Message From the Dean of PSE, Yves Gnanou

The Physical Science and Engineering Division (PSE) operates five graduate programs corresponding to five core disciplines: Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemical Science, Earth Science and Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Some of these programs have specific academic tracks, and a student may choose the track that best suits his/her goals. Students will be offered modules consisting of lectures, seminars, and laboratory classes and will conduct independent research.

The science produced in PSE is about understanding, modeling, and manipulating matter at all scales: nano, meso and macroscopic levels; in all forms: bulk, thin films, divided colloids, fluid flows, earth as system etc.; and in interaction with external stimuli: light, heat, fluids, etc.; or stresses. The knowledge created serves to design and engineer materials, technologies, and systems that will address issues related to KAUST’s four thrusts: water, food, energy, and the environment.

The PSE Division addresses fundamental questions relating to: – energy production , water purification & environmental protection. Novel materials, nanodevices & systems to harvest renewable, cost-efficient energy. Energy  storage & improved conversion.  Sensors, devices  & circuits to detect pollutants, purify food, water & air. Fluid mechanics &  geomechanics. Oil exploration & recovery. CO2 sequestration. Theoretical Physics, Fluid Mechanics & Physical Chemistry.

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PSE boasts superb facilities and resources:

  • Students of the Chemical Science (ChemS) program benefit from the latest instrumentation and advanced analytical, characterization and imaging facilities of KAUST Research Centers (Catalysis, Advanced Membranes & Porous Materials, and Solar) and of Core Laboratories. Research addresses current challenges in catalysis, molecular and materials design. ChemS faculty has made significant contributions to “catalysis by design”, Surface Organometallic Chemistry, development of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), well-defined macromolecular architectures, photocatalytic water splitting, mechanistic understanding of small molecule activation, Green Chemistry applications and metallo-enzyme functions. 

  • Advanced equipment of four world-class research centers in the areas of Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials, Water Desalination and Reuse, Catalysis, Clean Combustion  await students of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Program. Students can also take full advantage of interdisciplinary research opportunities that arise from collaborations with other PSE programs, KAUST divisions, and industrial partners.
  • The facilities of the Material Science program include a 2,000 m2 Class 1000 clean room and multiple bays at Class 100, enabling the most up to date art thin-film deposition techniques, and generally all techniques related to the fabrication, visualization and testing of advanced materials.
  • Laboratories in Mechanical Engineering include an integrated environment dedicated to the modeling, simulation, and inverse approaches for composite materials; state-of-the-art instrumentation for experiments in fluid mechanics; advanced equipment and facilities for combustion diagnostics; experimental capabilities for reactive flow modeling; and a total internal refraction fluorescence microscope.

  • A high-tech seismic field laboratory is available to students in the Earth Science and Engineering program. In particular, students have access to the latest supercomputing and visualization facilities.
  • The Division's newest Research Center, the Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center, has over 3200 square meters of world-class petroleum, geo-materials, well integrity and flow assurance research space.​

In addition to superbly equipped laboratories, students in the PSE division can benefit from the mentoring and interaction with a pool of more than fifty renowned Faculty members.

Dr. Yves Gnanou