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)

Ten Maryland MSE Faculty Members Ranked in Top 2% of World Scientists

Elsevier releases updated science-wide database

10 Maryland MSE Faculty Members Ranked in Top 2% of World Scientists

Report prepared by Stanford University experts.

Joy Chao Receives 2020 MRS Silver Graduate Student Award

Chao, an MSE Ph.D. student, will be honored at a virtual ceremony later this fall.

Cumings and Drisko Published in Nature Communications

Small defects can make whole materials frustrated.

Nilsson Wins Wylie Fellowship

UMD award supports grad student's work in advanced microscopy.

Beyond “Six Nines”: Ultra-enriched Silicon for Quantum Computing

MSE student part of NIST team pursuing near-perfect crystals.

Department of Energy renews NEES EFRC for four years

The center develops highly ordered nanostructures that offer a unique way of looking at the science of energy storage.

Room To Move: Spacing Graphite Layers Makes a Better Battery Anode

New process designed to make Na-ion batteries an effective alternative to Li-ion.

NSF Award Sponsors Student’s Microscopy Research in Sweden

MSE grad student Hanna Nilsson hopes to pinpoint thermal conductivity of graphene.

Save the Date: NanoDay, June 11 -- Poster Session, Plenaries, EM Workshops and More

Registration and poster abstract submission will open soon

Over Half of Tenured MSE Professors Are UMD "Research Leaders"

Division of Research honors faculty for funded research.

What's Materials Science? High School Students Spend the Day with MSE to Find Out!

Precollege students get hands-on experience at LEAD Academy.  

Clark School Professor's Research Featured by Department of Energy

John Cumings' research analyzing heating in electronic devices is featured by DOE as "Story of Discovery and Innovation."

Nano "Beads on a String" Could Advance Battery Technology

Pulsing with lithium, tiny silicon beads on a nanotube hold promise for better batteries.

Flexible Nanopaper Featured in Chemical & Engineering News

ACS Newsmagazine reports innovation in nanoscale technology

Nilsson Named Future Faculty Fellow

Graduate student joins highly selective cohort.

Cornett, Karki Selected for Sustainable Energy Workshop in Ethiopia

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

Karki Wins Best Poster, Best Oral Presentation Awards

Grad student awarded top honors at Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage meeting.

MSE Faculty Are UMD "Research Leaders"

Half of department's full-time faculty honored by Division of Research.

Fisher, Lidie Win Electrochemical Society Student Chapter Poster Contest

Grad students receive complimentary conference registration.

Cumings Promoted

Faculty member becomes Associate Professor, receives tenure, effective July 1.

Daunheimer Wins MSE Graduate Research Award

Student will represent department in college-level competition.

World's Smallest Battery: How Small is Too Small?

Electrolyte determines just how thin a nanoscale lithium battery can be.

Epstein Named One of UMD's Undergraduate Researchers of the Year

MSE senior recognized for his study of high-powered silicon anodes for lithium-ion batteries.

2011-2012 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized by the Department, Clark School, and professional societies.

Three MSE Students Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Epstein, Godo and Nilsson receive highly competitive awards.

The Weird World of "Remote Heating"

Clark School researchers discover nanoscale phenomenon, potential computer speed advantages.

Karki Selected for Future Faculty Program

Graduate student joins highly selective cohort.

Rabin Wins Prestigious NSF CAREER Award for Spectroscopy Research

Nanoparticles and light twist left and right to identify molecular structures.

Cumings Wins Clark School's Junior Faculty Outstanding Research Award

Professor recognized for nanoscale and electron microscopy research.

Epstein Wins L-3 Scholarship

Merit-based award supports Clark School students, Great Expectations campaign.

Cumings, Seog Win NSF CAREER Awards for Nanotechnology Research

Research includes studies of frustrated nanomagnets, assembly of biological nanofibers.

Cumings Tapped for Nature Physics News and Views Column

Professor gives expert overview of artificial spin ice.

NIST Awards NanoCenter $15 Million to Support Postdoc Nanotechnology Research

Program will create up to 100 one and two-year appointments.

Cumings Receives DOE Grant to Study Thermal Resistance of Carbon Nanotubes

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

Live News Broadcast Highlights Hovercraft Competition, Keystone Program

WTTG Fox 5 broadcasts live from ENES100 hovercraft competition at the Kim Building.

Youn, Cumings Receive NRC Grant

Young faculty development award will support research on nuclear system reliability.

Cumings Leads EFRC Nanowire Team

Research designed to increase effectiveness of lithium ion batteries.

NanoCenter Improves Energy Storage Options

Maryland NanoCenter researchers create new device to store electrical energy.

Materials and Interface Nanotechnology Laboratory Opens

Research will include work on nanoparticles, nanowires.

Now That's Cool

Cumings group out to thaw the mysteries of ice.

Cumings Contributes to Story, Chat on Crane Collapse

Professor consulted for Washington Post story.

Cumings Group Invents New Microscopy Technique

Electron thermal microscopy allows real-time tests of nanoscale devices in situ.

Cumings to Speak at APS "March Meeting"

Will present breakthrough work on artificial spin ice.

Mote Visits NISPLab

UMD President sees equipment, research in action.

NISPLab Welcomes UMD VP for Research

Berstein, Gertz visit premiere microscopy facility.

Graduate Society Receives MRS Charter

Group recognized at Fall Meeting.

MSE Faculty Continues to Produce "Research Leaders"

Professors honored for their efforts to bring sponsored research funds to campus.

Cumings to Participate in Exchange Program

U.S./Japan program focuses on nanotechnology.

Cumings Invited to Speak at American Physical Society

MSE professor to present work on tunable magnetic semiconductors

New Microscopes for NISP, Keck Labs

TEM and STM/microwave equipment will enhance research abilities.

Cumings’ Research on Paramagnetic Semiconductors Published in Physical Review Letters

New discovery of tunable, nonferromagnetic semiconductor could pave the way for spintronics.