Michael Dickey

Alcoa Professor

The Dickey group is studying new ways to pattern, actuate, and control soft materials (gels, polymers, liquid metals). A common theme of our projects is the importance of thin films, interfacial phenomena, and microfabrication. Our approach is to (i) elucidate the fundamental properties of materials such that they can be harnessed in a useful manner, and (ii) develop new, unconventional approaches to fabricate, actuate, and assemble these materials. Applications of the research include patterning, 3D printing, stretchable / soft electronics, self-folding, actuation of soft robotics, wearable electronics, energy harvesting devices, reconfigurable circuits, and microfluidics..

We are also interested in photo-curable polymeric materials, particularly those used in both photo- and imprint lithography. The properties (curing speed, sensitivity, elemental composition, dielectric constant, mechanical properties, viscosity, etc.) of these materials must be tailored and optimized depending on the application.


Research Interests

Michael Dickey’s research focuses on Focus Areas – Soft Materials, Interfaces, Microfabrication, Liquid Metals, Polymers / Gels, Stretchable & Wearable Electronics, Energy Harvesting, Soft Robots.


Ph.D.Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Texas at Austin2006
MSChemical EngineeringUniversity of Texas at Austin2003
BSChemical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of Technology1999

Honors and Awards

  • 2020 | Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award
  • 2020 | Outstanding Research Mentor Award
  • 2020 | American Chemical Society Distinguished Speaker of the Year, NC Chapter
  • 2019 | Distinguished Leadership and Contributions to Scientific Research Award, Sigma Xi
  • 2017 | Member: Defense Science Study Group (DSSG 2018-2019)
  • 2017 | Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor (NC State)
  • 2017 | Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award
  • 2016 | Curtis W. McGraw Research Award
  • 2016 | SPIE Nanoengineering Award
  • 2014 | Selectee: NAE Frontiers of Engineering Research Symposium
  • 2013 | ASEE Southeastern Section New Faculty Research Award
  • 2013 | Selectee: NAE Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium
  • 2013 | University Faculty Scholar
  • 2012 | Outstanding Teacher Award – Member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at NC State University
  • 2011 | Sigma Xi Faculty Award
  • 2010 | National Science Foundation CAREER Award


A Guide to Printed Stretchable Conductors
Sakorikar, T., Mihaliak, N., Krisnadi, F., Ma, J., Kim, T.-il, Kong, M., … Dickey, M. D. (2024), Chemical Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemrev.3c00569
A soft magnetoelectric finger for robots' multidirectional tactile perception in non-visual recognition environments
Xu, Y., Zhang, S., Li, S., Wu, Z., Li, Y., Li, Z., … Su, B. (2024), NPJ FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41528-023-00289-6
Harvesting and manipulating sweat and interstitial fluid in microfluidic devices
Saha, T., Mukherjee, S., Dickey, M. D., & Velev, O. D. (2024, January 10), LAB ON A CHIP, Vol. 1. https://doi.org/10.1039/d3lc00874f
Printable Liquid Metal Foams That Grow When Watered
Krisnadi, F., Kim, S., Im, S., Chacko, D., Vong, M. H., Rykaczewski, K., … Dickey, M. D. (2024), Advanced Materials. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202308862
Stroking through Electrolyte: Liquid Metal Droplet Propulsion through Pulse Time Modulation
Fuchs, R., Abdoli, S., Kilani, M., Nor-Azman, N.-A., Yu, R., Tang, S.-Y., … Tang, J. (2024, January 4), ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS, Vol. 1. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202314815
A Soft Gripper with Granular Jamming and Electroadhesive Properties
Piskarev, Y., Devincenti, A., Ramachandran, V., Bourban, P.-E., Dickey, M. D., Shintake, J., & Floreano, D. (2023, March 16), ADVANCED INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS, Vol. 3. https://doi.org/10.1002/aisy.202200409
An atomically smooth container: Can the native oxide promote supercooling of liquid gallium?
Joshipura, I. D., Nguyen, C. K., Quinn, C., Yang, J., Morales, D. H., Santiso, E., … Dickey, M. D. (2023), ISCIENCE, 26(4). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2023.106493
Breathable Encapsulated Liquid Metal Foam-Based Soft Stress Sensor
Xu, J., Wang, Z., Wang, X., Wu, Y., Xing, R., Yu, T., … Yang, J. (2023, January 25), ADVANCED MATERIALS TECHNOLOGIES, Vol. 1. https://doi.org/10.1002/admt.202201193
Compositional Design of Surface Oxides in Gallium-Indium Alloys
Farrell, Z. J., Jacob, A. R., Truong, V. K., Elbourne, A., Kong, W., Hsiao, L., … Tabor, C. (2023, January 11), CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, Vol. 1. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.2c02696
Controllable Flow and Manipulation of Liquid Metals
He, Y., You, J., Dickey, M. D., & Wang, X. (2023, October 20), ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS, Vol. 10. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202309614

View all publications via NC State Libraries

Michael Dickey