Research Projects

About Our Research

The Kourkoutis electron microscopy group develops and applies novel electron microscopy techniques to advance the fundamental understanding of materials and devices. Central to all of these efforts is the scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), a tool that allows us to probe structural, chemical and electronic properties at the atomic scale.

Our current focus is on extending the reach of aberration corrected STEM to cryogenic temperature. Operating at low temperatures gives us access to a broad range of electronic phases that emerge during cooling of quantum materials such as charge density wave or charge ordered phases. It also allows us to study processes that occur at liquid-solid interfaces such as those that give rise to efficiency loss and failure of rechargeable batteries. New cryo electron microscopy techniques furthermore enable biological systems to be studied in their near-native environments.

Cryo-STEM mapping of solid-liquid interfaces in Li-metal batteries

Direct observation of the anode–electrolyte interface in a Li metal battery reveals two types of dendrite, one of which may contribute disproportionately to capacity fade.

2018 Cornell PhD Hooding

Congratulations to Ben Savitzky, Katie Spoth, David Baek, Jade Nobel and Michael Zachman!

Charge ordering - Bending and breaking of stripes

In charge-ordered phases, broken translational symmetry emerges from couplings between charge, spin, lattice, or orbital degrees of freedom, giving rise to remarkable phenomena such as CMR and MIT.

Cryo-Group 2018

Snowy Ithaca - perfect home for our cryo-group

Left to right: Berit, Lena, Ben, Michelle, Jade, Katie, Duncan, Ismail, Michael, David

Atomically abrupt oxide interfaces

High-angle annular dark field images of a La0.7Sr0.3MnO3/SrTiO3 superlattice grown by pulsed laser deposition.

Electron Dose Series

Electron-dose series recorded on vitrified chromatophore vesicles in Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a purple bacterium.

Imaging Strain Fields

Strain fields at the low-angle twist grain boundary between SrTiO3 and Nb:SrTiO3 imaged by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM).