College of Science, Engineering, and Technology

Center for Materials Research


Frances Williams

dr williams photo

CMR Director

Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
M.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

RTC 410C & MCAR 501P, Norfolk State University,
700 Park Ave., Norfolk, VA 23504,
Phone: (757) 823-0046
Fax: (757) 823-2698
Email: fwilliams@nsu.edu


Dr. Frances Williams is a professor in the Department of Engineering and the Director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University. Since coming to Norfolk State in 2004, she has made outstanding contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service and received NSU's top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence, in 2010. In February, 2013, she received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award (OFA), where she was one of 12 selected from universities across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Further, in 2012, she was named an "Emerging Scholar" by the Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. Dr. Williams has extensive research experience, peer-reviewed publications, and a patent in the areas of acoustic microsensors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices and processes, and in-situ monitoring techniques of semiconductor manufacturing. She is the Director of the Microsystems Research Group (MRG) as well as the 6,000 square foot Micro- and Nano-technology Center (MiNaC) Cleanroom Facility at NSU. Dr. Williams actively serves on and chairs many committees at the Department, College and University levels. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She received her Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was a National Science Foundation and Office of Naval Research HBCU Future Engineering Faculty Fellow as well as an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Scholar. Dr. Williams is a member of 5 professional and honorary societies.


Dr. Williams has conducted extensive research in the area of acoustic micro-sensors, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices and processes. In 2010, she was granted a patent that is expected to save the semiconductor industry money.

She is also the diversity director for the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) Engineering Research Center (ERC), a multi-university center that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Since coming to Norfolk State in 2004, Dr. Williams has been awarded grants that total more than $12 million.

Selected Publications

23. Frances Williams, Archana Komirisetty, and Aswini Pradhan, “Using Nanotechnology for Biosensor Applications,” ECS Transactions, 66 (30) (2015): 9-21.
22. Qiguang Yang, Frances Williams, Xin Zhao, Charles Reece, and Mahadevan Krishnan, “Investigating Crystal Microstructure of Niobium Materials by an X-ray Diffraction Reciprocal Space Mapping Technique,” Physical Review Special Topics-Accelerators and Beams, 17, 013501 (2014).
21. Johnson Fujamade, Frances Williams, Oliver Myers, Brandon Plastied, Asha Hall, and Jaret Riddick, “Design and Fabrication of a Functionally Modified Bimorph Actuator,” Proceedings of ASME 2014 Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems (SMASIS), SMASIS2014-7650, (2014): V002T04A019.
20. Doyle Baker, Casey Gonder, Frances Williams, Messaoud Bahoura, and Oliver Myers, “Design and Simulation of PZT-based MEMS Piezoelectric Sensors,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 9057, 905719 (2014).
19. Archana Komirisetty, Frances Williams, Aswini Pradhan, and Meric Arslan, “Integrating Sensors with Nanostructures for Biomedical Applications,“ Proceedings of ASME 2013 2nd Global Congress On Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology, NEMB 2013-93121, (2013): V001t04a003.
18. Xi Zhou, Frances Williams, Sacharia Albin, and Kalpathy Sundaram, “Simulation of Thermal Effects on Hydrogen-Terminated Diamond MOSFETs,“ Electrochemical Transactions, 53(2) (2013): 145-157
17. Sacharia Albin, Frances Williams, Xi Zhou and Weican Xiao, “Selective Growth of Nanodiamond Films in Microwave Plasma,” Composite Interfaces, 19 (3-4) (June 2012): 179-187.
16. Archana Komirisetty, Frances Williams, Aswini Pradhan, Rajini Babu Konda, Hareesh Dondapati, and Diptirani Samantaray, “Design of Nanostructured-based Glucose Biosensors,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 8344, 83440C (2012).
15. Dudley R. Ridley, Frances R. Williams, Kyo D. Song, S. R. Yun, K. S. Kang, and Jaehwan Kim, “Effect of Electrode Pattern on the Actuator Performance of Cellulose Electro-Active Paper,” Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 21 (4) (March 2010): 401-406.
14. Hargsoon Yoon, Frances Williams, Kyo Song, Sang Yang, Jae Hwan Kim, Kunsik Lee, and Sang Choi, “Rectennas Performance Based on Substrates for Bio-medical Applications,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7646, 76460U (2010).
13. Aswini Pradhan, Rajeh Mundle, Gilbert Kogo, Rajini Konda, Olu Bamiduro, Ozgul Yasar, Kai Zhang, Messaoud Bahoura, Frances Williams, and Kyo Song, “Environmental Sensing in Composite Oxide Semiconductor Films,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7646, 76460C (2010).
12. Aswini Pradhan, Ozgul Yasar, Rajini Konda, Rajeh Mundle, Messaoud Bahoura, Frances Williams, Kyo Song, D. R. Sahu, “Growth and Properties of PZT Based Perovskite Multilayers for Sensor Applications,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7646, 76460F (2010).
11. R. Mundle, R. Konda, O. Yasar, F. Williams, M. Bahoura, and A. Pradhan, “Magnetic Tunnel Junctions using LSMO Ferromagnetic Electrodes and PZT Piezoelectric Barrier,” Journal of Materials Research, 24 (10) (October 2009): 2065-3072.
10. R. Mundle, R.B. Konda, O. Bamiduro, O. Yasar, F. Williams, M. Bahoura, A.K. Pradhan, D. R. Sahu, J.-L. Huang, and D. E. Nikonov, "Manganite-based Magnetic Tunnel Junction with Piezoelectric Barrier," Journal of Applied Physics, 105, (2009), 07C907.
9. F. Williams, M. George, O. Yasar, D. Geddis, and Z. Hao, “"Bio/chemical Sensors Heterogeneously Integrated with Si-CMOS Circuitry,” (Invited Paper),” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7291, 72910N (2009).
8. Yang Xu, Shiva K. Durgam, Zhili Hao, Frances R. Williams, and Linda L. Vahala, “Investigating Energy Loss Mechanisms in an SOI-based Tuning-Fork Gyroscope,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7292, 72921F (2009).
7. M. Bahoura, A. Lee, R. Mundle, R. B. Konda, G. Kogo, O. Bamiduro, O. Yasar, W. Moore, K. Zhang, F. Williams, and A. K. Pradhan, “Ultraviolet Radiation Sensing in Composite Oxide Semiconductor Films,” Applied Physics Letters, 93, (2008) 222112.
6. Yang Xu, Shiv Krishna Durgam, Zhili Hao, and Frances Williams, “A Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Energy Loss Mechanisms in Tuning- Fork Gyroscopes,” Proceedings of the 2008 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Boston, MA, November 2008.
5. C. Fournier, O. Bamiduro, H. Mustafa, R. Mundle, R. B. Konda, F. Williams and A. K. Pradhan, “Effects of Substrate Temperature on the Optical and Electrical Properties of Al:Zno Films,” Semiconductor Science and Technology, 23 (2008), 085019.
4. Thomas Stout, Prathap Basappa, Frances Williams, Kyo Song, and Jaewhan Kim, “Study on Microwave Power via Rectenna for Airship Applications,” Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 6931, 69310L (2008).
3. Rasha Morsi, Wael Ibrahim, and Frances Williams, “Concept Maps: Development and Validation of Engineering Curricula,” Proceedings of the 2007 Frontiers in Education Conference, Milwaukee, WI, October 2007.
2. Frances Williams and Gary May, “Acoustic Monitoring of Electrochemical Deposition,” IEEE Transactions on Electronics Packaging Manufacturing, 27 (3) (July 2004): 198-209.
1. Michael Baker, Frances Williams, and Gary May, “A Novel In-Situ Monitoring Technique for Reactive Ion Etching Using a Surface Micromachined Sensor,” IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, 11 (2) (May 1998): 254-265 (won 1998 Best Paper Award).


