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Kurt E. Sickafus


Dr. Sickafus has been an experimental researcher in the field of materials science for about 34 years; investigating structure and properties in metals, polymers, and ceramics, in bulk, thin-film, and composite forms. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1978 (BA in Physics & Mathematics), and he received his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1985 (Materials Science & Engineering). Dr. Sickafus also worked as a postdoctoral research assistant in the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge (1985-1987) and as a staff member at I.B.M. (1987-88) before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1989. He worked as a Staff Scientist at Los Alamos for 22 years before moving to the U. of Tennessee in 2011.


Dr. Sickafus’ primary experimental expertise is in electron microscopy, with an emphasis on transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and analytical electron microscopy (AEM) techniques. His research interests are primarily in the areas of

  • crystallography
  • radiation damage effects
  • microstructure of materials.

His research was concentrated on the radiation damage behavior of oxides with structures ranging from spinel to ilmenite to pyrochlore to fluorite to perovskite.


Ph.D., Cornell University: Grain Boundary Structural Transformations Induced by Solute Segregation

Professional Service

  • Visiting Professor, Laboratoire SPMS, École Centrale Paris (ECP), Chatenay-Malabry (and Commissariat á l’Énergie Atomique (CEA), CEN Saclay, Gif sur Yvette) France, May, 2009.
  • Organizer and Chair, International Workshop “Radiation Stability of Complex Microstructures,” Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sept. 2-4, 2008.
  • Organizer and Co-Chair, International Conference Radiation Effects in Insulators, (REI-2005), Santa Fe, NM, August 28 – September 2, 2005.
  • Member, Advisory Editorial Board of the Journal of Nuclear Materials, 2004 – present.
  • Director, “Radiation Effects in Solids” International School held at the Ettore Majorana Center for Scientific Culture in Erice, Sicily, Italy, July, 2004.

Awards and Recognitions

2008 Fellow, of Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows Prize

2003 Los Alamos National Laboratory Distinguished Mentor Performance Award

1998 Fellow of the American Ceramic Society


  1. C. Jiang, B. P. Uberuaga, K. E. Sickafus, F. M. Nortier, J. J. Kitten, N. A. Marks and C. R. Stanek, “Using ‘Radioparagenesis’ to Design Robust Nuclear Waste Forms,” Energy and Environmental Science 3 (2010) 130.
  2. C. Jiang, C. R. Stanek, N. A. Marks, K. E. Sickafus and B. P. Uberuaga, “Radioparagenesis: The Formation of Novel Crystalline Structures via Radioactive Decay,” Phil. Mag. Lett. 90 (6) (2010) 435-446.
  3. M. Tang, K. S. Holliday, C. Jiang, J. A. Valdez, B. P. Uberuaga, P. O. Dickerson, R. M. Dickerson, Y. Q. Wang, K. R. Czerwinski, K. E. Sickafus, “Order-to-disorder Phase Transformation in Ion Irradiated Uranium-Bearing Delta-phase Oxides RE6U1O12 (RE = Y, Gd, Ho, Yb, and Lu).” J. Sol. St. Chem. 183 (2010) 844.

    M. Tang, K. S. Holliday, J. A. Valdez, B. P. Uberuaga, P. O. Dickerson, R. M. Dickerson, Y. Wang, K. R. Czerwinski, and K. E. Sickafus, “Microstructural Evolution in Irradiated Uranium-Bearing Delta-phase Oxides A6U1O12 (A = Y, Gd, Ho, Yb, and Lu)”, J. Nucl. Mater. 407(2010) 44-47.
  4. J. Zhang, Y. Q. Wang, M. Tang, J. Won, J. A. Valdez, and K. E. Sickafus, “Order-to-disorder transformation in d-phase Sc4Zr3O12 compounds induced by ion irradiation,” J. Mater. Res.25 (2010) 248.
  5. I. O. Usov, J. Won, D. J. Devlin, Y.-B. Jiang, J. A. Valdez, K. E. Sickafus, “A novel method for incorporating fission gas elements into solids,” J. Nucl. Mater. 408 (2011) 205-208.
  6. C. Jiang, X.-Y. Liu, K. E. Sickafus, “First-principles prediction of the thermodynamic stability of xenon in monoclinic, tetragonal, and yttrium stabilized cubic ZrO2,” Phys. Rev. B 83(2011) 052103.
  7. T. Hartmann, A. Alaniz, F. Poineau, P. F. Weck, J. A. Valdez, M. Tang, G. D. Jarvinen, K. R. Czerwinski, K. E. Sickafus, “Structure Studies on Lanthanide Technetium Pyrochlores as Prospective Host Phases to Immobilize 99Tc and Fission Lanthanides from Effluents of Reprocessed Used Nuclear Fuels,” J. Nucl. Mater. 411 (2011) 60-71.
  8. X.-Y. Liu, B. P. Uberuaga, A. D. Andersson, C. R. Stanek, K. E. Sickafus, “New mechanism for transient migration of xenon in UO2,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98 (2011) 151902.