Welcome to MSE

Welcome to the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Columbia University!

MSE focuses on understanding, designing, and producing technology-enabling materials by analyzing the relationships among the synthesis and processing of materials, their properties, and their detailed structure. This includes a wide range of materials such as metals, polymers, ceramics, and semiconductors. Solidstate science and engineering focuses on understanding and modifying the properties of solids from the viewpoint of the fundamental physics of the atomic and electronic structure.

The undergraduate and graduate programs in materials science and engineering are coordinated through the MSE Program in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. This program promotes the interdepartmental nature of the discipline and involves the Departments of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, and Earth and Environmental Engineering (EEE) in the Henry Krumb School of Mines (HKSM) with advisory input from the Departments of Chemistry and Physics.

Students interested in materials science and engineering enroll in the materials science and engineering program in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. Those interested in the solid-state science and engineering specialty enroll in the doctoral program within Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics or Electrical Engineering.

The faculty in the interdepartmental committee constitute but a small fraction of those participating in this program, who include Professors Bailey, Barmak, Billinge, Chan, Herman, Im, Marianetti, Noyan, and Pinczuk from Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics; Brus, Durning, Flynn, Koberstein, and O’Shaughnessy from Chemical Engineering; Duby, Somasundaran, and Themelis from EEE; Osgood, and Wang from Electrical Engineering and Hone from Mechanical Engineering.

Materials science and engineering uses optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy and diffraction techniques to reveal details of structure, ranging from the atomic to the macroscopic scale—details essential to understanding properties such as mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, and technical magnetism. These studies also give insight into problems of the deterioration of materials in service, enabling designers to prolong the useful life of their products. Materials science and engineering also focus on new ways to synthesize and process materials, from bulk samples to ultrathin films to epitaxial heterostructures to nanocrystals. This involves techniques such as UHV sputtering; molecular beam epitaxy; plasma etching; laser ablation, chemistry, and recrystallization; and other nonequilibrium processes. The widespread use of new materials and the new uses of existing materials in electronics, communications, and computers have intensified the demand for a systematic approach to the problem of relating properties to structure and necessitates a multidisciplinary approach.

Solid-state science and engineering uses techniques such as transport measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, inelastic light scattering, luminescence, and nonlinear optics to understand electrical, optical, and magnetic properties on a quantum mechanical level. Such methods are used to investigate exciting new types of structures, such as two-dimensional electron gases in semiconductor heterostructures, superconductors, and semiconductor surfaces and nanocrystals.

We invite you to contact us and interact with our faculty, academic and research staff, and diverse undergraduate and graduate student bodies. We are a lively and coherent group of active scholars, heavily involved in research and education, and connected to and benefiting from numerous other parts of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the University, and the scientific community at large.


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