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Keith A. Brown

Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science & Engineering / Boston University /

Research Areas

Clean Energy


Keith A. Brown is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Physics at Boston University. He earned a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard University under the guidance of Robert M. Westervelt and an S.B. in physics from MIT. Following his doctoral work, he was an International Institute for Nanotechnology postdoctoral fellow with Chad A. Mirkin at Northwestern University. The KABlab studies polymers and smart fluids to determine how useful properties emerge from hierarchical structure. A considerable focus is developing approaches that increase the pace of materials research using autonomous experimentation, scanning probe techniques, and additive manufacturing. Keith has co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications, five issued patents, and his work has been recognized through awards including the Frontiers of Materials Award from The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS), being recognized as a “Future Star of the AVS,” the Omar Farha Award for Research Leadership from Northwestern University, and the AVS Nanometer-Scale Science and Technology Division Postdoctoral Award. Keith served on the Nano Letters Early Career Advisory Board and currently leads the MRS Artificial Intelligence in Materials Development Staging Task Force.

Research Interests

Brown studies of useful properties emerge from hierarchical structure in soft matter systems. This is motivated by nature that leverages the hierarchical organization of otherwise mundane building blocks to obtain exquisite performance. As this work requires physical experiments, a major focus is identifying ways to accelerate the pace of research. In addition to a major emphasis on autonomous experimentation as a path to accelerating this work, he also employ miniaturization enabled by scanning probe techniques. Examples of these efforts include the design of polymeric structures with superlative mechanical properties and the identification of smart fluids with novel functionalities.


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