Elif Ertekin

Elif Ertekin
Elif Ertekin she/her/hers
Associate Professor; Andersen Faculty Scholar
(217) 333-8175
262 Seitz Materials Research Lab
Director, Mechanics Programs
(217) 333-8175
262 Seitz Materials Research Lab

For More Information


  • Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2006
  • M.S., Materials Science & Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
  • M.S., Engineering Science, Penn State University, 2000
  • B.S., Engineering Science & Mechanics, Penn State University, with Honors, 1999
  • B.S., Mathematics, Penn State University, 1999


Elif Ertekin is an Associate Professor, Andersen Faculty Scholar, and Director of Mechanics Programs at the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She focuses on using computation, modeling, and simulation to develop a microscopic understanding of atomic and electronic scale processes in materials, with applications areas in thermal transport, energy conversion, and defect chemistry in solid state materials. She received her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UC Berkeley and carried out post-doctoral work at the Berkeley Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to UIUC. She has received the NSF CAREER Award, the TMS Early Career Faculty Fellow Award, the Emerging Leader Award from the Society of Women Engineers, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, and the Rose Award for Teaching Excellence at Illinois. She currently serves as the Director of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology Nanomanufacturing Node and Co-Director of the HDR Institute for Data-Driven Dynamical Design. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Physics.

Academic Positions

  • Andersen Faculty Scholar, UIUC, 2020 -
  • Director, Mechanics Program, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2020 -
  • Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Science & Engineering, UIUC, 2017 -

Research Statement

The Ertekin Research Group's focus is on using computation, modeling, and simulation to understand and gain insight into fundamental problems at the intersection of materials science, mechanics, and condensed matter physics. We use modeling and simulation to develop predictive relationships between structure and function, thereby enabling materials discovery, design, and optimization using methods such as high-throughput computation, materials informatics, and inverse design. We are especially interested in materials for energy storage and conversion, thermal properties, transport in the solid state, and designed low-dimensional/nanostructures. Further insight into our computational results is obtained through regular collaborations with experimental groups through sustained, closed-loop feedback and interaction. Our current interests are in battery materials, thermoelectrics, solid oxide fuel and electrolysis cells, and wide band gap semiconductors for power electronics.

As the complexity of functional materials continues to grow to include disordered materials, alloys, and nanostructures, demands on computational predictive capability become more stringent. We are interested in quantifying the predictive capability of modeling methods and approaches, and we also focus on furthering computational modeling and simulation capabilities through improved methods and algorithms rooted in quantum mechanics, probabilistic modeling include machine learning/artificial intelligence, and group theoretic methods applied to materials.

Research Areas

  • Applied Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Computation and Applied Math
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Solid Mechanics and Materials
  • Transportation

Teaching Honors

  • Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021), Illinois
  •  2016 Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, College of Engineering, Illinois

Research Honors

  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, University of Illinois College of Engineering, 2020
  • Society of Women Engineers Emerging Leader Award, 2019
  • Fellow, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 2015-2016
  • National Science Foundation CAREER award, 2016
  • Early Career Faculty Fellow, The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS), 2016
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, University of Illinois College of Engineering, 2015

Recent Courses Taught

  • ME 432 - Fundamentals of Photovoltaics
  • ME 598 EE - Crystal Structure and Bonding
  • TAM 212 - Introductory Dynamics
  • TAM 251 - Introductory Solid Mechanics