Faculty Directory

Martinez-Miranda, Luz

Martinez-Miranda, Luz

Associate Professor
Fellow, AAAS
Fellow, APS
Materials Science and Engineering
Maryland Energy Innovation Institute
1110D Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1985


Professor Martínez-Miranda is one of the Department's undergraduate advisors. She is also active in mentoring-oriented programs such as the University's Materials Science and Research Engineering Center's Research Experience for Undergraduates (MRSEC REU), and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's efforts to increase and support underrepresented American minority Ph.D. students in math, science and engineering.

Outside of the university she has been active with SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), where she has been a member of the board and a judge of engineering posters at their annual meeting; and as a member of the NSHP (National Society for Hispanic Physicists), where she has served on the board since 1998 and was the president from 2003-2005.


  • Fellow, American Physical Society (APS), 2007
  • Visiting Faculty Appointment to the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, 2006
  • Fellow, American Society for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2004
  • Boricua College Professional Achievement Award in Science, 2004
  • NSF Career Advancement Award, 1997
  • W.M. Keck Foundation, Engineering Excellence Teaching Award, 1995
  • Fellow, American Ceramic Society, 1994
  • NSF Visiting Professorship for Women, 1994-1996.


  • American Ceramic Society
  • American Physical Society (APS)
  • American Society for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • NSHP (National Society for Hispanic Physicists)
  • SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science)

Liquid Crystals for biological studies and general engineering applications (e.g., displays), X-ray scattering techniques of liquid crystal and other materials.

Professor Martínez-Miranda is currently studying the interaction of liquid crystal with nanoscale materials. Since nanometer-sized liquid crystal phases are found in the cell walls of all living creatures, her studies have implications in the healthcare field and the study of biological interactions, particularly where nanoparticles are used as carriers for the delivery of treatment.

Professor Martínez-Miranda contributed to the creation of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering's undergraduate program, including the design of two of its junior year materials labs. She also took part in a NSF-funded project to develop new laboratory experiments that effectively engage undergraduate engineering students in the scientific processes and exploration of concepts in nanotechnology.

Links to course descriptions and syllabi are provided where available.

She designed the following courses:

  • ENMA 310: Materials Lab I: Structural Characterization
  • ENMA 311: Materials Lab II: Electromagnetic Properties
  • ENMA 489L: Selected Topics in Engineering Materials: Liquid Crystals and Other Monomeric Soft Matter Materials
    Liquid crystals and their applications, role in biology, and nanometer structure.

Professor Martínez-Miranda typically teaches the following courses:

  • ENES 100: Introduction to Engineering Design
  • ENMA 311 (see above)
  • ENMA 460: Physics of Solid Materials

She has also taught:

  • ENMA 300: Introduction to Materials and Their Applications
  • ENMA 489M/681: Selected Topics in Engineering Materials: Diffraction Techniques in Materials Science
    Introduction to diffraction from materials due to their structure or lack thereof.

  • Martinez-Miranda, L.J. & Kurihara, L.K., Interaction and response of a smectic-A liquid crystal to a nanometer particle: Phase transition due to the combined effect of the functionalization compound and particle size. Journal of Applied Physics 105 (8) (2009).
  • Cordoyiannis, G., Kurihara, L.K., Martinez-Miranda, L.J., Glorieux, C., & Thoen, J., Effects of magnetic nanoparticles with different surface coating on the phase transitions of octylcyanobiphenyl liquid crystal. Physical Review E 79 (1) (2009).
  • Martínez-Miranda, L.J., Kurihara, L.K., McCarthy, K. Bruce, R., Harry, J., & Noel, A. A phenomenological model of the effect of magnetic nanoparticles and their surface coating on smectic—A liquid crystal order. Submitted to Molec. Cryst Liq. Cryst., (2007).
  • Martinez-Miranda, L.J., McCarthy, K., Kurihara, L.K., Harry, J.J., & Noel, A., Effect of the surface coating on the magnetic nanoparticle smectic-A liquid crystal interaction. Applied Physics Letters 89 (16) (2006).
  •  Martinez-Miranda, L.J. & Hu, Y., Temperature and depth dependence of order in liquid crystal interfaces. Journal of Applied Physics 99 (11) (2006).
  • Martinez-Miranda, L.J., McCarthy, K., Kurihara, L.K., & Noel, A., Effect of magnetic nanoparticles and their functionalization on liquid crystal order. Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals 435, 747-753 (2005).
  • Koh, I. et al., X-ray scattering study of the interactions between magnetic nanoparticles and living cell membranes. Journal of Applied Physics 97 (8) (2005).
  • Mohaddes-Ardabili, L. et al., Preferred orientation of DNA oligonucleotide probes on the (2x4) reconstructed surface of (001) GaAs. Journal of Applied Physics 95 (11), 6021-6024 (2004).
  • Martinez-Miranda, L.J., An x-ray scattering study of the smectic-C* liquid crystal structure in the vicinity of the buried interface of a glass grating. Journal of Applied Physics 96 (6), 3272-3276 (2004).
  • Mohaddes-Ardabili, L. et al., Attachment of DNA probes on gallium arsenide surface. Applied Physics Letters 83 (1), 192-194 (2003).
  • Martinez-Miranda, L.J., Smectic ordering in confined liquid crystal films: A depth study. Journal of Applied Physics 91 (10), 6452-6456 (2002).
  • Martinez-Miranda, L.J., Siegal, M.P., & Provencio, P.P., Nanostructural study of the thermal transformation of diamond-like amorphous carbon into an ultrahard carbon nanocomposite. Applied Physics Letters 79 (4), 542-544 (2001).

Luz Martinez-Miranda is a 2020 ADVANCE Honoree

Martinez-Miranda was the first woman president of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists.

MSE Researchers Create Novel Liquid Crystal Materials From Particles

Bent colloidal rods exhibit classic liquid crystal mesophases of organic molecules.

New Software Will Enhance Materials Science and Engineering’s Undergraduate Program

UMD wins one of six computational design toolkits from ASM International.

Martinez-Miranda Receives American Physical Society's Bouchet Award

Award recognizes distinguished minority physicists.

Karki Selected for Future Faculty Program

Graduate student joins highly selective cohort.

Liquid Crystal/Nanoparticle Mix Lays Groundwork for New Photovoltaics

Novel study demonstrates possibility of cheaper, flexible solar cells.

$360K NSF Grant for Liquid Crystal Study

Research could help develop drug delivery systems.

Hispanic Physicists Elect Martinez-Miranda

NSHP chooses professor to boost opportunities, recognition, and recruitment of students.

Martínez-Miranda Leads U.S. Delegation at ICWIP

International conference on women in physics celebrates achievements.

Martinez-Miranda Elected APS Fellow

Professor recognized for work in education, liquid crystal research.

NSF Boosts Nanotech Curriculum

MSE, ME faculty and staff develop new lessons, teaching lab.

  • APS

  • AAAS