Dear prospective grad students,

I am always actively recruiting students who are interested in either surface science or semiconductor-based technology. Most of my current students work on both experimental and computational projects, and I am interested in recruiting new students who would like to do the same type of research for their Ph.D. studies. If you are a US citizen or US permanent resident** with a strong background in physical, inorganic, or materials chemistry, and are looking to do Ph.D. research, I hope you will consider our group for your studies.

In my lab, we use room temperature (RT) and low temperature (LT) scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and spectroscopy (STS), laser spectroscopy, molecular beams, impedance spectroscopy, and density functional theory (DFT) simulations in an effort to gain a better understanding of the chemical dynamics of gas-surface chemistry. We try to understand the processes on an atomic-/molecular-scale so that we can employ nano-scale engineering and design to build the materials needed for advanced microelectronic devices. One of our current projects investigates the atomic-/molecular-scale interfacial structures between oxides and both germanium and various III/V compound semiconductor materials. The goal of this work is to develop novel metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs). We also study the basic chemical dynamics of metal phthalocyanine-based toxic gas sensor operation. Additionally, each of our experimental studies is complemented by DFT calculations that are performed in house by our students. You can read more detailed descriptions of our current experiments on our Research page, or see a few posters and a comprehensive list of publications on our Publications page.

I am a very hands-on advisor and often work in the lab with the students. In addition to holding weekly group meetings, I also individually discuss each student's project several times a week. My students, therefore, feel that they get the necessary attention to become successful and productive scientists. Furthermore, I try to have each student develop a collaboration with another UCSD faculty member, a non-UCSD professor, or an industrial scientist. Not only does this provide the students with another perspective on their experiments, but it also gives them a chance to begin to make contacts outside the lab before graduation. To the same effect, I encourage my students to attend at least one conference per year, and, in fact, each year I send the students to the both the national and local meetings of the AVS (and SCCAVS). Not only does this allow for students to interact with industrial scientists, academic scientists, and their fellow graduate students, but it provides the perfect setting for sharing knowledge and discussing ideas. Finally, I play an active role in each student's career development: in the months before graduation, I personally act as their job headhunter by contacting potential employers and postdoctoral advisors. Even after graduation, my former students and postdocs, as well as other former UCSD materials chemistry Ph.D. students, are very loyal and each tries to make opportunities available for graduating students.

Because of the diverse education that each of my students receives during their stay at UCSD, they typically find themselves to be in high demand when entering the work force. In recent years, both my former students and postdocs have landed jobs at competitive companies like Intel, LSI Logic, RF Micro Devices (RFMD), MetroPhotonics, Applied Materials, and LAM Research Corporation. Intel, LSI, RFMD, and MetroPhotonics are semiconductor-based device manufacturers, while Applied Materials and LAM produce the equipment used to make those devices. I have had great success with placing my students in the best companies because I try to give every Ph.D. student a joint education in physical chemistry and semiconductor processing; this therefore enables my students to act as a bridge between research and engineering. Further, those students who chose to work in the semiconductor industry have been offered starting salaries above $80,000/year, plus stock options, sometimes even without having postdoctoral experience. These salaries are higher than those paid to students specializing in biochemistry or organic chemistry! Former group members have also gone into academics because universities too are searching for scientists who can do "interdisciplinary research." To see a list of my former students and postdocs and find out where they are now, please visit the Alumni section of our People page.

Finally, I ensure that each student manages his/her own project and are not just an apprentice to a postdoc. Everyone in the group works very hard to be supportive and to share skills so that we have both a very productive and a very pleasant working environment. To learn more about the research and students in my group, please visit our Research and People pages, respectively.

I hope you will take the time visit my lab during your visit to UCSD. I am confident that after meeting and talking with the members of my lab, you will consider us when making your graduate school decision. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. You can also contact any of the students in the group.

Andy Kummel
(858) 534-3368

** Unfortunately, UCSD only admits one foreign student in physical chemistry and one in inorganic chemistry per year. This is because the State of California charges our department $12,000/yr for each foreign student. Therefore, unless you have a four year government fellowship, it is nearly impossible to be admitted as a foreign student to our graduate program. Instead, I would suggest that you apply to graduate school at the University of Southern California, which is a private university located in southern California with an excellent materials chemistry program.

Last updated: 06/18/2015