James Im

Professor of Materials Science in the Departments of Earth and Environmental Engineering and of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

Materials Science & Engineering
Office: 1106 S.W. Mudd
Mail: 200 S.W. Mudd, Mail Code: 4701
New York, NY 10027
Email: ji12@columbia.edu

Im’s research activities focus on the topics and subjects that may be viewed as located within the “triangular” area as defined by (1) beam-induced melting and solidification of thin films, (2) laser crystallization of Si films for advanced displays and other electronic applications, and (3) nucleation & initiation in discontinuous phase transitions in condensed systems. All research methods and approaches (i.e., experimental, numerical/computational, and theoretical) are employed and leveraged in order to decipher, comprehend, and conceptualize the fundamental nature of often ultra-rapid and far-from-equilibrium phase transitions that transpire in beam-irradiated thin films; these scientifically valuable findings involving the transformations also often lead the group to conceive and develop technologically innovative and inventive ideas for advancing various thin-semiconductor-film-based applications and products (e.g., advanced displays, solar cells, and three-dimensional integrated circuits) by creating and supplying high-performance-enabling thin-film materials that possess optimally manipulated arrangement of the atoms.

One of the several laser crystallization methods invented by the group, called Sequential Lateral Solidification (SLS), has been licensed to top display makers (including Samsung, LG, and Sharp), and has led to successful manufacturing of advanced displays that were incorporated into numerous products from multiple companies (including Apple, Blackberry, Nokia, and Samsung). Currently, Prof. Im’s group is working on inventing and developing the next generation “platform-level” laser crystallization method, referred to as spot-beam crystallization (SBC); the SBC method is posed to provide technology-enabling materials for various macroelectronic and microelectronic applications using state-of-the-art fiber lasers and novel beam delivery optics.


Im received a B.S. with Distinction in Materials Science from Cornell University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Electronic Materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989.

Research Interests

Laser crystallization of Si films; energy-beam-induced melting and solidification of thin films; phase transformations & nucleation in condensed systems; ELA (excimer-laser annealing), SLS (sequential lateral solidification), and SBC (spot-beam crystallization) of Si films; Polycrystalline Si films for thin-film transistor (TFT)-based active-matrix displays.

Research Areas

Materials Science, electronic materials, thin semiconductor films.

Reseach Experience

• Research Fellow in Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, 1989-1991
• Research Consultant - Electronic Materials Group, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 1988-1989

Professional Experience

• Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Columbia University, 2002 - Present
• Chair of Materials Science and Engineering Program, Columbia University, 2002 - 2014
• Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Columbia University, 1995 - 2002
• Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Columbia University, 1991 - 1994

Honors & Awards

• Bohmisch Physical Society
• Sigma Xi
• Alpha Sigma Mu
• Materials Research Society
• American Physical Society

Selected Publications

• James S. Im, “Introducing an all-new spot-beam laser crystallization method for manufacturing advanced AMOLED displays,” International Meeting of Information Display, D68-3, (2016)

• James S. Im, Monica Chahal, P.C. van der Wilt, U.J. Chung, G.S. Ganot, A.M. Chitu, Naoyuki Kobayashi, K. Ohmori, A.B. Limanov, "Mixed-phase solidification of thin Si films on SiO2," Journal of Crystal Growth, vol. 312, issue 19, pp. 2775-2778, (2010) doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2010.05.037

• James S. Im, Vikas V. Gupta, and M. A. Crowder, "On determining the relevance of athermal nucleation in rapidly quenched liquids," Appl. Phys. Lett. 72, 662 (1998)

• James S. Im, Robert S. Sposili, and M. A. Crowder, "Single-crystal Si films for thin-film transistor devices," Appl. Phys. Lett. 70, 3434 (1997) doi.org/10.1063/1.119194

• James S. Im, H. J. Kim, and M. O. Thompson, and, "Phase transformation mechanisms involved in excimer laser crystallization of amorphous silicon films," Appl. Phys. Lett. 63, 1969 (1993) doi.org/10.1063/1.110617

500 W. 120th St., Mudd 200, MC 4701 New York, NY 10027 / Phone: 212-854-4457 / Fax: 212-854-8257 / Email: apam@columbia.edu

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