and Technological Research Foundation of Turkey (June-September 2011 and June-September 2012); Best Oral Paper Prize at the 22nd Connecticut Microelectronics and Optoelectronics Consortium, Mar. 2013.
Liang Dong, Ph.D. May 2013, “First Principles Study of Band Offsets and Band Bending of InxGa1-xN/GaN and Zn1-xBexO/ZnO Heterostructures and Quantum Wells,” Post-doctoral research associate, UConn (2013-2014), currently post-doctoral research associate, University of Pennsylvania.
Shawn Fonseca, MS July 2013, “Electrocaloric Cooling Efficiency of Perovskite Ferroelectric Thin Films.” Design Engineer, GE Energy – Industry Solutions, Plainville, CT.
Tulsi Patel, MS July 2013, “Structural Properties of Titanium Dioxide Films for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Applications.” current PhD student.
Julie A. Wittenzellner, M.S. May 2013, Engineer, United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, CT.
Claire V. Weiss, Ph.D. Aug. 2011, “Optimization of the solution and Processing Parameters for SrTiO3 Thin Films for electronic Devices.” Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. Gold Medal at the Army Research Laboratory Summer Student Research Symposium for “Novel Thin Film Materials for Tunable Device Applications,” Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (August 2008); Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Program (SMART) Doctoral Scholarship, Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), (August 2009-2011); The Connecticut Technology Council, 2010 Women of Innovation-Collegian Innovation and Leadership Award, Jan. 2010
Yong Liu, Ph.D. July 2011, “Ni-Ru Alloys for Electrical Contact Applications,” R&D Yield Enhancement Engineer, Micron Corp., Boise, ID.
China Scholarship Council Chinese Government Award for “Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad.”
M. Baris Okatan, Ph.D. December 2010, “Interlayer Coupling in Ferroelectric Multilayers: Domain Structures and Effect of Space Charges,” Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia (2010-2012), currently materials scientist at Oak Ridge National Labs.
Bamidele S. Allimi, Ph.D. July 2008, “Metal-Insulator Transitions in Epitaxial V2O3 Films,” Senior Production Engr., Intel Corp., Hillsboro, OR, currently Development Engineer, Global Foundries Corp., East Fishkill, NY.
Gursel Akcay, Ph.D. May 2008, “Strain Engineering of Epitaxial Ferroelectric Thin Films on Anisotropic Substrates,” Senior Production Engr., Intel Corp., Hillsboro, OR, currently at Olympus NDT, Waltham, MA. Outstanding Graduate Student Award, MSE Program, UConn (2008). M.S. January 2006, “Dynamic Pyroelectric Enhancement of Homogeneous Ferroelectrics.”
Shan Zhong, Ph.D. September 2007, “Ferroelectric Multilayers and Heterostructures for High Performance Tunable Microwave Devices Applications,” Senior Packaging Engr, Intel Corp., Phoenix, AZ.Outstanding Graduate Student Award, MSE, UConn (2006). M.S. June 2005, “Phase Transformation Characteristics and Dielectric Response of Multilayer Ferroelectrics.”
I. Burc Misirlioglu, Ph.D. December 2005, “Stress Relaxation, Phase Transformations, and Dislocations in Ferroelectric Heterostructures.” Asst. Prof. at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. Alexander von Humbolt Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship (Max Planck Institut, Halle, Germany), Outstanding Graduate Student Award, MSE, UConn (2005), ASM Hartford Chapter Student Speaking Contest First Prize (2005), School of Engineering Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, UConn (2007).
Anuj Sharma, M.S. April 2004, “Effect of Internal Stresses on Pyroelectric Response of Ferroelectric Thin Films,” Manager for Strategic Accounts in IT Services Business, NIIT Technologies, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Zhigang Ban, Ph.D. August 2003, “Thermodynamic Modeling of Ferroelectric Epitaxial Films and Polarization-Graded Ferroelectrics,” Argonne National Laboratories (2003-2004), KennaMetal Inc. (2004-2009), currently Development Engineer at First Solar Inc., Perrysburg, OH. School of Engineering Outstanding Ph.D Thesis Award, UConn (2004) and Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, UConn (2003).