Siu-Wai Chan


1136 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4701

Tel(212) 854-8519

Siu-Wai Chan studies size-dependent properties of nano-ceramics and crystalline interfaces. Chan’s research has focused on nano-ceramics and crystalline interfaces. Many working devices such as varistors use novel electrical transport properties of grain boundaries which is a type of crystalline interface.

Research Interests

Size-dependent Properties of Nano-Oxides, Grain Boundaries, Interfaces, and Defects in Thin Films, Super-Ionic and Superconducting Oxides as well as Materials for Energy and Environment

A part of Chan’s research studies the size-dependent mechanical properties of nano-ceramics which can yield better understanding of ceramics in general. Another part identifies interfaces and boundaries that have beneficial electrical responses to facilitate the intelligent use of interfaces in devices.

While many size-dependent electronic and optical properties of nanoparticles have been thoroughly studied, the more basic properties such as compressibility and bond lengths of nano-oxides have been neglected. Recently, we have used the diamond anvil cell to study the “bulk modulus” as a function of the size of nano-oxides and have found a trend that needs to be addressed fundamentally. Bulk modulus and bond lengths are some of the fundamental properties. Understanding the size-dependent trend will help us to better understand materials in general.

Chan received her BS in materials science and metallurgy in 1980 from Columbia Engineering where she was a recipient of the Francis B.F. Rhodes Prize. In 1985, she obtained a ScD in materials science and metallurgy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chan joined Columbia Engineering in 1990 and became co-chair of the Solid State Program in 2001. As the recipient of several fellowships, Chan has lectured and conducted research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the University of Washington, and the University of California, San Diego, as a Guggenheim Fellow. Chan was a visiting scientist at the IBM Watson Research Lab and Bitter Magnet Lab, as well as a staff scientist at Bellcore and Bell-Labs. She is the holder of six U.S. patents.


  • Professor of materials science and engineering in the Department of Applied Physics and Mathematics, Columbia Engineering, 2002 –
  • Co-chair of the Solid State Program, Columbia Engineering, 2001 –2005
  • Executive committee member and outreach director, Materials Research Science & Engineering Center, 1998 – 2009
  • Associate professor of applied physics and applied mathematics, Columbia Engineering, 1998 – 2000
  • Co-chair of Materials Science and Engineering Program and Committee, Columbia Engineering, 1997 – 1999
  • Associate professor of chemical engineering and materials, Columbia Engineering, 1993 – 1998
  • Associate professor of metallurgy and mining, Columbia Engineering, 1990 – 1993
  • Visiting professor of materials, as Tan Fellow, Nanyang Technological Univ. (Singapore), 2004
  • Visiting professor of materials science and engineering, as NSF 2004 Advanced Fellow, University of Washington, 2004
  • Visiting professor of physics, Guggenheim Fellow, University of California San Diego, 2004 – 2008
  • Visiting scientist, IBM Watson Research Lab, 1999
  • Visiting scientist, Bitter Magnet Lab, 1993 – 1995
  • E Member of technical staff, Superconductors, Bellcore, Red Bank, NJ, 1986 – 1990
  • Member of technical staff, Surface Treatments, Bell-Labs & Bellcore, Murray Hill, NJ, 1985


  • American Ceramic Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • ASM International
  • Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST)
  • Materials Research Society
  • The Minerals, Metals, Materials Society (TMS)
  • American Physical Society
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • International Committee of Diffraction Data


  • Fellow of American Physical Society, 2018
  • Avanessians Diversity Award, 2012
  • BASF Catalysis Research Award, 2008-2011
  • American Ceramic Society Fellow, 2008
  • Advance Fellow: National Science Foundation/Univ. of Washington, 2004
  • Tan Chin Tuan Fellow, 2004
  • Guggenheim Fellow, 2003
  • IBM Faculty Award, 1998
  • Outstanding Woman Scientist Award, 1997
  • Presidential Faculty Fellow from the White House and the National Science Foundation, 1993
  • Very Important Parent: Luther Lee Emerson School in Demarest, NJ, 1992
  • DuPont Faculty Award, 1991, 1992
  • Sigma Xi, 1982
  • Tau Beta Pi, 1979
  • Francis B. F. Rhodes Prize, 1980
  • Columbia Univ. SEAS Francis B.F. Rhodes Prize 1980



Siu-Wai Chan