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Martinez-Miranda, Luz

Luz Martinez-Miranda
Associate Professor
Undergraduate Advisor and Sloan Scholars Advisor
Fellow, AAAS and APS
1110D Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building

News About This Professor


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

Research Interests 

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 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.

Current Research Projects 

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.

Honors and Awards 

  • 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.

Professional Memberships 

  • 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)

Selected Publications 

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).

Related News 

MSE Researchers Create Novel Liquid Crystal Materials From Particles
Bent colloidal rods exhibit classic liquid crystal mesophases of organic molecules. May 11, 2018

New Software Will Enhance Materials Science and Engineering’s Undergraduate Program
UMD wins one of six computational design toolkits from ASM International. June 9, 2015

Martinez-Miranda Receives American Physical Society's Bouchet Award
Award recognizes distinguished minority physicists. November 1, 2013

Karki Selected for Future Faculty Program
Graduate student joins highly selective cohort. February 16, 2012

Martínez-Miranda Named Fulbright Specialist
Professor plans liquid crystal research, student exchange with colleague in Chile. December 7, 2011

Liquid Crystal/Nanoparticle Mix Lays Groundwork for New Photovoltaics
Novel study demonstrates possibility of cheaper, flexible solar cells. March 31, 2011

Cornett wins MRS Student Presentation Award
Grad student recognized for work on improved model of thermoelectric materials. February 2, 2011

Takeuchi Elected APS Fellow
Cited for pioneering work in combinatorial materials science. December 3, 2010

$360K NSF Grant for Liquid Crystal Study
Research could help develop drug delivery systems. January 21, 2010

Hispanic Physicists Elect Martinez-Miranda
NSHP chooses professor to boost opportunities, recognition, and recruitment of students. November 1, 2009

Martínez-Miranda Leads U.S. Delegation at ICWIP
International conference on women in physics celebrates achievements. October 22, 2008

Martinez-Miranda Elected APS Fellow
Professor recognized for work in education, liquid crystal research. November 30, 2007

NSF Boosts Nanotech Curriculum
MSE, ME faculty and staff develop new lessons, teaching lab. November 1, 2007