Katayun Barmak | Helping to Rapidly Transform Materials for Engineered Systems

Katayun Barmak
Philips Electronics Professor of
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
This profile is included in the publication Excellentia, which features current research of Columbia Engineering faculty members.
Photo by Eileen Barroso

Metallic films are critical to many modern technologies such as integrated circuits, information storage systems, displays, sensors, and coatings. In semiconductor chips, these metallic films interconnect the transistors that amplify and switch electronic signals. As the dimensions of metallic films shrink into the nanoscale regime, their structure, morphology, and arrangement of the boundaries between the grains that the material is made of change. When these changes happen, there is a profound impact on their properties and on the performance and reliability of the engineered systems they are made for.

When a complete understanding is gained about how these metallic materials form, evolve, and change, new or improved materials for engineered systems like computer hardware and advanced permanent magnets that underlie the operation of generators, alternators, and motors can be developed.

Katayun Barmak works to discover, characterize, and develop materials for engineered systems; to develop theories and models for phase transitions, structure and morphology evolution in metallic materials; and to understand the relationship between structure and property. Her aim is to quantify and to understand the differences in materials structure at the macro-, micro-, and nano-scales and to investigate the impact of these differences on the properties exhibited by the material. Her studies of materials structure immerse her in the exhilarating and powerful world of electron microscopy.

Her research interests include thin-film phase transformations and microstructures, high throughput electron diffraction-based metrology of nanocrystalline materials, identification of a next generation metal to replace copper in semiconductor interconnects, the discovery and development of rare-earth-free advanced permanent magnets, and quantitative kinetic experiments and models of alloys for extremely high-density magnetic recording media. She is also working collaboratively with colleagues in applied mathematics on the development of theories for evolution of materials structure and morphology.

Barmak is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Materials Research Society; American Physical Society; The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society; ASM International; Microscopy Society of America; and Microbeam Analysis Society.

B.A., University of Cambridge (England), 1983; M.A., University of Cambridge, 1987; S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985; Ph.D., MIT, 1989

500 W. 120th St., Mudd 510, New York, NY 10027    212-854-2993