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David J Flannigan

David Flannigan


Assistant Professor

Phone: 612-625-3867

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  • B.S., Chemistry, University of Minnesota, 2001
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2007-2010
  • Senior Postdoctoral Scholar, Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2011-2012


  • McKnight Land-Grant Professor, 2014-2016
  • ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Grant, 2012-2014
  • 3M Nontenured Faculty Award, 2013-2016
  • Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award, 2012, 2013

Research Areas

Our research program deals broadly with the experimental elucidation of non-equilibrium electronic and structural dynamics of inorganic, organic, and biological materials with atomic-scale spatial and femtosecond temporal resolutions. To achieve this, we use ultrafast four-dimensional electron microscopy (UEM). With UEM, we bring together the high spatial resolution of transmission electron microscopy with the ultrafast temporal resolution of short-pulsed lasers. We are able to directly visualize, in real-time, a wide variety of phenomena, including how crystal lattices respond to the excitation and relaxation of charge-carriers, the collective and coherent motions of lattices at the unit cell level, the real-space dynamics of nanoscale architectures and the effects of interfacial forces, and the effects of charge-transfer reactions on structure. Our group is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, and our interests are broad, having foundations in materials science and engineering, chemistry, and physics. Our current interests are in three related but distinct areas: (1) energy transport and conversion in polycrystalline materials, (2) structural dynamics, phase transitions, and energy transport properties of quantum materials and complex metal oxides, and (3) determining the atomic-scale origins of the dynamic properties of soft matter and biological materials. The unifying goal of our work is to understand how atomic structure and dynamics lead to the emergence of bulk properties in materials; that is, how quantum and continuum mechanics are linked and how properties in this mesoscale spatial regime can be controlled.

Selected Publications

  • Flannigan, D. J.; Lourie, O. 4D Ultrafast Electron Microscopy Sheds Light on Dynamic Processes from the Micrometer to the Atomic Scale. Microscopy and Analysis 2013, 27, S5-S8.
  • Cremons, D. R.; Schliep, K. B.; Flannigan, D. J. Diffraction Contrast as a Sensitive Indicator of Femtosecond Sub-Nanoscale Motion in Ultrafast Transmission Electron Microscopy. Proc. SPIE 2013, 8845, 884507.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Suslick, K. S. Non-Boltzmann Population Distributions during Single-Bubble Sonoluminescence. J. Phys. Chem. B 2013, 117, 15886-15893.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Zewail, A. H. 4D Electron Microscopy: Principles and Applications. Acc. Chem. Res. 2012, 45, 1828.
  • Park, S. T.; Flannigan, D. J.; Zewail, A. H. 4D Electron Microscopy Visualization of Anisotropic Atomic Motions in Carbon Nanotubes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 9146.
  • Park, S. T.; Flannigan, D. J.; Zewail, A. H. Irreversible Chemical Reactions Visualized in Space and Time with 4D Electron Microscopy. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 1730.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Park, S. T.; Zewail, A. H. Nanofriction Visualized in Space and Time by 4D Electron Microscopy. Nano Lett. 2010, 10, 4767.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Zewail, A. H. Optomechanical and Crystallization Phenomena Visualized with 4D Electron Microscopy: Interfacial Carbon Nanotubes on Silicon Nitride. Nano Lett. 2010, 10, 1892.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Barwick, B.; Zewail, A. H. Biological Imaging with 4D Electron Microscopy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 2010, 107, 9933.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Suslick, K. S. Inertially-Confined Plasma in an Imploding Bubble. Nature Phys. 2010, 6, 598.
  • Barwick, B.; Flannigan, D. J.; Zewail, A. H. Photon-Induced Near-Field Electron Microscopy. Nature 2009, 462, 902.
  • Flannigan, D. J.; Samartzis, P. C.; Yurtsever, A.; Zewail, A. H. Nanomechanical Motions of Cantilevers: Direct Imaging in Real Space and Time with 4D Electron Microscopy. Nano Lett. 2009, 9, 875.
  • Suslick, K. S.; Flannigan, D. J. Inside a Collapsing Bubble: Sonoluminescence and the Conditions during Cavitation. Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 2008, 59, 659.