Harley T Johnson

Harley T Johnson
Harley T Johnson
  • Founder Professor; Associate Dean for Research, The Grainger College of Engineering
(217) 265-5468
2010 Seitz Materials Research Lab


  • Ph.D. Engineering Brown University 1999
  • Sc.M. Applied Math Brown University 1998
  • Sc.M. Engineering Brown University 1996
  • B.E.S.M. Eng. Sci. and Mech. Georgia Institute of Technology 1994


Harley T. Johnson is the Associate Dean for Research in the Grainger College of Engineering, and a Founder Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. He also holds a courtesy appointment as Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and affiliate appointments in the Materials Research Lab (MRL) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Professor Johnson is Director and PI of the Illinois NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC), based at MRL.

Academic Positions

  • Associate Dean for Research, Grainger College of Engineering, 2019-date
  • Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2011-date
  • Faculty Affiliate, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 2018-date
  • Faculty Fellow, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, 2017-2019
  • Associate Head for Graduate Programs, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2011-2014
  • Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2006-2011
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UIUC, 2001-2006
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, 1999-2001

Research Statement

Professor Johnson studies the mechanics of electronic and photonic materials, the mechanics of nanostructures, and optical properties of materials.  His group works on applications in many areas, including solar energy, microelectronics, sensing and detection, and materials processing.  Their work relies on atomistic and continuum modeling methods to simulate multiphysics phenomena, with the goal of helping to design and interpret experiments. Professor Johnson and his research group study such topics as: mechanics of quantum dots, including the effects of stress on their formation and properties; the development of stress in MEMS devices and microelectronic materials due to ion-bombardment processing; dislocations in electronic materials; the electrical properties of deformed carbon nanotubes; nanoscale surface instabilities; and nanophotonic design of surfaces, coatings, and microstructures.

Research Interests

  • Two-Dimensional Materials
  • Plasma-Surface Interactions
  • Optical Properties of Materials
  • Mechanics of Soft Materials
  • Mechanics of Photonic and Photovoltaic Materials

Research Areas

  • Applied Physics
  • Computation and Applied Math
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Security and Defense
  • Solid Mechanics and Materials

Selected Articles in Journals

Professional Societies

  • Society of Engineering Science (SES), member since 2000, Board of Directors 2014-2018, fellow (2020)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), member since 1999, fellow (2012)
  • American Physical Society (APS), member since 1997
  • Materials Research Society (MRS), member since 1996

Teaching Honors

  • Named to List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students: 15 times since 2004

Research Honors

  • Founder Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2023-present
  • SES Fellow, 2020
  • Invited Professor, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France, 2014-2015
  • Fulbright U.S. Scholar in France, 2014-2015
  • ASME Fellow, 2012
  • Xerox Award for Faculty Research, UIUC College of Engineering, 2011
  • Kritzer Faculty Scholar, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2010-present
  • ASME Thomas J. R. Hughes Young Investigator Award, 2010
  • Cannon Faculty Scholar, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2003-2010
  • NSF Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award, 2001

Other Honors

  • Presidential Medallion, University of Illinois System, 2021
  • University of Illinois Campus Award for Outstanding Faculty Leadership, 2020
  • Illinois Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, 2019
  • Larine Y. Cowan Award for Leadership in Diversity, 2018
  • President's Executive Leadership Program, University of Illinois System, 2017-2018
  • Graduate Student Council Co-President, Brown University, 1998
  • University Graduate Fellow, Brown University, 1994 - 1995, 1999
  • President’s Scholar, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1990 - 1994

Recent Courses Taught

  • TAM 451 - Intermediate Solid Mechanics
  • TAM 559 (TAM 598 HTJ) - Atomistic Solid Mechanics