Research Interests

We are applying large-scale numerical simulation and high-performance computing to better understand continuum transport 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 many 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 crystal growth processes, morphological instabilities, microstructure evolution, and colloidal crystallization (with Prof. David Norris and others). The development of efficient numerical methods are performed in support of these studies.

Our research in crystal growth is directed at 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, internal radiant heat transfer in semitransparent crystals, 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 growth and properties of radiation detector crystals, such as cadmium zinc telluride, step dynamics during solution growth, and growth processes for crystalline silicon in photovoltaic devices.

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. Methods are developed for modern parallel architectures.


  • 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
  • Student Speaker Award, New England Association for Crystal Growth, 1983
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1981-1984

Selected Publications

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