Lena F. Kourkoutis
Assistant Professor of Applied & Engineering Physics

Lena F. Kourkoutis




Department of Applied & Engineering Physics
235 Clark Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853


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Lena 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 she 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 the Microscopy Society of America as the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Albert Crewe Award.

Research Description

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.


Richter, C., H. Boschker, W. Dietsche, E. Fillis-Tsirakis, R. Jany, F. Loder, D. Muller, J. R. Kirtley, C. W. Schneider, J. Mannhart, Lena F Kourkoutis. 2013. "Interface superconductor with gap behaviour like a high-temperature superconductor." Nature 502 (7472): 528-531.

Kourkoutis, Lena F., X. Hao, S. Huang, B. Puthen-Veettil, G. Conibeer, M. A. Green, I. Perez-Wurfl. 2013. "Three-dimensional imaging for precise structural control of Si quantum dot networks for all-Si solar cells." Nanoscale 5: 7499.

Chien, TeYu, Lena F. Kourkoutis, J. Chakhalian, B. Gray, M. Kareev, N. P. Guisinger, D. Muller, J. W. Freeland. 2013. "Visualizing short-range charge transfer at the interfaces between ferromagnetic and superconducting oxides." Nat. Commun. 4: 2336.

Kourkoutis, Lena F. 2012. "Electron microscopy of biological materials at the nanometer scale." Annual Review of Materials Research 42: 33.

Kourkoutis, Lena F., H. J. Song, Y. H. Hwang, A. D. Muller. 2010. "Microscopic origins for stabilizing room-temperature ferromagnetism in ultrathin manganite layers." PNAS 107: 11682-11685.

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