print this page


Affiliated with the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the CML currently maintains laboratories and offices in the Engineering Quadrangle (EQuad) on the campus of Princeton University.

The primary goal of the CML is advancing ceramic processing science and technology. Our research activities focus on improving material systems, while heightening the state of the art in ceramic materials. We believe that this can be best achieved by combining basic and applied research, and applying results immediately for the engineering of improved materials.

Recognizing that the key to improved properties is the control of hierarchy within the materials system, we begin with the organization of atomic and molecular aggregates. These aggregates serve as the building blocks for larger structures, which in turn provide the components for even larger structures. This hierarchical structuring is frequently observed in biological materials (such as bone, hair, and seashell), leading to bioinspired processing as a new paradigm in materials processing. More generally, the design and fabrication of materials with predictable properties begins at the atomic scale but requires monitoring and control at each stepwise increase in the degree of complexity. The process ends only when the size of the materials system is sufficient to meet the requirements of the application.

Research at the CML is concentrated in the areas of Biomimetics, Multifunctional Materials, Nanoscale Science and Technology, and Hierarchical Systems. Details on these and other aspects of the CML can be found using the menu at the left.

Biologically Inspired Materials Institute (BIMat)

An institute for the study of Biologically Inspired Materials (BIMat) was established with funding under the University Research, Engineering, and Technology Institute (URETI) through NASA in August 2002. The program, led by Princeton University, includes researchers from Princeton, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Northwestern University, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). More information regarding the BIMat Institute is available on the BIMat website (

News and Press Articles

The following articles contain general descriptions of some aspects of the group's activities. A list of our technical publications along with available reprints can be found on the Publications page.

