James R. Engstrom

James R. Engstrom

Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
354 Olin Hall


James R. Engstrom is currently a Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University. Since 2002 he has also been a member of the Graduate Field of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Prof. Engstrom is the recipient of numerous awards, including, in 1991, a NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Lilly Endowment Teaching Fellowship in 1995, as well as 2 College of Engineering Teaching Awards. In 2005 he was made a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society. From 1998 to 2001, he worked for Symyx Technologies, where he was vice president of high-throughput screening and electronic materials. Presently, Professor Engstrom's research is focusing in three areas: controlling thin film nucleation in nanoscale electronics using techniques such as atomic layer deposition; organic thin film electronics, using in situ real time X-ray synchrotron radiation; and modification and processing of inorganic nanocrystalline materials. He earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

Research Interests

Gas-surface dynamics via molecular beam scattering. Inorganic-organic interfaces and molecular-based electronics. Atomic layer deposition. In-situ monitoring and control of thin film processes, including X-ray synchrotron radiation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and low energy ion scattering spectrometry.

Research Group Members

Teaching Interests

Professor Engstrom's current teaching focus is on Process Dynamics and Control, a core course taken by chemical engineering undergraduate juniors. He also teaches an elective course on Microchemical and Microfluidic Systems, which is typically taken by approximately one-third to one-half of the undergraduate chemical engineering seniors each year. He has also taught Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design at the undergraduate level, and Chemical Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics at the graduate level. Material he developed concerning the latter course over a decade ago is still being used in this graduate core course. Material he developed concerning research ethics continues to be used in a course taken by first year graduate students.

Selected Publications

  • Killampalli, A. S., P. F. Ma, James R Engstrom. 2005."The reaction of tetrakis(dimethylamido)titanium with self-assembled alkyltrichlorosilane monolayers possessing -OH, -NH2, and -CH3 terminal groups."Journal of the American Chemical Society127(17): 6300-6310.
  • Sharma, M., A. Dube, James R Engstrom. 2007."Growth of first generation dendrons on SiO2: Controlling chemisorption of transition metal coordination complexes."Journal of the American Chemical Society129(48): 15022-15033.
  • Hughes, K.J., James R Engstrom. 2010."Interfacial organic layers: Tailored surface chemistry for nucleation and growth."Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A-Vacuum Surfaces and Films28(5): 1033-1059.
  • Desai, Tushar V., Arthur R. Woll, F.rank Schrieber, James R Engstrom. 2010."Nucleation and Growth of Perfluoropentacene on Self-Assembled Monolayers: Significant Changes in Island Density and Shape with Surface Termination."Journal of Physical Chemistry C114: 20120-20129.
  • Hughes, Kevin J., James R Engstrom. 2012."Nucleation delay in atomic layer deposition on a thin organic layer and the role of reaction thermochemistry."Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A-Vacuum Surfaces and Films30(1): 01A102- 01A116.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, American Vacuum Society(American Vacuum Society)2005
  • College of Engineering Teaching Award 2003 and 1995(Cornell University)2003
  • EPSRC Visiting Fellowship(Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, UK)1997
  • STA Nuclear Fellowship(Science and Technology Agency of Japan)1996
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award(National Science Foundation)1991


  • B.S.(Chemical Engineering),University of Minnesota,1981
  • Ph.D.(Chemical Engineering),California Institute of Technology,1986


Research Group Members

Graduate Students

  • Jay Swarup
    Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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