Stephen O'Brien


Main Affiliation

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs

Chemical Engineering

Center for Advanced Technology

Energy Institute

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanoscience
  • Materials Science
  • Electronic Materials
  • Batteries and Capacitors


Center for Discovery and Innovation







Stephen O'Brien


1999-00: MRSEC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Materials Science, Columbia University and IBM TJ Watson Research Center (Advisors: Louis E. Brus and Christopher B. Murray)

1998-99: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Materials Chemistry, UC Santa Barbara. (Advisor: Galen Stucky)

1998: D. Phil.  Physical Sciences, Inorganic Materials Chemistry,

Balliol College, Oxford University, United Kingdom (Advisor: Dermot O’Hare)

1994: B.Sc. Chemistry (First Class Honors), Sussex University, United Kingdom.

Courses Taught

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM 71000) PhD Level Course

Introduction to Nanotechnology (CHEM 78500) PhD Level Course

Modern Materials Science (CHEM B8004), Masters/Graduate Level Course mainly for engineers.

General Chemistry (CHEM 103). Introductory level course for Freshman at CCNY.

Multiple “Doctoral Research/Dissertation” courses also taught under difference course codes.

Professional Experience

2006- 2008: Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Columbia University.

2000- 2005: Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Columbia University.

2000- 2003: Institutional Guest Member, IBM TJ Watson Research center, Yorktown Heights.

Research Interests

Synthesis and properties of complex oxide nanocrystals. Application of nanomaterials and nanocomposites to cleantechnology, energy storage and power conversion. Capacitors and gate dielectrics. Nanomaterials synthesis, properties and structural characterization. Electronic devices from nanomaterials. Device performance and testing. Chemical deposition techniques and self-assembly. Printing and spin coated films. Two dimensional nanomaterials and electronics, graphene, boron nitride. Nanoparticle synthesis and self-assembly into superlattices. Transition metal oxide nanomaterials, high k dielectrics/memory materials. Titanates and garnets at the nanoscale, multi-ferroics, magneto-optical materials, photonic materials, metamaterials. Catalysis and nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes. Biomedical applications of nanotechnology.


Recent Articles (see for full list)

  1. Pearsall, F. A.; Lombardi, J.; Farahmand, N.; Tassel, B.; Leland, E. S.; Huang,  L.; Liu, S.; Yang, S.; Le, C.; Kymissis, I.; Kinget, P.; Sanders, S. R.; Steingart, D.; O’Brien, S. “Polymer-Nanocrystal Nanocomposites: Device Concepts in Capacitors and Multiferroics” IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, 2019, 10.1109/TNANO.2019.2939093.

  2. Lombardi, J.; Yang, L.; Pearsall, F., A.; Farahmand, N.; Gai, Z., Billinge, J. L. O’Brien, S. “Stoichiometric Control Over Ferroic Behavior in Ba(Ti1-xFex)O3 Nanocrystals” Chemistry of Materials, 2019, 31, 4, 1318-1335. DOI:10.1021/acs.chemmater.8b04447.

  3. Leland, E. S.; Kinget, P. R.; Kymissis, I.; Steingart, D.; Sanders, S. R.; O’Brien, S. “Nanocomposite Capacitors in Power Electronics and Multiferroics” IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine, 2018, 10.1109/MNANO.2018.2881331. (invited).

  4. Lombardi, J.; Pearsall, F. A.; Farahmand, N.; van Tassel B.; Leland E. S.; Huang, L.; Liu, S.; Yang, S.; Le, C.; Kymissis, I.; Kinget, P.; Sanders, S. R.; Steingart, D.; O'Brien, S. “Polymer-Nanocrystal Nanocomposite Capacitors and Their Applications in Energy Storage”, 2018 IEEE 13th Nanotechnology Materials and Devices Conference (NMDC), pp. 1-4, 2018.

  5. Giannakoudakis, D. A.; Pearsall, F.; Florent, M.; Lombardi, J.; O’Brien, S.; and Bandosz, T. J. “Barium titanate perovskite nanoparticles as a photoreactive medium for chemical warfare agent detoxification.” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2018, 531, 233-244. Front cover

  6. Mashtalir, O.; Nguyen, M.; Bodoin, E.; Swonger, L.; and O’Brien, S. “High-Purity Lithium Metal Films from Aqueous Mineral Solutions” ACS Omega, 2018, 3 (1), 181–187 DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b01501.

  7. Pearsall, F., A.; Lombardi, J.; O’Brien, S. “Monomer Derived Poly(Furfuryl)/BaTiO3 0–3 Nanocomposite Capacitors: Maximization of the Effective Permittivity Through Control at the Interface.” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2017 9 (46), 40324-40332. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b13879.