Professor Ramanath received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1997. His doctoral work won him a Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award (now known as the Gold Award). He obtained his B. Tech. in Metallurgical Engineering from the IIT, Madras, India, and his M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He was a staff member at Novellus Systems, CA (now Lam Research), and a Visiting Scientist at the Physics Department, Linköping University, Sweden, before he joined the Rensselaer in Fall 1998 as an Assistant Professor. He became a tenured Associate Professor in 2003, and was promoted to full Professor in 2006. He was appointed John Tod Horton Professor in 2013.
He is a Director of ThermoAuraInc, a start-up company cofounded by him with his student in 2011 to bring new materials technologies to the marketplace. He also served as the Director of the New York State Center for Future Energy Systems (2008-2010). He serves as an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology and is an Editorial Advisory Board member for Journal of Experimental Nanoscience.
Prof. Ramanath is a recipient of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize (2013) from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Brahm Prakash Chaired Visiting Professorship at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India (2013). He was elected a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society in 2013. Earlier awards include a Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (2000), Prof. Bergmann Memorial Young Scientist Award from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (2003), and is a co-recipient of IBM Research Partnership Award (1999-2006), Best paper award IEEE Nano (Hong Kong, 2007). He has been a Visiting Professor at the International Center for Young Scientists (ICYS, 2004) and the World Premier Institute for Materials Nanoarchitectronics (MANA, 2010) at the National Institute of Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan, the Nanoscale Science Department at the Max Planck Institute für Festkörperforschung, Stuttgart, Germany as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (2004-2005), and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India (2006), and the University of Wollongong, Australia (2007-2010). He is an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology since 2003, and serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Experimental Nanoscience.
Energy and electronic nanomaterials and interfaces via directed synthesis, assembly and modification of nanostructures
Professor Ramanath's current research interests are in the discovery, design, scalable synthesis and modification of nanomaterials and interfaces with novel properties for energy and electronics applications. A key component is to develop an atomic-/molecular-level understanding of structural and functional properties and stability of nanoscopic building blocks, their architectures and assemblies, and atomistically tailored interfaces. He synergystically combines multiple microscopy and spectroscopy techniques (e.g., TEM, SEM, diffraction, RBS, XPS, XANES, AES, SIMS, EDX) together with device fabrication and testing to capture and manipulate key atomistic/molecular/electronic structure-level phenomena for applications. Synopses of current topics being pursued in his group are provided below.
Nanoscopic building blocks and heterostructures: Directed synthesis, assembly and properties
Nature Materials 2012, Nano Lett 2010-2013, Advanced Materials 2008, ACS Nano 2010, J Phys Chem C 2010...
Devise strategies to synthesize and assemble nanostructures with controllable size, shape, doping, stability and properties, and by combining chemical and/or physical guidance (e.g., molecular surfactants, lithography, ion irradiation, microwave stimulation) with self-assembly and scalable non-vacuum processing. Understand and manipulate molecular/atomic-level mechanisms and relationships between processing parameters, nanostructure and assembly structure and chemistry, to tailor functional (thermal, mechanical and electronic) properties. Examples of structures being investigated include nanoplates, nanowires/nanorods, their thin film and bulk assemblies, core-shell and branched structures, to name a few. Present projects: Nanostructured bulk high figure of merit thermoelectric materials, nanotube/nanowire/nanoparticle networks and composites for photovoltaics and heat management devices.
Molecularly tailored interfaces: understanding and manipulating nanoscale phenomena for enhanced properties
Nature 2007, Nature Materials 2013, Phys Rev B 2011 ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 2010,...
Investigate and develop the use of molecular nanolayers to tailor the mechanical integrity, chemical stability, and electronic and thermal transport properties of at a variety of inorganic-organic and inorganic-inorganic heterointerfaces of thin films, nanostructures, porous materials and composites. Enable the direct integration of non-sticking metallic and dielectric materials. Directly access and tune nanoscale phenomena and properties (e.g., Fermi-level pinning, interfacial thermal conductance, charge capacity, stiffness) and develop atomistic/molecular-level understanding of interface stability-property relationships. Present projects: Nanomechanics of interfacial fracture and corrosion at molecularly tailored interfaces, work function tuning at metal/high-k interfaces, thermal conductance manipulation for heat management, molecularly functionalized low-k and high-k dielectrics and nanoelectrodes for nanodevice wiring and energy storage.
Processing and microanalytical techniques
We synergistically combine multiple processing approaches for thin film/nanostructure synthesis, and exploit multiple microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to capture key features of atomistic and molecular-level phenomena to reveal and manipulate structure-chemistry-property-processing relationships. We use CVD, PVD, self-assembly (from wet-chemical and vapor-phase fluxes), nanofabrication (e.g., lithography, etching), ion-irradiation, microwaves, and post-deposition annealing in vacuum/controlled gas ambients. We are particularly interested in low-energy intensity and scalable techniques. Our growing toolbox of microanalytical techniques include electron microscopy (conventional and high resolution TEM, diffraction, SEM), related spatially resolved X-ray and electron spectroscopy techniques, XRD, various spectroscopies (e.g., RBS, XPS, AES, SIMS, EDX, IR, UV-visible), in situ electrical measurements during deposition and annealing, four-point bend adhesion testing and electrical device testing (I-V, C-V, TVS, etc.).