The Keck Energy and Materials Research Program (KEMP) provides an exciting, cutting-edge, and research-driven educational experience for undergraduate students in the high impact science of energy-related materials. KEMP expands infrastructure critical for energy-related materials research opportunities involving multiple faculty and students engaged in collaborative research. It supports the development of interdisciplinary courses essential for the materials science degree option in both chemistry and physics.

Materials Science Option

Materials science is the design and development of new materials. This modern interdisciplinary field is at the interface between physics and chemistry. Discovery and characterization of novel energy-related materials are critical to meeting future energy and technology needs of society. Breakthroughs in the field of materials science are changing the future of technology, as they can push the limits of what types of materials are available and how they can be used. 

In 2016 the Keck Foundation awarded CSU Long Beach $500,000 over three years to fund new undergraduate courses and research opportunities in Materials Science. Within the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and the Physics and Astronomy Department have developed a set of courses taught by faculty members from both departments, and offer research pathways to students in the program.


Physics undergraduate students can obtain a B.S in Physics, Option in Materials Science. These students take the following KEMP classes:

  • PHYS 385 - Materials Science (3 units)
  • PHYS 385L - Materials Science Lab (2 units)
  • PHYS 385C - Materials Science Colloquium (1 unit)

Chemistry undergraduate students can obtain a B.S. in Chemistry, Option in Materials Science. These students take the following KEMP classes:

  • CHEM 385 - Materials Science (3 units)
  • CHEM 385L - Materials Science Laboratory (2 units)
  • CHEM 385C - Materials Science Colloquium (1 unit)
  • CHEM 485 - Special Topics in Materials Chemistry (3 units)

All students should speak with their undergraduate advisor to make sure the choice of classes satisfies the requirements of the degree.


Students are encouraged to do some research with a faculty member affiliated with the KEMP program. Students should contact Dr. Yong-Seok Shon (chemistry), Dr. Michael Peterson (theoretical physics), or Dr. Thomas Gredig (experimental physics) to inquire about these opportunities.


KEMP sponsors an annual symposium on materials science research and energy related materials. Students doing research present at a joint poster session with the CNSM Student Research Symposium. That poster session is followed by the KEMP symposium where experts in materials science are invited to present recent developments in their field.

  • Dr. Richard L. Brutchey, USC - Nanofabrication of Colloidal Nanparticle Catalysts: Continuous Flow Chemistry from a Chemistry's Perspective
  • Dr. Ilya Krivorotov, UC Irvine - Novel Spin Torques
  • Dr. Pingyun Feng, UC Riverside - Pore Space Partitioning and Engineering of Metal-Organic Framework Materials

  • Dr. Michael Sailor, UC San Diego - Porous Silicon as an Energetic Nanomaterials
  • Dr. Reginald Penner, UC Irvine - In Pursuit of an Immortal Cathode: Electrical Energy Storage using MnO2 Nanowires that Never Die
  • Dr. Ruqian Wu, UC Irvine - Understanding the Exchange Interaction and Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect of Magnetic Topological Insulators
  • Dr. Yu Huang, UCLA - From Biomolecular Specificity to High Performing Catalysis
  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Fleurial, JPL - Advanced Materials and Devices for Expanding the Use of Thermoelectric Power Generation Technologies

  • Dr. Yadong Yin, UC Riverside - Rational Design of Photocatalytic Titania Nanostructures
  • Dr. Alex Spokoyny, UCLA - Organomimetic Chromophores and Sensitizers
  • Dr. Alon Gorodetsky, UC Irvine - Biologically-Inspired Conductive Materials
  • Dr. Marco Bernardi, Caltech - New Frontiers in Solar Cell Materials: Ultrathin, Ultrafast, and Complex
  • Dr. Hadi Tavassol, CSU Long Beach - Chemomechanics of Insertion Materials: Batteries and Beyond

  • Stephan Haas, USC - What's cool about low-dimensional materials?
  • Kyung Woon Jung, USC - Novel C-H Activation Methods towards Methane Utilization
  • Richard Kaner, UCLA - Graphene-Based Supercapacitors
  • Matt Law, UC Irvine - Solar Power from Quantum Dots
  • Young-Seok Shon, CSU Long Beach - Metal Nanoparticle Hybrids for Potential Chemical Energy Research