"Wearable antenna technology shown at 2015 AUSA" DefenseNews (17 October 2015)
"Randy Kurosky honored for Entrepreneurial Excellence" 2014 Diamond Awards (28 April 2015)
"Princeton-Vorbeck Connection" EQuad News (05 February 2015)
"New Generation of Supercapacitors" Supercapacitors C&EN (03 February 2015)
"Prof. Aksay named as National Academy of Inventors Fellow" NAI Fellow 2014 (06 December 2014)
"Freshman Seminar examines the impact of materials on civilization" (14 November 2013)
"Graphene: Faster, stronger, bendier " (30 January 2013)
"License Agreement between Vorbeck Materials and Battelle will Lead to Faster- charging Batteries" (30 January 2013)
"Vorbeck's president, John Lettow, appears on BBC World News" (17 January 2013)
"Ilhan Aksay named as AAAS Fellow" (05 December 2012)
"Vorbeck Materials wins ARPA-E grant for Transformational Energy Technology" (05 December 2012)
"Graphene-Rubber Nanocomposites on the Cover of Journal of Polymer Science" (20 July 2012)
"Article on Functionalized Graphene Electrodes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells enters Top 5 "Most Read" List for ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces" (26 June 2012)
"Princeton Team wins R&D 100 Award for Fast-Charging Batteries " (21 June 2012)
"Delivering the future with graphene " (15 March 2012)
"Baltimore Sun features Vorbeck as top energy innovator " (14 February 2012)
"Vorbeck Materials Selected as an "America's Next Top Energy Innovator"" (10 February 2012)
"Princeton University Supports Ultracapacitor Research " Princeton University website (02 February 2012)
"Vorbeck Materials Nominated for Energy Innovator by the Department of Energy" Princeton University-EQN blog website (27 January 2012)
"Exploiting the Carbon Flatland" (21 December 2011)
"Printable Sensors Highlighted " Princeton University-SEAS website (21 December 2011)
"Graphene moves toward Applications " (22 November 2011)
"TiO2-Graphene Particles cited as Miniscule Particles with Massive Potentials" What's Hot in Chemistry (27 September 2011)
"The Super-Material Giving New Energy to Electric Cars " Future (20 September 2011)
"Retail Ready: Graphene is beginning to Revolutionise the Market for Plastic Electronics" Plastic Electronics (03 August 2011)
"ACS Nano Podcast is "All About Graphene"" ACS Nano (02 August 2011)
"Two Articles are among the Top 20 Most Cited Articles for the Past Three Years" (01 June 2011)
"Article on electrocatalysts for fuel cells has entered the top 10 "most read" list for Q1 2011 for Chemistry of Materials" Chemistry of Materials (23 May 2011)
"Metal Oxide and Graphene Nanocomposites for Improved Electric Energy Storage" (09 March 2011)
"A paperweight for platinum " (08 February 2011)
"First Graphene Composite Anode in Production " (24 January 2011)
"Aksay Elected to the Turkish Academy of Sciences" (07 December 2010)
"Vorbeck Materials wins 2010 World Technology Award " (01 December 2010)
"Vorbeck Materials cited in Wall Street Journal " Wall Street Journal (07 October 2010)
"Review article on graphene-based sensors the "most accessed" article for July 2010" Electroanalysis (12 August 2010)
"Vorbeck Materials Corporation and Princeton University cited in report on economic growth" (28 July 2010)
"Vorbeck Materials Receives a Top Innovator Award by the New York Venture Summit" BusinessWire (17 June 2010)
"Graphene-DNA biosensor selective, simple to create " Small (02 June 2010)
"Partnership Award with Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan " Partner University Fund (15 April 2010)
"Aksay Elected to National Academy of Engineering" National Academies (20 February 2010)
"Aksay Elected to National Academy of Engineering (Turkish version)" Tübitak (19 February 2010)
"Article on graphene as a fuel additive highlighted by Nature Nanotechnology" Nature Nanotechnology (21 January 2010)
"Graphene Innovator Vorbeck Materials receives LoREX approval from EPA" Business Wire (17 December 2009)
"Article on graphene-based composites for enhanced Li-ion insertion has entered the top 20 "most downloaded" list for ACS Nano" ACS Nano (10 December 2009)
"McAllister et al. (2007) most cited article" Chemistry of Materials (21 October 2009)
"Stimulus grants top $31 million" Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) (09 October 2009)
"Commercial Production of Graphene " (01 October 2009)
"Recovery Act Awards" Princeton University Website (18 September 2009)
"Joint publication with PNNL is the top "hottest article"" ScienceDirect (10 September 2009)
"Vorbeck Materials makes inroads in graphene technology" Printed Electronics Now (13 August 2009)
"The Journal of Physical Chemistry B's most read articles" J. Phys. Chem. B (11 August 2009)
"Bringing graphene to market" Technology Review (06 August 2009)
"Polymer scientist says creativity is key" (29 July 2009)
"Super tiny technology could power superfast airplanes" Princeton University Website (17 July 2009)
"Alum's startup company bets on Princeton research" Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) (10 June 2009)
"Princeton researchers to lead major Pentagon-funded initiatives" Princeton University Website (28 May 2009)
"Graphene: Carbon As Thin As Can Be" Chemical and Engineering News (02 March 2009)
"BASF and Vorbeck Link for Graphene " Chemical and Engineering News (22 December 2008)
"By Adding Graphene, Researchers Create Superior Polymer" Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering News (16 June 2008)
"Chemical engineer's love of Latin leads to salutatorian selection" Princeton University Website (30 May 2008)
