Awardee Interviews | Biography: Darrell Schlom

Darrell Schlom

Darrell Schlom, Cornell University, “For pioneering contributions to the development of molecular-beam epitaxy for the growth of complex oxides and its judicious application to create oxides with unparalleled properties”
Darrell Schlom is the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Industrial Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University.  He also holds the honorary appointment of Leibniz Chair at the Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung (IKZ).  Schlom serves as Co-Director of a national user facility supported by the National Science Foundation, PARADIM, whose mission is to empower its users to accelerate the discovery of atomically engineered inorganic materials that revolutionize electronics.  After receiving a B.S. degree from Caltech, he did graduate work at Stanford University receiving an M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering.  He was then a post-doc at IBM’s research lab in Zurich, Switzerland in the oxide superconductors and novel materials group.  In 1992 he joined the faculty at Penn State in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where he spent 16 years before joining the faculty at Cornell in 2008.  

Schlom’s research involves the heteroepitaxial growth and characterization of oxide thin films by reactive molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE), especially utilizing a ‘materials-by-design’ approach to discover materials with properties superior to any known.  In addition to helping to propel oxide MBE to be the vibrant field that it is today, he is also known for his comprehensive analysis of the thermodynamic stability of oxides in contact with silicon.  His work was the first to suggest the stability of the HfO2/Si interface and contributed to the materials revolution now in production at Intel, Panasonic, TSMC, Global Foundries, and IBM—the replacement of SiO2 in MOSFETs with a high K dielectric.  With collaborators at IKZ, he also ignited the strain engineering of oxides through the development of new substrates.  This approach has not only allowed the properties of known phases to be enhanced using strain, but hidden metastable phases with unparalleled properties to be stabilized.  

Together with superb students, postdocs, colleagues, and collaborators from around the world, he has published over 650 papers and 8 patents resulting in an h-index exceeding 100 and over 50,000 citations.  Among the awards that Schlom has received are the MBE Innovator Award from NAMBE, a Humboldt Research Award, the MRS Medal, the APS McGroddy Prize for New Materials, and the Frank Prize from the International Organization for Crystal Growth.  He is a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Physical Society, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.