Jonathan A. Malen

Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Jonathan A. Malen

Source: College of Engineering


5000 Forbes Avenue
Scaife Hall 413
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-268-4667

Fax: 412-268-3348




Nanostructured organic-inorganic hybrid materials aim to combine the manufacturability of plastics with the transport properties of semiconductors. Over the last twenty years, researchers focused on electronic applications (e.g. organic electronics), but the field is now expanding to address the challenges of energy demand and climate change. Nanostructured hybrids are promising replacements for bulk semiconductor photovoltaic and thermoelectric materials because they have controllable feature sizes at length scales characteristic of transport processes. The use of organic-inorganic nanostructured materials can also unlock new opportunities in mature energy fields, such as thermal energy storage and heat transfer enhancement.

My expertise in heat transfer, nanoscale transport, and organic-inorganic self-assembly is uniquely situated to develop nanostructured hybrid materials that push the limits of energy conversion, storage, and efficiency. Our projects leverage ultrafast laser techniques and micro/nano fabrication to explore new materials and reveal new thermal transport properties of existing materials. 

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Carnegie Mellon collaborators discover the cause of vastly different thermal conductivities in superatomic structural analogues



B.S. Mechanical Engineering 2000, University of Michigan

S.M. Nuclear Engineering 2003, MIT

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering 2009, UC Berkeley

Select publications

  1. W. L. Ong, E. O’Brien, P. S. M. Dougherty, D. W. Paley, C. F. Higgs III, A. J. H. McGaughey, J. A. Malen*, X. Roy*, Orientational order controls crystalline and amorphous thermal transport in superatomic crystals” advanced online publication Nature Materials (2016). Link
  2. J. Epstein W. L. Ong, C. Bettinger, J. A. Malen, Temperature dependent thermal conductivity and thermal interface resistance of pentacene thin films with varying morphology, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 8 (29), (2016). Link
  3. M. Jeong, J. P. Freedman, J. Liang, C-M. Chow, V. M. Sokalski, J. Bain, J. A. Malen, Enhancement of thermal conductance at plasmonic interfaces using subnanometer metal adhesion layers, Physical Review Applied, 5 (1) 014009 (2016). Link
  4. M. M. Adachi, F. Fan, D. P. Sellan, S. Hoogland, O. Voznyy, A. J. Houtepen, >K. D. Parrish, P. Kanjanaboos, J. A. Malen, E. H. Sargent, Microsecond-Sustained Lasing from Colloidal Quantum Dot Solids, Nature Communications, 6, 8694 (2015). Link
  5. S. Majumdar, J. Sierra-Suarez,S. Schiffres, W.L. Ong, C. F. Higgs III, A. J. H. McGaughey, and J. A. Malen, Vibrational mismatch of metal leads controls thermal conductance of self-assembled monolayer junctions, Nano Letters, 15(5), 2985-2991 (2015). Link
  6. Ong, W. L., S. Majumdar, J. A. Malen, A. J. H. McGaughey, Coupling of Organic and Inorganic Vibrational States and Their Thermal Transport in Nanocrystal Arrays.  Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 118, 7288 (2014). Link
  7. Schiffres, S. N., S. Harish, S. Maruyama, J. Shiomi, J. A. Malen, Tunable Electrical and Thermal Transport in Ice-Templated Multi–Layer Graphene Nanocomposites through Freezing Rate Control.  ACS Nano, 7, 11183 (2013). Link
  8. Regner, K. T., D. P. Sellan, Z. Su, C. H. Amon, A. J. H. McGaughey, and J. A. Malen, Broadband phonon mean free path contributions to thermal conductivity measured using frequency domain thermoreflectance.Nature Communications, 4, 1640 (2013). Link
  9. Ong, W. L., S. M. Rupich, D. V. Talapin, A. J. H. McGaughey, and J. A. Malen, Surface chemistry mediates thermal transport in three-dimensional nanocrystal arrays,Nature Materials, 12, 410-415 (2013). Link
  10. Yan, Y. and J. A. Malen, Periodic heating amplifies the efficiency of thermoelectric energy conversion.Energy & Environmental Science, 6, 1267-1273 (2013). Link


Outstanding Research Award, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2016

Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 2014