Joshua Robinson

  • Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
N-337 Millennium Science Complex
(814) 863-8567


Dr. Robinson obtained his B.S. degree in Physics with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics from Towson University in 2001. He received his doctorate degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Materials Science and Engineering in 2005. From there, he joined the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. as an NRC Post Doctorate Fellow where he developed highly carbon nanotube devices for detection of explosives and nerve agents. In 2007, Dr. Robinson joined the Penn State Electro-Optics Center as a research associate in the Materials Division and most recently (2012) joined the Penn State Materials Science and Engineering Department as an Assistant Professor. In 2013, he co-founded the Center for Two-Dimensional and Layered Materials, and currently serves as Associate Director of the Center. In July 2015, he became Co-Director of the NSF I/UCRC Center for Atomically Thin Multifunctional Coatings (ATOMIC). He has authored or co-authored over 80 peer reviewed journal publications with a significant focus on low dimensional electronic materials. He has patents on chemical and neutron detection, and three pending patents related to 2D materials.  His recent awards include the NSF-CAREER (2015), The G. Montgomery and Marion Hall Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching (2015), Student Choice MatSE Faculty of the Year (2014), Penn State Miller Faculty Fellowship (2013), Oakridge Young Faculty Award (2013), Corning Faculty Fellowship (2013), Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Award (2012), Alan Berman Research Publication Award (2007), and a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (2005).


Academic Training

Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
B.S. in Physics, Towson University


“What could we do with layered structures with just the right layers? What would the properties of materials be if we could really arrange the atoms the way we want them ...” These words from Richard Feynman started the scientific world down the path to discover 2D materials.  Dr. Robinson’s interests span a wide range of electronic materials capable of integration into many different technologies. However, low-dimensional materials for electronic and optoelectronic, as well as and radiation sensing have become a prime focus of his research.  One such material is “graphene”, a single sheet of graphite, presents a host of remarkable physical and chemical properties, many of which originate from its special electronic band structure. However, graphene is only the tip of the iceberg.  Since 2012, Dr. Robinson’s focus has been on the synthesis and integration of 2D materials to form heterostructures with unprecedented electronic and optoelectronic performance. He focuses on developing synthesis, characterization, and integration techniques of many “beyond graphene” materials. These material systems include 2D material systems such as hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), transition-metal dichalcogenides in the form of MX2 (where M=transition metal such as Mo, W, Ti, Nb, etc. and X=S, Se, or Te), group IV chalcocengides, and 2D Nitrides beyond hBN. 

Topics of interest:

1.     Synthesis of 2D materials

2.     Integration of 2D materials with 3D materials

3.     Development of novel semiconductor materials