"Nanoprinting" NJN Newscast (08 February 2008)
"Fine print: New techniques allows fast printing of microscopic electronics" Princeton University (24 January 2008)
"Record-breaking female enrollment in Princeton Engineering freshman class" Princeton Engineering News (23 September 2007)
"18 Students Graduate from Materials Science and Engineering Program, 2 recognized for Excellence" PRISM (08 June 2007)
"Michael McGehee '94, named Outstanding Young Investigator by the Materials Research Society" 2007 MRS Spring Meeting (07 June 2007)
"Suspended in Orbit" Chemical Heritage Newsmagazine 25 (05 June 2007)
"Vorbeck says it can produce graphene cheaply and abundantly" EQuad News Blog (15 May 2007)
"Nanocomposites - Less Hype, More Hard Work on Commercial Viability" Plastics Technology (01 May 2007)
"Sabanci Unversity Competition Forum puts 'Nanotechnology' on the Table" Dünya Gazetesi - Online (Turkish) (26 November 2006)
"Silicon and Sun" Technology Review (MIT) (08 November 2006)
"DIY repairs: self-healing mechanisms are being developed for protective coatings" European Coatings Journal and European Coatings Journal (01 November 2006)
"In Memoriam: Prof. Dudley Saville, a close collaborator of CML, dies" Princeton University (03 October 2006)
"Speedy self-healing" Nature Materials 128 (07 September 2006)
"Oxygen breaks into carbon world" Nature 441 818-819 (15 June 2006)
"Nano-structured Construction Materials" EuropeRealEstate 2006 (03 May 2006)
"From Quonset huts to ballerinas: Princeton scientists solve a nanotech mystery" AAAS EurekAlert! and News@Princeton and PrincetonEngineering (29 January 2006)
"Self-assembly III: choreographing molecular dancers" NANOTECH|BUZZ (29 January 2006)
"The intelligence behind smart coatings" JCT CoatingsTech 3 (1) 50-55 (01 January 2006)
"Nature's Design Workshop - Engineers Turn to Biology for Inspiration" Newsweek (26 September 2005)
"Learning at Mother Nature's Knee" Fortune (22 August 2005)
"Research at Princeton" News@Princeton (15 July 2005)
"Devir biyotaklit devri!" (Biomimetics Age) Focus (Turkish) 36-41 (01 March 2005)
"Exotische Materialien: Beulen und Kratzer heilen sich sell" Spiegel Online - Wissenschaft (German) (21 February 2005)
"Smarte Materialien" Heise Online - Technology Review (German) (21 February 2005)
"Aksay Named Highly Cited Researcher" ISI Highly Cited Researchers (11 October 2004)
"Grants fund research on underwater vehicles, high-tech materials" Princeton Weekly Bulletin (14 June 2004)
"Cracking future for fabric that heals its own breaks" The Guardian (UK) (13 May 2004)
"Department of Defense selects Princeton/Harvard team for MURI program grant." (12 March 2004)
"William Ristenpart awarded Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship" Princeton Weekly Bulletin (01 March 2004)
"Princeton gives highest awards to top undergraduate, graduate students" Princeton University (23 February 2004)
"Commercializing nanotechnology" Nature Biotechnology 21 [10] 1137-1143 (01 October 2003)
"Electrically Guided Assembly in Binary Colloidal Suspensions" NJN Newscast (16 July 2003)
"Simple technique yields complex structures" Princeton University (10 June 2003)
"Self-help for ailing structures" Materials Today (01 June 2003)
"Bu uçak düşe kalka UÇACAK!" Milliyet (Turkish) (15 May 2003)
"Two engineering faculty members elected to NAE" EQuad News (01 April 2003)
"Research in space-age materials takes off with support from NASA" Princeton Weekly Bulletin (14 October 2002)
"PU heads up search for materials that mimic life" Princeton Packet (27 September 2002)
"NASA Turns to Universities for Research in Space-Age Materials" Space Daily (26 September 2002)
"Princeton minds join NASA Study team" The Trenton Times (26 September 2002)
"Princeton to help new engineering effort based on 'bioinspiration'" Daily Princetonian (26 September 2002)
"BIMat Institute Inaugural Meeting" NJN Newscast (25 September 2002)
"Engineers take cues from nature" EQuad News (01 September 2002)
"Big picture begins with smallest details" Princeton Weekly Bulletin (26 February 2001)
"One-Upping Nature's Materials" Science News (02 December 2000)
"Piezoelectric sliver forms sensor" TRN News (22 November 2000)
"University team shares grant from NASA for biosensor research" Daily Princetonian (24 October 2000)
"Nanotech thinks big" Nature (15 June 2000)
"Senior thesis leads to Nature paper" Princeton Weekly Bulletin (27 March 2000)
"Putting the 'Nano' into Composites" Chemical and Engineering News (07 June 1999)
"DOE awards funding to facilitate clean-up" Daily Princetonian (14 October 1998)
"Mimicking Nature" Princeton Alumni Weekly (28 January 1998)
Senior Research Projects

Seniors at Princeton University are required to perform an independent research project and write a thesis describing their work. A list of theses written by students from several departments who have been associated with the CML can be found at our Senior Theses page.

Visiting the CML

Visitors to the Ceramic Materials Laboratory are always welcome. Please contact Dan Dabbs for more information about our group. To assist you in planning a visit to our group and to the University, the following links provide directions to and maps of the University.

Directions to Princeton University
Interactive map of Princeton University
Downloadable map of Princeton University (PDF format)

© Princeton University, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Ceramic Materials Laboratory. All Rights Reserved.