Faculty Directory

Cumings, John

Cumings, John

Associate Professor
Keystone Professor
Undergraduate Advisor
Materials Science and Engineering
Maryland Energy Innovation Institute
1246 Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building


Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 2002


  • CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Award (1994) 
  • Boston University, College of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Physics (1997) 
  • Summa Cum Laude (1997) 
  • Phi Beta Kappa (1997) 
  • IBM Research Fellowship (2001-2002)
  • Minta Martin Award (2006)
  • The MSGS and MatES Award for Outstanding Advising in Materials Science and Engineering (2007)
  • Sigma Xi (2008)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2011)

Nanoelectronics and nanodevices, electron microscopy.

The current trend of miniaturization in virtually every industry is illuminating new questions about the behavior of matter on small length scales. When devices and systems of interest contain only a few thousand atoms, neither the fundamental theories of quantum mechanics nor theories of the continuum limit are practical for predicting dynamic behavior. This is the realm of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and it is here that basic notions of the physics of matter-- friction and wear, how electrons flow, and how heat is generated and dissipated, come into question. Ultimately, the guiding physical principles will come from direct observation of operational systems at the nanoscale.

The primary goal of my research is to advance the current understanding of the dynamic properties of nanoscale systems. The future of many fields of the physical and biological sciences lies in nanotechnology, and as the size of functional devices progresses ever smaller, there will inevitably be problems that can only be addressed by direct real-time observations. A number of research groups are focusing on using scanned probe techniques, such as scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic-force microscopy (AFM), to explore dynamic properties at the nanoscale, but these slow imaging techniques are poor at capturing these effects. My research goes beyond this approach by using real-time imaging techniques, such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to explore fundamental physics on small length scales.

To learn more about electron microscopy, visit the University of Maryland's NISP lab website.

For a complete list of over 50 publications, please visit Professor Cumins' web site

  • Kamal H. Baloch, Norvik Voskanian, Merijntje Bronsgeest, and John Cumings, Remote Joule heating by a carbon nanotube, Nature Nanotechnology, 7(5), p. 316 (2012). (PDF)
  • Stephen A. Daunheimer, Olga Petrova, Oleg Tchernyshyov, John Cumings, Reducing Disorder in Artificial Kagome Ice, Physical Review Letters, 107(16), 167201 (2011). (PDF)
  • Kamal H. Baloch, Norvik Voskanian, and John Cumings, Controlling the thermal contact resistance of a carbon nanotube heat spreader, Applied Physics Letters, 97(6), 063105 (2010). (PDF)
  • Todd Brintlinger, Yi Qi, Kamal H. Baloch, D. Goldhaber-Gordon, and John Cumings, Electron Thermal Microscopy, Nano Letters, 8(2), 582 (2008). (PDF)

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Registration and poster abstract submission will open soon

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Grad students to attend Joint U.S.-Africa Materials Initiative Materials Research School.

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New modes of energy transfer could enable next-generation heatsink, heat exchange materials.

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Research designed to increase effectiveness of lithium ion batteries.

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Maryland NanoCenter researchers create new device to store electrical energy.