David Muller

David Muller is a professor of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University, and the co-director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney, received a PhD from Cornell University and worked as a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs for six years before returning as faculty to Cornell. His current research interests include developing the hardware and algorithms for high-speed pixelated detectors, and the atomic-scale control and characterization of matter for applications in energy storage and conversion.

Historically his work has focused on the development of scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy as quantitative tools for atomic-resolution materials analysis, and its application to unraveling connections between electronic-structure changes on the atomic scale and the macroscopic behavior of materials, including identifying physical limits to transistor scaling by the first direct observation of interface phases in gate oxides, and the structure of dopant complexes. He has developed quantitative imaging and characterization methods to explore the chemistry, electronic structure and bonding inside objects as diverse as fuel cells, batteries, transistors, and two-dimensional superconductors. To help others adopt these new methods, he has also worked on the underlying challenges to turn a one-time science experiment into a widespread and routinely useful technique. As aberration-correctors correct aberrations and not instabilities, he has made a science of room design and environmental remediation to people setting up microscopy laboratories, improved and simplified the tripod polishing specimen preparation method to the point where a beginning student can be trained in the method in a few afternoons. His group has developed freely available software and web resources for EELS and tomographic analysis that have over 3,000 downloads to date.

David is a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Microscopy Society of America. He was named one of the top 100 young innovators in 2003 by Tech Review Magazine, is the recipient of the MSA Burton Medal, and at 3 atoms thick, and according to the Guinness Book of Records, had the world’s thinnest sheet of glass. He has 5 patents, and has published more than 200 papers, with over 21,000 citations.