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

Search Initiated for New Clark School Dean

A national search has been initiated for a new Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Cumings and Drisko Published in Nature Communications

Small defects can make whole materials frustrated.

Members of NEES Gather for 2015 Spring Accomplishment Meeting

Poster session, in-depth discussions, presentations.... and hiking

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.

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

Cornett, Karki Selected for Sustainable Energy Workshop in Ethiopia

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

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.

The Weird World of "Remote Heating"

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

"Plasmonics with a Twist"

Rabin wins prestigious NSF CAREER Award to enhance spectroscopy for drug development, medical research.

Cumings, Zachariah Honored for Research

Clark School Outstanding Research Awards recognize professors' work in nanostructures for advanced batteries, nanoparticle characterization.

Cumings, Seog Win NSF CAREER Awards for Nanotech

"Frustrated nanomagnets," peptide self-assembly efforts seek denser computer memory, new bio-inspired materials.

$15M to Support Postdoc Nanotechnology Research

Program will create next generation of nano experts.

Cumings Receives DOE Grant

Materials group's nanotube study could improve computer processor, turbine generator efficiency.

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.

Now That's Cool

Clark School engineers out to thaw the mysteries of ice.

Cumings Discusses Crane Collapses Online

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 Participate in Exchange Program

U.S./Japan program focuses on nanotechnology.