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Lena F. Kourkoutis

  • Lena F. Kourkoutis
  • Dept: Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Title: Assistant Professor, Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow, and Director of Undergraduate Programs
  • Address: 235 Clark Hall
  • Phone: 607 255-9121
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Kourkoutis received a Diploma in Physics from the University of Rostock, Germany in 2003, and then moved to Ithaca where she was awarded a PhD in 2009. As a Humboldt Research Fellow Kourkoutis spent 2011-2012 exploring cryo-electron microscopy in the Molecular Structural Biology Group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. She returned to Cornell as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2012 and joined the Applied and Engineering Faculty in 2013. She has been selected by Microscopy Society of America as the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Albert Crewe Award.

Research Interests

Research Interests: Nanostructured Materials, Next Generation Energy Related Devices, Complex Electronic Materials, Atomic-resolution Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy, Cryo- electron Microscopy for Soft and Composite Materials

The Kourkoutis electron microscopy group focuses on understanding and controlling nanostructured materials, from complex oxide heterostructures to materials for battery and photovoltaic applications to biomaterials.

The presence of interfaces between different components is a key feature of all nanoscale materials and devices. Macroscopic properties of a system depend upon detailed atomic configurations, interfacial chemistry, and electronic coupling. We use aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy to determine the atomic-scale structure, elemental distribution and electronic structure of individual nanostructures and their interfaces.

In order to explore a new range of phenomena and materials we are developing low temperature high-resolution electron microscopy techniques. The topics we are pursuing include: Novel phases that emerge at low temperatures at complex oxide interfaces; solid-liquid and hard-soft interfaces in next generation energy related devices such as photovoltaics, batteries and fuel cells and organic/inorganic interfaces in biomaterials.

Selected Publications

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), AFOSR 2016
  • National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow 2016
  • 2013 Albert Crewe Award (Microscopy Society of America) 2013
  • Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow (Cornell University) 2012
  • Scholarship Award (Marine Biological Laboratory) 2012



  • BS (Physics), University of Rostock, 2003
  • MS (Applied and Engineering Physics), School of Applied and Engineering Physics, 2006
  • Ph D (Applied and Engineering Physics), School of Applied and Engineering Physics, 2009