Suzanne Mohney has been a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering since 2004 and also holds the title of Professor of Electrical Engineering. Prior to 2004, she was an Associate or Assistant Professor at Penn State. She earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science at the University of Wisconsin in 1994 and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 1987. She has been a recipient of research awards from The Electrochemical Society and Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, as well as an award for outstanding teaching from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. In 2013, she became Chair of the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Materials Science and Engineering. Suzanne is serving in 2017 and 2018 as Chair of the Electronic Materials Committee, which organizes the Electronic Materials Conference.
Our research group investigates electronic and photonic materials, particularly metals and semiconductors for use in electronic and optoelectronic devices. We are especially interested in the synthesis and processing of thin films and nanostructures, as well as their materials and electrical characterization.
We use physical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, and related techniques to prepare many of the materials for our studies. We work in Penn State’s Nanofabrication Laboratory to fabricate simple devices and test structures. Our work also involves studies of current transport, particularly through electrical contacts, and materials characterization using transmission electron microscopy, surface spectroscopies, and atomic force microscopy in Penn State’s Materials Characterization Laboratory.
Our projects involve many different families of semiconductors, some of which have been commercialized and others that are in the early stages of development. These semiconductors include Si, SiC, group III nitrides such as GaN, III-V compounds such as InAs, and two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides such as MoS2 and WSe2. We also have experience with most metals and many intermetallics in thin-film form through our studies of electrical contacts and electronic packaging.
Technological applications of our work include high-temperature electronics and sensors, transistors for low-power electronics, energy-efficient white lighting, photovoltaics, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Our research is very interdisciplinary, involving collaborations with research groups in electrical engineering, physics, chemistry, and other disciplines. We also frequently work with researchers from government laboratories and industry.