Judy Cha

Materials Science and Engineering


Judy J. Cha is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University in 2009, working in Prof. David A. Muller’s lab. She did her post-doctoral research in Prof. Yi Cui’s group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. In 2013, she joined the faculty at Yale University in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, where she spent 9 years before joining the faculty at Cornell in 2022. Research in her lab focuses on synthesis and transport properties of topological and 2D nanomaterials and their phase transformations in order to understand the structure-electronic property relationships of these quantum nanomaterials. Her work on topological and 2D nanomaterials started in 2010 as a postdoc at Stanford university. Since then, her group has expanded the class of topological nanomaterials under study, with a particular focus on achieving nanowires of topological superconductors and topological metals, which have implications for robust quantum computing and low-dissipation electronics.

Research Interests

My group focuses on studying novel electronic properties and phase transformations of nanoscale materials for device and energy applications.  We have three research thrusts: A) nanowires of topological materials for potential quantum computing and low-resistance interconnects, B) two-dimensional (2D) materials for energy and electronic applications, and C) nanoscale effects on the phase transitions of our topological and 2D nanomaterials.   My group’s tool box includes 1) various growth methods to synthesize nanomaterials, 2) low-temperature magneto-transport measurements of nanodevices to probe the electronic properties, and 3) in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to directly observe nanoscale phase transformations.

Teaching Interests

  • Thermodynamics
  • Introduction to Nanomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials

Selected Publications

  • J. V. Pondick, S. Yazdani, M. Yarali, S. N. Reed, D. J. Hynek, J. J. Cha, “The effect of mechanical strain on lithium staging in graphene,” Advanced Electronic Materials (2021) 7, 2000981.
  • D. Hynek, R. M. Singhania, S. Xu, B. Davis, L. Wang, M. Yarali, J. V. Pondick, J. M. Woods, N. Strandwitz, J. J. Cha, “Cm2-scale synthesis of MoTe2 thin films with large grains and layer control,” ACS Nano (2021) 15, p.410 – 418.
  • Physical Review Letters (2020) 124, 036102.
  • P. Liu, J. R. Williams, J. J. Cha, “Topological nanomaterials,” Nature Reviews Materials (2019) 4, p.479 – 496.
  • Y. Xie, S. W. Sohn, M. Wang, H. Xin, Y. Jung, M. Shattuck, C. O’Hern, J. Schroers, J. J. Cha, “Cluster-coupled growth in metallic glass forming liquids,” Nature Communications (2019) 10:915.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Moore Foundation EPiQS Materials Synthesis Investigator Award (2019)
  • NSF CAREER (2018)
  • Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Azrieli Global Scholar for Quantum Materials (2017)
  • Yale Arthur Greer Memorial Prize (2016)
  • IBM Faculty Award (2014)


B.S. (Engineering Physics), Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada, 2003
Ph.D. (Applied Physics), Cornell University, 2009