Materials Science at UC Santa Cruz

September 16, 2015

As the limits of Moore’s law are approached in electronics that use conventional components such as silicon, a search is underway for new ways that can overcome technical and fundamental barriers.  Professor David Lederman’s research consists of discovering and studying materials that can overcome these barriers, focusing on the synthesis and characterization of materials in reduced dimensions, including nanostructures, and on interfaces with unique physical properties.  David is also the Director of the Materials Science Initiative at UCSC, an interdisciplinary research and education effort that includes the Departments of Physics and Chemistry, as well as individual faculty from the Electrical Engineering Department, aimed at investigating new materials with applications in energy efficient electronics, photovoltaics, and biocompatible electronics. 

David’s research career started as an undergraduate student at Stanford, where he carried out experiments to study the thermal conductivity of superfluid liquid helium confined in ultra-small pores, and which became the subject of his honors thesis.  David’s Ph.D. work at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focused on the phase transitions of antiferromagnetic nanostructures.  He then worked as a post-doc and project scientist at the University of California, San Diego, studying the properties of high temperature superconducting thin films and the properties of ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic interfaces.  For the next twenty years, and prior to joining the faculty at UCSC, he was a professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at West Virginia University.  His research at WVU focused on the electronic and magnetic properties of interfaces between dissimilar materials, including nanostructures and devices that incorporate biomolecular electronic elements.  At WVU he also led a university-wide effort to accelerate research and education focusing on nanoscale science and engineering. 

David is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusiveness at all levels in science education and research.  Originally from Chile, David is married to Michelle Leversee, a native Californian.  David and Michelle are the parents of two teenagers.  A former competitive swimmer in college, David enjoys swimming and biking in his free time.