Professor James LeBeau develops scanning transmission electron microscopy techniques to connect the atomic structure and chemistry of defects and interfaces with material properties for quantum computing, energy storage, power electronics, dielectrics, and optical applications. These new techniques can be used to collect and interpret data in electron microscopy and describe materials more comprehensively. One goal of Professor LeBeau’s research group is to make electron microscopy more quantitative and reproducible while maintaining the creative elements of the scientific process.


Professor LeBeau earned a BS in materials science and engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006 and a PhD in materials from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2010. He joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University as a faculty member in January 2011. He came to DMSE as a visiting professor in 2018. He has published more than 90 papers and holds a US patent.

Key Publications

Reactivation of chromia poisoned oxygen exchange kinetics in mixed conducting solid oxide fuel cell electrodes by serial infiltration of lithia

Extended the commercial viability of fuel cells and improved original performance despite long-term degradation of the metal oxide components. We recovered poisoned metal oxide surfaces by systematically controlling their acidity.

Traditional approaches to fuel cell life focus on limiting exposure to degradation agents. We offer an effective alternative that breathes new life into cells that might otherwise be discarded for good.

Extending the lifetime of solid oxide fuel cells lowers the effective cost of conversion of hydrogen or other chemical fuels to electricity. It thereby facilitates power generation needed for a clean-energy future.

Making BaZrS3 chalcogenide perovskite thin films by molecular beam epitaxy

Created high-quality thin films of a new family of semiconductors: chalcogenide perovskites. The films comprise barium, zirconium, and sulfur in a particular structure called perovskite. We used a technique called molecular beam epitaxy to give atomic-level control over crystal growth while producing the films.

Given the broad range of applications for semiconductors, the more choices there are, the better. Chalcogenide perovskites were first developed, in very small quantities, in the 1950s, but their potential as semiconductors has only recently come to light.

The new semiconductors are ultrastable and made with inexpensive, nontoxic raw materials. They could potentially find use in solar cells and lighting.

Awards & Honors

Burton Medal , Microscopy Society of America
Presidential Early C areer Award for Scientists and Engineers, US Department of Defense
Young Investigator Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Faculty Early Career Development Award, National Science Foundation
Kurt F. J. Heinrich Award, Microanalysis Society