Patrick Lenahan

Patrick Lenahan
  • Distinguished Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics
101 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building
(814) 863-4630


P.M. Lenahan earned his B.S. degree from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. After completing his Ph.D. in 1979, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University in 1979 and 1980. From 1980 until 1985 he was a member of the technical staff in the Materials Research Directorate of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since 1985 he has been at Penn State University where he is Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM). ESM is the materials engineering and applied physics department of the Penn State Engineering College; the department also operates an honors degree program for engineering students interested in applied physics. In 2001, he was visiting professor of Electronics and Computer Engineering at Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan (Nihon University is the largest university in Japan). From 2000 through 2004 he served as an associate editor of the Journal of Electronic Materials.

Patrick Lenahan has authored over 150 publications (approximately 120 in refereed journals and 30 in refereed conference proceedings volumes), 150 conference presentations, and one patent. The publications have been cited approximately 2900 times. His research has been primarily focused upon the trapping centers in semiconductors and insulators: amorphous SiO2, nitrogen, phosphorous, and boron “doped” SiO2, silicon nitrides, silicon oxynitrides, Si/SiO2 interfaces, silicon grain boundaries and silicon carbide with a variety of electrical measurements and electron spin resonance techniques.

Academic Training

B.S. in Physics, University of Notre Dame
Ph.D. in Materials Science, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana


Professor Lenahan and his graduate students are collaborating with researchers at Intel Corporation, Sharp Laboratories of America, International SEMATECH, and Applied Materials Corporation in studies of new high dielectric constant based metal oxide silicon field effect transistor (MOSFET) systems which will almost certainly dominate the microelectronics technology of the coming decade. His group is also collaborating with researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD, NASA Glenn Laboratory, and CREE Corporation in the development of high power and high temperature electronics based upon silicon carbide. With researchers at Texas Instruments Research and Development Laboratory in Dallas, TX, Professor Lenahan’s group is working to solve a serious problem in present day integrated circuitry called the negative bias temperature instability.

In all of this microelectronics related research, magnetic resonance and electrical measurements are utilized to provide a fundamental understanding of the materials physics involved in determining the performance of electronic devices. The work is carried out in collaboration with leaders in technology. This collaboration with leading technologists allows the basic research carried out at Penn State to contribute directly to technology.