Theo Borca-Tasciuc

Professor and Associate Department Head for Graduate Affairs


Dr. Theodorian (Theo) Borca-Tasciuc has a B.S. in Physics from Bucharest University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA. He started his academic career in 2001 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and since 2013 he is a full professor. He is the director of the Nanoscale Thermophysics and Energy Conversion Laboratory (NanoTEC) on the Rensselaer campus. His research interests include fundamental and multiscale investigations of thermal transport and energy conversion particularly in solid-state and development of innovative materials, devices, and systems with applications ranging from sustainable buildings to medical devices. He received the NSF CAREER award, School of Engineering Outstanding Team award, is a member of the ASME’s K8 committee on Fundamentals of Heat Transfer, and a member of the ASME's  K-9 committee on Nanoscale Thermal Transport. He organized and chaired multiple symposia and sessions on nanoscale thermal transport and energy conversion with ASME, MRS, and CIMTEC International Conferences.
Since January 2015, Dr. T. Borca-Tasciuc serves as the Associate Department Head for Graduate Affairs and the Mechanical Engineering Program Director for the MANE Dept.
He is the director of a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship program, a US Dept. of Education grant which supports MANE’s new interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering.
NanoTEC Lab Research focuses on
Investigations of heat conduction and energy conversion in nanomaterials, including carbon nanotube arrays, metallic nanoparticle-polymer and nanowire-polymer composites, thermoelectrics
Prototyping and testing advanced refrigeration/heat pump and heat transfer systems
Development of advanced metrology techniques for fast, accurate, and high spatial resolution characterization of thermal and thermoelectric properties
Investigations of thermal transport across interfaces
Development of manufacturing and testing strategies for solid-state energy conversion devices and systems
Applications of NanoTEC Research:  CHIPS (memory and logic) Thermal Management, Sustainable Buildings Thermal Systems, Scanning Thermal Microscopy, Surgery and Medical Devices, Temperature and Thermal Properties Metrology, Thermoelectric Device Design and Characterization, Thermal Interface Materials, Thermoelectric Materials, Thermal Energy Conversion Systems.
Two Rensselaer student start-up companies are linked to NanoTEC research: ThermoAura Inc. and MIMiC Systems Inc. 
Student Projects: NanoTEC lab offers opportunities for a variety of hands-on, experimental, manufacturing, and simulation & design projects for graduate and undergraduate students. Email project inquiries to
As of 2021 Dr. T. Borca-Tasciuc graduated (as main advisor or co-advisor) 20 PhD students and 35 Master students. He authored >100 journal articles and book chapters, has >7300 citations, and h-index of 40.
Research (examples) 
Sensitivity and Spatial Resolution for Thermal Conductivity Measurements using Non-contact Scanning Thermal Microscopy with Thermoresistive Probes under Ambient Conditions (link):
Anisotropic thermal diffusivity of aligned multiwall carbon nanotube arrays (link):
Thermal resistance of the native interface between vertically aligned multiwalled carbon nanotube arrays and their SiO2/Si substrate (link):
Theoretical modeling of a thermal wave technique to determine the extent of the freezing region surrounding a cryoprobe (link):
A new class of doped nanobulk high-figure-of-merit thermoelectrics by scalable bottom-up assembly (link):
Self-constructed tree-shape high thermal conductivity nanosilver networks in epoxy (link):
For more on Google Scholar (link):

Non-Fourier heat conduction has critical implications for the thermal management of nanodevices, nanointerconnects, optoelectronics, or the design of nanocomposites and nanomaterials. On another hand, nanostructures and nanostructured materials enable novel ways to independently control the thermoelectric properties (Seebeck coefficient and electrical and thermal conductivities) that define the thermoelectric figure of merit Z, a metric important for thermoelectric energy conversion applications (such as solid state refrigeration and power generation).
A critical role is played by development of experimental techniques able to probe thermal and thermoelectric properties at nanoscale, in nanomaterials, across-nanointerfaces, or to test the operation of nanoscale electronic, optoelectronic, and thermoelectric devices. These techniques are employed to perform studies of property-structure relationship to understand and optimize thermal and thermoelectric transport as required by specific applications. Selected examples of techniques developed include: 1) a scanning thermal probe techniques for accurate temperature and thermal conductivity measurements; 2) a transient method for measurement of all thermoelectric properties as well as electrical and thermal contact resistances in films; 3) a photothermoelectric method to determine the anisotropic thermal conductivity and the interface thermal resistance in thin film on-substrate systems; 4) a Joule heating thermometry method for characterization of thermal transport from nanoscale heat sources.
Selected research outcomes include: 1) discovery of a new class of highly scalable, high figure of merit, nanostructured bulk thermoelectric materials (patent); 2) implementation of a novel mechanism for formation of high thermal conductivity networks in polymer composites filled with nanoparticles (patent); 3)characterization of anisotropic thermal properties in aligned carbon nanotube arrays and aligned carbon-nanotube polymer composites; 4) characterization of the interface thermal resistance at the native interface between carbon nanotube arrays and the silicon substrate; 5) characterization of effective thermal conductivity of Si/Ge and Si/SiC multilayers;


Other Focus Areas

Heat conduction in nanomaterials, Prototyping and testing advanced refrigeration/heat pump and heat transfer systems, Metrology for fast, accurate, and high spatial resolution of thermal and thermoelectric properties, Thermal transport across interfaces, Thermoelectric energy conversion


The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Theo Borca-Tasciuc has 153 indexed publications in the subjects of Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, and Materials Science.

Yun Zhang, Wenkai Zhu, Chi Zhang, Joseph Peoples, Xuan Li, Andrea Lorena Felicelli, Xiwei Shan, David M. Warsinger, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, Xiulin Ruan, Tian Li
Nano Letters
, 22
, 2022
, pp.2618-2626
C. L. Hapenciuc, I. Negut, A. Visan, T. Borca-Tasciuc, I. N. Mihailescu
Journal of Applied Physics
, 131
, 2022
Biplab Paul, Yun Zhang, Wenkai Zhu, Binbin Xin, Ganpati Ramanath, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, Per Eklund
Applied Physics Letters
, 120
, 2022
Binbin Xin, Erik Ekström, Yueh Ting Shih, Liping Huang, Jun Lu, Anna Elsukova, Yun Zhang, Wenkai Zhu, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, Ganpati Ramanath, Arnaud Le Febvrier, Biplab Paul, Per Eklund
Nanoscale Advances
, 2022
Yun Zhang, Wenkai Zhu, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc
Nanoscale Advances
, 3
, 2021
, pp.692-702
Yi Zhang, Chengxi Wu, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc
Journal of Applied Physics
, 127
, 2020
Yun Zhang, Wenkai Zhu, Fei Hui, Mario Lanza, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, Miguel Muñoz Rojo
Advanced Functional Materials
, 30
, 2020
Yun Zhang, Wenkai Zhu, Liang Han, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc
Review of Scientific Instruments
, 91
, 2020
C. L. Hapenciuc, I. Negut, T. Borca-Tasciuc, I. N. Mihailescu
International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
, 134
, 2019
, pp.993-1002
Andrew Gaul, Qing Peng, David J. Singh, Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, Ganpati Ramanath
Journal of Applied Physics
, 125
, 2019

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