B.S. Mechanical Engineering, UVA, 2004B.A. Physics, UVA, 2004Ph.D. ​Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, 2008​Harry S. Truman Postdoctoral Fellow, Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, 2008-2011

"We are studying new materials and systems to help create more energy efficient technologies and processes."

Patrick E. Hopkins, Professor

Patrick the Whitney Stone Professor in Engineering at the University of Virginia, with a primary appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and courtesy appointments in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics, and the director of the ExSiTE Lab.  Patrick's research interests are in energy transport and coupled photonic interactions with condensed matter, soft materials, liquids, vapors, plasmas and their interfaces.  His lab uses various optical thermometry-based experiments to measure the thermal conductivity, thermal boundary conductance, thermal accommodation, strain propagation and sound speed, optical properties, and electron, phonon, vibrational and polaritonic scattering mechanisms in a wide array of bulk materials and nanosystems from cryogenic to ultrahigh temperatures.


  • Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award 2021
  • Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers 2021-2022
  • Participant in the Defense Science Study Group 2021-2023
  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2019
  • ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer 2016
  • Outstanding Reviewer: ASME Journal of Heat Transfer 2016
  • National Finalist, Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists 2014
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) 2013
  • Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award 2013
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award 2013
  • Sandia National Laboratories Harry S. Truman Postdoctoral Fellow 2008-2011

Research Interests

  • Microscale Heat Transfer
  • Nanoelectronics and 2-D Materials
  • Surface and Interface Science and Engineering
  • High Temperature Materials Science and Oxides
  • Rotating Machinery
  • Laser-materials interactions

The Amazing Squid Ring Teeth

Professor Patrick Hopkins and his Ph.D. student, John Tomko, discover some unique properties of the ring teeth found on the tentacles of squid, with the potential to revolutionize nanoscale heat transfer.

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Nanoscale phonon spectroscopy reveals emergent interface vibrational structure of superlattices ABS Nature 601, 556-561 (2022)
  • Tuning network topology and vibrational mode localization to achieve ultralow thermal conductivity in amorphous chalcogenides ABS Nature Communications 12, 2817 (2021)
  • Thermally conductive ultra-low-k dielectric layers based on two-dimensional covalent organic frameworks ABS Nature Materials 20, 1142-1148 (2021)
  • Interface controlled thermal properties of ultra-thin chalcogenide-based phase change memory devices ABS Nature Communications 12, 774 (2021)
  • Long-lived modulation of plasmonic absorption by ballistic thermal injection ABS Nature Nanotechnology 16, 47-51 (2021)