Elizabeth Dickey’s research focuses on developing processing-structure-property relationships for material systems in which the macroscopic physical properties (mechanical, electrical, thermal, etc.) are governed by grain boundaries or internal interfaces. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the role of grain boundary chemistry on electrical and chemical transport. In addition, she is interested in understanding the role of microstructure and interfaces on the mechanical properties of eutectic ceramic composites, which are being developed for high-temperature and armor applications. Her research involves using an array of analytical techniques, in particular electron microscopy and spectroscopy, to understand the structure and chemistry of internal defects in materials.

Dickey received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. Before joining CMU, she spent a decade with the Materials Science and Engineering Department at North Carolina State University (NCSU) as a professor, and later as Associate Department Head. She has more than 200 publications in these areas with more than 20,000 citations. Her awards and honors include:

  • Fellow of AAAS
  • Fellow of the American Ceramic Society
  • Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America
  • World Academy of Ceramics Academician
  • NCSU Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorship
  • Richard M. Fulrath Award, American Ceramic Society
  • Northwestern University Early Career Achievement Award for Alumni in MSE
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
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Elizabeth Dickey
Elizabeth Dickey’s research on Web of Science

Electron Microscopy for Engineering Better Materials


Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University

B.S. Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky

Media mentions

Mellon College of Science

Dickey researches a new class of metal nanoparticles

Elizabeth Dickey is researching a new class of metal nanoparticles as part of a New Initiatives grant from the Kaufman Foundation.

The American Ceramic Society

Dickey at the 2023 American Ceramic Society Annual meeting

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey attended the American Ceramic Society’s 125th Annual meeting at the Materials Science & Technology technical meeting and exhibition where she delivered the Robert B. Sosman lecture and was honored as this year’s Sosman awardee.

Materials Science and Engineering

Rising Stars workshop hosted at CMU

Doctoral and postdoctoral scholars from around the country convened at CMU for a program focused on developing their academic careers in MSE.

Materials Science and Engineering

Making international research connections

Eight students participated in a 10-week summer research program at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

Physics World

Dickey uses novel methods to analyze ferroelectric materials

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey and her team of researchers are collaborating with groups at Penn State University to study ferroelectric materials. Together, the groups are combining their skills to analyze the structure of alloyed aluminum nitride films using transmission electron microscopy.

Materials Science and Engineering

Novel ferroelectrics for more efficient microelectronics

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Penn State University are exploring electronic materials that have potential to make computer processors more energy efficient.

Materials Science and Engineering

MSE students join international research community

Two CMU MSE students had the opportunity to perform cutting-edge research in Sheffield, England as part of The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) this past summer.

Sosman Award Committee

Dickey wins Sosman award

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey is the recipient of the 2023 Sosman Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in basic science that results in a significant impact and advancement in the field of ceramics.

CMU Engineering

CMU women shift the dynamic in materials science leadership

Elizabeth Dickey, Materials Science and Engineering department head, and alumnae Carolyn Duran (MSE ’92) and Ellen Cerreta (MSE ’01) are increasing female representation in materials through their executive roles in professional societies for scientists and engineers.

CMU Engineering

Revisiting steel

Advancing modern steel research allows us to access unique properties while lowering the carbon footprint, and it’s important for education.

Engineering faculty awarded professorships

Engineering faculty Peter Adams, Elizabeth Dickey, Carlee Joe-Wong, Pulkit Grover, Alan McGaughey, Rahul Panat, and Douglas Weber were awarded professorship titles in February and March 2021.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dickey named AAAS fellow

Incoming MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow.