Lena F. Kourkoutis

Lena F. Kourkoutis

Associate Professor, Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow


Kourkoutis received a Diploma in Physics from the University of Rostock, Germany in 2003, and then moved to Ithaca where she was awarded a PhD in 2009. As a Humboldt Research Fellow Kourkoutis spent 2011-2012 exploring cryo-electron microscopy in the Molecular Structural Biology Group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. She returned to Cornell as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2012 and joined the Applied and Engineering Faculty in 2013. She has been selected by Microscopy Society of America as the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Albert Crewe Award.

Research Interests

Research Interests: Nanostructured Materials, Next Generation Energy Related Devices, Complex Electronic Materials, Atomic-resolution Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy, Cryo-electron Microscopy for Soft and Composite Materials

The Kourkoutis electron microscopy group focuses on understanding and controlling nanostructured materials, from complex oxide heterostructures to materials for battery and photovoltaic applications to biomaterials.

The presence of interfaces between different components is a key feature of all nanoscale materials and devices. Macroscopic properties of a system depend upon detailed atomic configurations, interfacial chemistry, and electronic coupling. We use aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy to determine the atomic-scale structure, elemental distribution and electronic structure of individual nanostructures and their interfaces.

In order to explore a new range of phenomena and materials we are developing low temperature high-resolution electron microscopy techniques. The topics we are pursuing include: Novel phases that emerge at low temperatures at complex oxide interfaces; solid-liquid and hard-soft interfaces in next generation energy related devices such as photovoltaics, batteries and fuel cells and organic/inorganic interfaces in biomaterials, and understanding the 3D organization and function of biological molecules in their native environments within the cell.

Selected Publications

  • I. El Baggari, B. H. Savitzky, A. S. Admasu, J. Kim, S.-W. Cheong, R. Hovden, L. F. Kourkoutis, 2018. Nature and evolution of incommensurate charge order in manganites visualized with cryogenic scanning transmission electron microscopy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, 115:1445-1450. 
  • B. H. Savitzky*, I. El Baggari*, A. S. Admasu, J. Kim, S.-W. Cheong, R. Hovden, L. F. Kourkoutis, 2017. Bending and Breaking of Stripes in a Charge-Ordered Manganite. Nat. Commun., 8:1883.
  • S. Choudhury, S. Wei, Y. Ozhabes, D. Gunceler, M. J. Zachman, Z. Tu, J.H. Shin, P. Nath, A. Agrawal, L. F. Kourkoutis, T. A. Arias, L. A. Archer, 2017. Designing solid-liquid interphases for sodium batteries. Nat. Commun., 8:898.
  • B. H. Savitzky, R. Hovden, K. Whitham, J. Yang, F. Wise, T. Hanrath, L. F. Kourkoutis, 2016. Propagation of Structural Disorder in Epitaxially Connected Quantum Dot Solids from Atomic to Micron Scale. Nano Lett., 16:5714-5718.
  • J. Mundy, Y. Hikita, T. Hidaka, T. Yajima, T. Higuchi, H. Y. Hwang, D. A. Muller, L. F. Kourkoutis, 2014. Visualizing the interfacial evolution from charge compensation to metallic screening across the manganite metal-insulator transition. Nat. Commun., 5:3464. 

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2022 AAAS Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 2022
  • 2021 Cornell Engineering Research Excellence Award 2021
  • MSA Burton Medal 2018
  • National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER), 2017
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), AFOSR, 2016
  • National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow, 2016
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, 2014
  • Albert Crewe Award (Microscopy Society of America), 2013
  • Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow (Cornell University), 2012


  • BS(Physics),University of Rostock,2003
  • MS(Applied and Engineering Physics),School of Applied and Engineering Physics,2006
  • Ph D(Applied and Engineering Physics),School of Applied and Engineering Physics,2009


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