Where did you study?
I grew up primarily in rural western Pennsylvania. After looking all around, I ultimately chose to do my undergraduate work at Carnegie Mellon University. I actually started as a Chemical Engineering major and after just a semester realized that I did like it and it didn't like me! For a few weeks I almost became a business major, but ultimately I got some good advice to check out Materials Science and Engineering. Starting in the spring of my Freshman year, I switched to Materials and also started doing research. The rest, as they say, is history. A few years later I graduated with my B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering and was focused on getting my Ph.D. After visiting a number of great potential schools, I decided to come to UC Berkeley for my graduate work and I subsequently completed my M.S. and Ph.D. both in Materials Science and Engineering.
Describe one of your current research topics, why it is important, what you have already achieved, and what you hope to achieve in the near future.
My current research focuses on the synthesis, characterization, and, ultimately, utilization of complex oxide thin films. These materials have a diverse range of properties and function and we are considering them for next-generation applications from memory and logic to energy conversion and storage. Our group has done many interesting things in recent years, but right now we're very excited about how we can develop these complex materials to enable very low-power and -voltage operation for logic and memory applications. In this spirit, we have already demonstrated exciting ultra-thin versions of these materials that have record-breaking operating voltages. In the future, we're looking to push these materials to smaller and smaller dimensions, lower- and lower energy scales, and faster and faster operating speeds. From there we'll be looking to demonstrate their utility for real devices that might enable new commercial electronics in years to come.