Faculty Profile

Shen J Dillon

Materials Research Lab
Shen J Dillon
Shen J Dillon
Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Research Groups
172 Seitz Materials Research Lab MC 230
104 S. Goodwin
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 244-5622


  • Research Groups

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Professional Highlights

  • Professor Shen J. Dillon received his Bachelor’s degree and Doctorate of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering from Lehigh University in 2002 and 2007. His doctoral thesis focused on segregation to and the atomic structure of grain boundaries in ceramics and their relation to microstructural evolution. Following his graduation in 2007, Dillon went to work as a Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University and Visiting Professor at Lehigh University. At Carnegie Mellon, the focus of his work was three-dimensional characterization of microstructures in order to obtain data critical to understanding microstructural evolution. Dillon spent the 2008 academic year as a Visiting Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working on materials for energy storage. He joined the faculty in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a visiting assistant professor in 2008 and as an assistant professor in 2009.

Research Statement

My research focuses on linking atomic-scale processes in materials to the microstructural level and bulk properties. Much of the current work relates to the role of structure, defects, and interfaces in affecting materials for energy applications. Significant effort is being directed towards in-situ characterization of materials in liquid, gaseous, and plasma environments.

Many critical phenomena that control materials processing and performance occur at interfaces, surface, grain boundaries, and other internal defects. The nature of the structure and dynamics of these interfaces and defects are highly complex and fully understanding them has been an ongoing challenge. As engineered materials become more complex and as microstructural length scales are reduced toward the nanoscale, the role of interfaces has become increasingly important in affecting performance. Many questions about the distributions of interfaces and defects; their structure, chemistry, energy, and effect on various properties still remain. Multi-scale approaches are critical for detailing the local structure of defects and their distribution within materials. Ongoing research seeks to apply advanced characterization techniques, such as atomic-resolution electron microscopy, three-dimensional reconstructions, and in-situ observation, to probe defects and interfaces in materials at various length scales. Promoting and exploiting advances in characterization enables new insights into scientific and engineering problems; such as optimizing lithium ion batteries. The development of new scientific paradigms will enable novel approaches to engineering materials of practical importance.

Selected Articles in Journals

Research Honors

  • National Science foundation, CAREER award (2013)
  • Department of Energy, Early Career Award (2011)