Research Interests

We are applying large-scale numerical simulation and high-performance computing to understand continuum transport, phase change, and reaction in the processing of advanced materials. These exciting tools provide a means of obtaining the fundamental physical insight necessary to enable advances in modern materials processing operations, and the sphere of accessible problems continues to enlarge with the rapid evolution of computers and numerical methods. Research areas include analyses of bulk crystal growth processes, morphological instabilities, microstructure evolution, and defect formation. To support these studies, we develop and apply efficient numerical methods using open-source software. 

Our research in crystal growth is directed toward understanding the complex, inherently nonlinear phenomena that control the processes used to create these materials. This understanding is motivated by needs of current and future electronic and optical systems, which require single-crystal substrates with precisely controlled properties. We are particularly interested in describing heat transfer in high-temperature melt growth systems, three-dimensional time-dependent flows in crystal growth systems, mass transfer in melt and solution growth, faceting phenomena, and morphological stability of crystal interfaces. Recent work has concentrated on the melt growth of II-VI semiconductor crystals, step dynamics and instabilities during solution growth, particle and bubble engulfment during growth of silicon and sapphire, and high-pressure growth processes for single-crystal diamond and group III nitrides

In conjunction with research in the areas described above, we seek to advance state-of-the-art numerical methods and analysis. These efforts primarily involve finite element methods for solutions to continuum equations for incompressible fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer, radiation heat transfer, and free and moving boundary problems.



  • American Association for Crystal Growth Award, 2015
  • Best lecturer, 4th International Workshop on Crystal Growth Technology (IWCGT-4), Beatenberg, Switzerland, 2008
  • Distinguished McKnight University Professorship, University of Minnesota, 2008-Present
  • Humboldt Research Award for Senior US Scientists, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2000
  • Young Author Award, American Association for Crystal Growth, 1993
  • McKnight-Land Grant Professorship, University of Minnesota, 1991-1993
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation, 1990-1995

Selected Publications

  • S.S. Dossa, I. Ponomarev, B. Feigelson, M. Hainke, C. Kranert, J. Friedrich, and J.J. Derby, “Analysis of the High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) growth of single crystal diamond,” J. Crystal Growth, 127150 (2023). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2023.127150
  • Y.-I. Kwon, B. Dai, and J.J. Derby, “Steps behaving badly: Nonlinear dynamics and a terrace-loading instability during solution growth of lysozyme crystals,” J. Crystal Growth, Special Issue dedicated to Alexander A. Chernov, 597, 126852 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2022.126852
  • S.S. Dossa and J.J. Derby, “Modeling Optical Floating Zone Crystal Growth in a High-Pressure, Single-Lamp Furnace,” J. Crystal Growth 591, 126723 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2022.126723
  • S. Pawar, K. Wang, A. Yeckel, and J.J. Derby, “Analysis of temperature gradient zone melting and the thermal migration of liquid particles through a solid,” Acta Materialia 228, 117780 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.actamat.2022.117780
  • J.S. Peterson and J.J. Derby, “The effects of ACRT on melt undercooling during the growth of CZT via the traveling heater method: Ekman versus Taylor-Görtler flows,” Crystal Growth 578, 126409 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2021.126409
  • Y. Tao and J.J. Derby, “The engulfment of a precipitated particle in a saturated melt during solidification,” J. Crystal Growth 577, 126400 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2021.126400.
  • C. Zhang, B. Gao, A.S. Tremsin, D. Perrodin, T. Shalapska, E.D. Bourret, D.R. Onken, S.C. Vogel, and J.J. Derby, “Analysis of chemical stress and the propensity for cracking during the vertical Bridgman growth of BaBrCl:Eu,” J. Crystal Growth 546, 125794 (2020). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2020.125794
  • J.J. Derby, C. Zhang, J. Seebeck, J.H. Peterson, A.S. Tremsin, D. Perrodin, G.A. Bizarri, E.D. Bourret, A.S. Losko, and S.C. Vogel, “Computational modeling and neutron imaging to understand interface shape and solute segregation during the vertical gradient freeze growth of BaBrCl:Eu,” J. Crystal Growth 536, 125572 (2020). doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2020.125572
Jeff Derby - Headshot


Phone: 612/625-8881

Office: 239 Amundson Hall


Support Jeff Derby's Research

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1981
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986