Professor Suneel Kodambaka
Tel. (310) 206-8174
FAX (310) 206-7353

Associate Professor; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (1997-2002), Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering (September 2002); Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL (1995-1996), M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (December 1996); Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India (1991-1995), Bachelor of Technology in Metallurgical Engineering (May 1995).

Research Interests

Our group focuses on the science underlying the synthesis and stability of advanced materials for applications in the areas of aerospace, catalysis, energy storage, and optoelectronics industries. We aim to develop detailed atomic-level understanding of the mass transport mechanisms, chemical reaction kinetics, and material thermodynamics controlling morphological, compositional, and structural evolution of materials. We use a variety of in situ (as well as ex situ) characterization tools such as variable-temperature scanning probe microscopy (STM/AFM), low-energy electron microscopy (LEEM), scanning/transmission electron microscopy (SEM/TEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to investigate the kinetics of nucleation, growth, and thermochemical and mechanical stabilities of nanostructures.

Ongoing research collaborations:

  • Dr. Frances Ross (IBM): In situ microscopy of vapor- and solution-phase growth kinetics
  • Prof. Jenn-Ming Yang (UCLA): Mechanical properties of refractory carbides.
  • Prof. Cristian Ciobanu (Colorado School of Mines): Structure-property relationships in 2D layered materials (graphene, hBN, MoS2, etc.)
  • Dr. Kevin McCarty (Sandia National Lab, Livermore): LEEM studies of graphene growth
  • Prof. Ryan Richards (Colorado School of Mines): Electron microscopy of nanocrystals

Area of Thesis Guidance

In situ microscopy, low-dimensional growth mechanisms,  surface  thermodynamics, thin film physics, and kinetics of phase transformations & chemical reactions. 

Recent Publications

1.      S. Kodambaka, C. Ngo, J. Palisaitis, P. H. Mayrhofer, L. Hultman, and P. O. Å. Persson, Kinetics of Ga Droplet Decay on Thin Carbon Films, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 161601-161604 (2013).

2.      L. Chen, J. Hu, F. Lin, C. Cadigan, W. Cao, Z. Qi, M. Pozuelo, S. Prikhodko, S. Kodambaka, and R. Richards, Self-Assembled Single-crystalline ZnO Nanostructures, CrystEngComm. 15, 3780-3784 (2013).

3.      K. Hillerich, K. A. Dick, C.-Y. Wen, M. C. Reuter, S. Kodambaka, and F. M. Ross, Strategies to control morphology in hybrid group IV/group III-V heterostructure nanowires, Nano Lett. 13, 903-908 (2013).

4.      G. Youssef, R. Crum, S. V. Prikhodko, D. Seif, G. Po, N. Ghoniem, S. Kodambaka, and V. Gupta, The Influence of Laser-Induced Nanosecond Rise-Time Stress Waves on the Microstructure and Surface Chemical Activity of Single Crystal Cu Nanopillars, J. Appl. Phys. 113, 084309-084306 (2013).

5.      B.B. Kappes, A. Ebnonnasir, S. Kodambaka, and C.V. Ciobanu, Orientation-dependent binding energy of graphene on palladium, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 051606 (2013).

6.      Y. Murata, V. Petrova, I. Petrov, C.V. Ciobanu, and S. Kodambaka, Role of Ethylene on Surface Oxidation of TiO2(110), Appl. Phys. Lett.101, 211601-211605 (2012).

7.      L. Chen, J. Hu, S. Prikhodko, M. Pozuelo, S. Kodambaka, H. Yang, and R. Richards, Controlled synthesis and catalytic activities of nanoscale icosahedral gold particles at room temperature, ChemCatChem, DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201200230 (2012).

8.      H. Ye, Z.Y. Yu, S. Kodambaka, and V.B. Shenoy, Kinetics of axial composition evolution in multi-component alloy nanowires, Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 263103 (2012).

9.      Y. Murata, V. Petrova, I. Petrov, and S. Kodambaka, In situ high-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy study of bilayer graphene growth on 6H-SiC(0001), Thin Solid Films 520, 5289-5293 (2012).

Awards & Honors 

  • Member, Executive Committee, Applied Surface Engineering Division (ASED), part of the AVS (2013-present)
  • Guest Editor, Proceedings of the ICMCTF 2013.
  • Editorial Board Member, Vacuum (2012-present)
  • Discussion leader, GRC (Thin Film & Crystal Growth Mechanisms), Maine (2011).
  • Alumni Achievement Award, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (2010).
  • Paul H. Holloway Young Investigator Award, AVS Int’l Conf. (2009).
  • Member, User Executive Committee (2009-2011), C.I.N.T.
  • Best Paper Award, IBM Materials Research Community (2008).
  • Ross J. Martin award, outstanding doctoral thesis, College of Engineering, UIUC (2003).
  • Best poster presentation award: AVS Prairie Chapter, Chicago, IL (2002).
  • Gold medal, outstanding graduate research, MRS spring meeting, San Francisco, CA (2001).
  • Mavis Memorial Fund Scholarship, College of Engineering, UIUC (2001).
  • Ivan Racheff award, outstanding graduate research, Dept. Materials Science, UIUC (2000).
  • Best poster presentation award: NSF-DARPA Virtual Integrated Prototyping project review, Champaign, IL (1998).

Courses Taught

ENGR M101/
Principles of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology



Science of Engineering Materials

Diffusion and Diffusion-Controlled Reactions Laboratory

MAT SCI 111 Introduction to Materials Characterization B (Electron Microscopy)


Research Group/Lab: In situ Microscopy Labs

Office Location

  • 3121-J Engineering V

Mailing Address

  • UCLA, HSSEAS School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
    Department of Materials Science and Engineering
    410 Westwood Plaza
    3111 Engineering V
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1595