Ekerdt, John G. Ph.D.

Dick Rothwell Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering
Associate Dean for Research in Engineering

Photo of John G. Ekerdt

Office: CPE 4.468 Mailing Address:
Phone: (512) 471-4689 The University of Texas at Austin
Fax: (512) 471-7060 McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering
Email: ekerdt@utexas.edu 200 E Dean Keeton St. Stop C0400
UT Mail: C0400 Austin, TX 78712-1589

Research Areas: Advanced Materials, Polymers & Nanotechnology and Energy

Research Group Website

Research Presentation for Prospective Graduate Students

Future Directions in Chemical and Bioengineering Report

Educational Qualifications

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California Berkeley (1979)
B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin (1974)


Surface, growth and materials chemistry of ultrathin metal, dielectric, and ferroelectric films and nanostructures. Structure-property relationships of crystalline oxides and amorphous metals in electronics and energy applications.

Ekerdt Bio Page Pic 1

 Ekerdt Bio Page Pic 2
Figure 1.  We explore the growth of crystalline perovskite films on Si(001) and Ge(001).  The ABO3 perovskites, such as SrTiO3 (STO) can be grown directly on Ge(001) in an all-chemical atomic layer deposition process. Figure 2. We are studying the chemical nature of sites where metals and semiconductor particles and films nucleate by chemically titrating the potential sites with fluorescent probes.  We are also exploring the use of molecules that adsorb reversibly and block nucleated particles and force additional nuclei to form – leading to ultrathin continuous metal films.


The focus of my research is on the surface, growth and materials chemistry of metal, dielectric, and ferroelectric thin films and nanostructures.  We seek to understand and describe nucleation and growth of films and nanostructures, their structure-property relationships, and site-specific reactions that lead to their formation.  The programs are motivated by applications in electronic materials, energy and sensors.  The research programs are highly interdisciplinary and involve collaborations with faculty in chemical engineering, physics and electrical engineering, and researchers in industry.

Metal films find applications in sensors, optics and microelectronics, and as the critical dimensions or size of the applications and systems decrease, the metal film’s thickness will decrease to tens of atomic diameters at most and must have a specific microstructure.  Our program seeks to describe how films form, with an emphasis on nucleation and island coalescence, the evolution of interfacial layers that bind the film to the substrate, how properties of bulk materials scale with thickness, precisely how short range order is preserved as the film thickness approaches thicknesses that are ten atomic diameters, and how to alter the nucleation and growth process by opening additional reaction paths.

The research on crystalline oxide and perovskite films seeks to understand the chemical reactions responsible for atomic layer deposition growth and the interfacial reactions responsible for forcing the films to grow in a crystalline form.  Studies with perovskites explore homoepitaxy and heteroepitaxy of perovskite films using molecular beam epitaxy and atomic layer deposition and the role of the growth surface termination and methods to enhance wetting/spreading to realize two dimensional epitaxial growth and control the properties in the perovskite layer.  These studies explore the monolithic integration of functional oxides with silicon, germanium, and gallium nitride to allow for integrated heterostructures on the same platform as the integrated circuits.  Some of the heterostructures find applications in energy applications to take advantage of electron and hole transport across heterointerfaces.

Awards & Honors

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012)
American Society for Engineering Education Chemical Engineering Division Chemstations Award (2012)
Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2006)
Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award, College of Engineering, University of Texas (2005)
Hamilton Book Awards, for Chemical Reactor Analysis and Design Fundamentals, University Co-op Society (2003)
Charles M. A. Stine Award in Materials Science and Engineering, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2001)
Dick Rothwell Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering (2001)
Chemical Engineering Department Teaching Award (1994)

Selected Publications

  • Atomic layer deposition of crystalline SrHfO3 directly on Ge (001) for high-k dielectric applications, (Martin D. McDaniel, Chengqing Hu, Sirong Lu, Thong Q. Ngo, Agham Posadas, Aiting Jiang, David J. Smith, Edward T. Yu, Alexander A. Demkov, John G. Ekerdt), Journal of Applied Physics (doi: 10.1063/1.4906953) 117, 054101(1-9) (2015).
  • Efficient and stable silicon-photocathode by atomic scale engineering of tunnel-oxide and nanostructured-catalyst, (Li Ji, Martin D. McDaniel, S. Wang, A. B. Posadas, X. Li, H. Huang, J. C. Lee, Alexander A. Demkov, Allen J. Bard, John G. Ekerdt, and Edward T. Yu) Nature Nanotechnology (doi:10.1038/nnano.2014.277) 10, 84-90 (2014).
  • A chemical route to monolithic integration of crystalline oxides on semiconductors (Martin D. McDaniel, Thong Q. Ngo, Agham Posadas, Chengqing Hu, Sirong Lu, David J. Smith, Edward T. Yu, Alexander A. Demkov, and John G. Ekerdt) Advanced Material Interfaces (doi: 10.1002/admi.201400081) 1400081(1-8) (2014).
  • Atomic interdiffusion and diffusive stabilization of cobalt by copper during atomic layer deposition from bis(N-tert-butyl-N’-ethylpropionamidinato) cobalt(II) (Tyler D-M. Elko-Hansen, Andrei Dolocan, and John G. Ekerdt) Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (doi:10.1021/jz500281k) 5, 1091-1095 (2014).
  • Chemical vapor deposition of ruthenium-phosphorus alloy thin films: Using phosphine as the phosphorus source (Daniel E. Bost, John G. Ekerdt) Thin Solid Films (doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2014.03.018) 558, 160-164 (2014).
  • Detection of Low-Density Surface Sites on Silica: Experimental Evidence of Intrinsic Oxygen-Vacancy Defects (Joseph M. McCrate, John G. Ekerdt) Chemistry of Materials (doi: 10.1021/cm500095p) 26, 2166-2177 (2014).