Research at the Material Science and Engineering Program


KAUST objective is to promote interdisciplinary, application-oriented research in a creative, flexible and stimulating environment. Using our world-class core research facilities [], the MSE program offers a broad range of expertise is advanced fabrication, design and analysis of physical properties of materials, with a special focus towards energy efficient devices and applications (solar and alternative energy, energy harvesting, low-consumption electronics etc…). Our long term goal is to provide viable technology-based solutions to tomorrow’s challenges in sustainability and renewable energy.

Advanced Materials Characterization:

Dr. Aram Amassian’s group investigates molecular and polymer semiconductor materials for inexpensive electronic and solar energy applications, with special emphasis on the assembly, structure, blending and phase separation, and interfacial phenomena in these materials. Dr. Amassian’s group seeks to provide in-depth and comprehensive insight into the relationship between the design of molecular building blocks and the performance/efficiency/behavior of devices. To do so, his team probes the structure and properties of these materials at the nanoscale. This is achieved by combined powerful scattering (X-ray, electron, neutron, and optical) spectroscopy, and microscopy tools, which all-together provide unprecedented insight and understanding of these materials and their growth behavior from vacuum and solution processes. This research is highly interdisciplinary, requires use of synchrotron facilities around the World, and draws on concepts and tools commonly used in physics, chemistry and engineering of materials.

Dr. Iman Roqan investigates the properties of semiconductor materials for optoelectronics and electronic devices. Her laboratory is an advanced spectroscopy lab equipped with sophisticated optical sources such as CW, femtosecond and picosecond solid state lasers. Optical characterization of semiconductors films, quantum dots and nanostructures are performed using macro- and micro-photoluminescence (PL), time resolved microscopy, photoluminescence excitation (PLE), cathodoluminescence (CL), photon correlation and electroluminescence (EL).

Materials for Nanoelectronics and Energy Harvesting

Professor Alshareef’s research group develops nanomaterials and devices for energy storage, electronics, and thermoelectric applications.   The group develops inorganic nanomaterials (particularly oxides) synthesized by chemical and physical methods for these applications.  In the area of electronics, Prof. Alshareef’s group is working on oxide semiconductors for flexible and transparent electronics and on thermoelectric oxides for power generation using waste heat recovery. In the area of energy storage, the group develops nanostructured materials for supercapacitors and batteries.  A variety of energy storage devices are investigated including stand-alone and integrated supercapacitors, Li-ion batteries, and Na-ion batteries.  Printed batteries and supercapacitors, electrochromic supercapacitors, and self-powered supercapacitors are also being developed.

Dr. Aurelien Manchon investigates spin transport and magnetization dynamics in heterogeneous magnetic systems for low-energy consuming, high storage density applications (Magnetic Random Access Memories, Magnetic Read-heads…). His focuses on the interplay between spin current and magnetization dynamics (spin transfer torque​), the description of the magnetization dynamics at high temperature and large excitation regimes, and the conversion processes between spin and charge currents, from both experimental and theoretical point of view. Dr. Manchon is also interested in the recently discovered magnetoresistive effects in organic materials, which may provide promising results for sensor applications.

Dr. Iman Roqan investigates the structural and magnetic properties of the semiconductor materials. Recent projects include the fabrication and characterization of high quality doped and undoped III-V semiconductor and II-oxide (such as ZnO) films and nanocrystals for electronics, optoelectronics and spintronics applications such as solar cells, lasers and LEDs. Part of her work is the theoretical simulation for assisting in doping with impurities during crystal growth, understanding the behavior of defects in the materials and identifying the feature of crystal band structures.

Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials

Dr. Osman Bakr’s research interests are concerned with the physics and chemistry of nanomaterials. His group will study the synthesis and assembly of organic and organic–inorganic hybrid nanomaterials of novel optical, electronic and magnetic properties. The purpose of these studies is to fabricate advanced materials that promise to feature in the future building blocks for solar cells, batteries, photonic and optoelectronic devices.

Material Modeling​

Dr. Udo Schwingenschlögl’s research interests concentrate on the numerical study of electronic and structural properties of nanostructured systems using Density Functional Theory. His interest covers oxide-based materials, Fe-based superconductors, ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic phases etc. He is particularly interested in electronic properties at surfaces and interfaces.