Since coming to Norfolk State in 2004, Dr. Williams has been awarded grants that total more than $12 million. .

National Science Foundation

  • Center for Integrated Access Networks, Engineering Research Center, 09/2008-08/2016, PI: Dr. Frances Williams

Awards and Honors

Dr. Frances Williams, associate professor of engineering, recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Dominion Resources.

Dr. Williams was named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Education in January 2012. She was honored by Norfolk State University in 2010 with a Distinguished Faculty Award, receiving the University Award of Excellence—the highest University faculty award at that time. In 2012, Dr. Williams was recognized by the NSU Board of Visitors for her innovation.

Labs and Facilities

The Norfolk State University (NSU) Micro- and Nano-technology Center (MiNaC) is a 6,000 square foot clean-room facility which enables the production of microelectronics and opto-electronics devices on the micro- and nano-scale. It is a Class 100/Class 1000 user facility. It provides unique processing capabilities not only for NSU researchers, but also for researchers around the region. MiNaC houses equipment that enables the deposition and etching of thin films, the patterning of devices and micro-structures, and wet chemical processing. This premiere facility enables faculty and student researchers to have access to state-of-the-art equipment, facilitating novel research.

MiNaC Vision: The NSU Cleanroom is a world-class facility that engages teams of NSU researchers in partnership with private industry, government laboratories, and other university investigators in the development of micro and nano-scale technologies, including sensors, devices, and advanced materials. The NSU Cleanroom is an incubator for the creation of entrepreneurial enterprises that support economic strength in the Hampton Roads Community and technological advances in the United States. The NSU Cleanroom is a key stakeholder in the education and training of diverse populations for careers in engineering and technology.


NSU Faculty Member Among State Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients The Outstanding Faculty Award is the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities and recognizes superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service. Dr. Williams is one of 12 recognized statewide. This is the second consecutive year that a Norfolk State University faculty member received the award.