Carl Thompson

Stavros Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at MIT
SB, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 1976
SM, Applied Physics, Harvard University, 1977
PhD, Applied Physics, Harvard University, 1982


(617) 253-7652


(617) 258-6749


  • Electrochemistry
  • Electronic Materials
  • Energy Storage
  • Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)
  • Nanotechnology
  • Surfaces, Interfaces, and Thin Films


Professor Thompson and his students carry out research on thin films and nanostructures for use in micro- and nano-systems, especially electronic, electromechanical and electrochemical systems.  His group carries out basic research on structure evolution during deposition and post-deposition processing of thin films. The latter includes research on templated solid-state dewetting of thin films and nanostructures, for development of new patterning methods and for basic studies of capillary-driven morphological evolution.  Prof. Thompson's group also carries out research on the mechanisms of carbon nanotube growth and metal-catalyzed etching for creation of semiconductor nanowire arrays.  Carbon nanotubes are also used in research on metal-air batteries and capacitive desalination devices, and  nanowires are used in research on solid state supercapacitors.  Thin film Li-ion microbatteries and thermogalvanic energy harvesting devices for applications in autonomous microsystems are also under investigation.

Six current DMSE faculty members have been elected to the National Academy for Engineering.