photo of Nicole Benedek

Nicole A. Benedek

Assistant Professor
Materials Science and Engineering
Bard Hall, Room 126


Dr. Benedek received her BS in Chemistry (with First Class Honors) and PhD in Chemistry and Applied Physics, both from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Her doctoral work focused on first-principles theoretical studies of bonding and intermolecular interactions in a class of mixed organic-inorganic molecular crystals. As a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College London, she studied the structures of grain boundaries in complex oxides and developed a computational technique for predicting the atomic-scale structures of interfaces. Dr. Benedek continued her work on complex oxides as a postdoctoral fellow in Applied Physics at Cornell, where among other things, she discovered a new route to achieve electric field-control of the magnetization in a class of layered perovskite oxides. The Benedek group uses first-principles theoretical techniques to explore and solve fundamental problems in the solid-state chemistry of complex oxides and to elucidate the structural basis of the transport properties (ionic and thermal, primarily) of oxides.

Dr. Benedek was awarded a Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) to support her research on ionic transport in layered perovskites. She is also a recipient of a 2015 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

Research Interests

The Benedek group uses theory and first-principles calculations to design, predict and understand the structures and properties of functional materials, especially complex oxides. We are particularly interested in understanding and formulating structure-property relationships for fast ionic transport in perovskites and layered perovskites. Another major focus is on using phonon Boltzmann approaches to understand the microscopic mechanisms of thermal transport in perovskites.

Research Group Members

Selected Publications

  • Benedek, Nicole. 2014."Origin of ferroelectricity in a family of polar oxides: The Dion-Jacobson phases."Inorganic Chemistry53(7): 3769-3777.
  • Benedek, Nicole, C J Fennie. 2013."Why are there so few perovskite ferroelectrics?."The Journal of Physical Chemistry C117(26): 13339-13349.
  • Benedek, Nicole, C J Fennie. 2011."Hybrid improper ferroelectricity: A mechanism for controllable polarization-magnetization coupling."Physical review letters106: 107204.
  • Chua, A. L-S, Nicole Benedek, L. Chen, M W. Finnis, A P Sutton. 2010."A genetic algorithm for predicting the structures of interfaces in multicomponent systems."Nature Materials9: 418-422.
  • Benedek, Nicole, T Birol. 2016."'Ferroelectric' metals reexamined: Fundamental mechanisms and design considerations for new materials."Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Journal of Materials Chemistry Emerging Investigator2016
  • NSF CAREER Award2015
  • Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award2014
  • Australian Postgraduate Award2003


Research Group Members

Graduate Students