Bob Hamers, Then and Now: a 25-year Retrospective

Bob Hamers, 1990 and 2015Jeff Miller,  UW Communications senior photographer, joined UW-Madison in 1990 at the same time as Bob Hamers. In his retrospective “Then and Now: 25 Years Photographing UW-Madison“, Miller is providing monthly highlights how the campus has changed in the last 25 years. Bob Hamers was one of Miller’s early subjects in November, 1990,  and again in November, 2015. See the complete “Then and Now” on the UW News Service web site.


Who are we ?

We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists who share a common interest in the chemical and physical properties of surfaces and interfaces. Current students in the group have interests in analytical, materials, physical, and biological chemistry, and materials science.

What do we do ?

Our interests are primarily in the area of surface and interface chemistry, especially interfaces between inorganic materials (silicon, diamond, nanotubes, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) and organic / biological molecules. Most of our research is focused on surface science issues related to renewable energy including energy storage, photovoltaic energy conversion, photocatalysis, and electrocatalysis.

How do we do it ?

We use a wide range of chemical, structural, and electronic measurements including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, electrochemistry, impedance spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, microwave reflectivity, and a variety of chemical and biochemical synthetic methods.

What research projects are we current working on?

We currently have a number of major research projects. Please visit the research section to learn more about them.

Who funds our research?

Most our our research is funded by research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and the Department of Energy. We also work cooperatively with several companies, including Dow Chemical, Silatronix, and others.

Where do we publish the results of our research?

We have published more than 240 scientific papers and book chapters in a wide range of chemistry, physics, and biology journals, along with more than a dozen patents issued or pending. You can see a list of publications with links on our web site. Very recent publications (submitted or not yet published) may not be listed yet. You can also get a publications list directly from the Institute for Scientific Information by clicking here.

Who reads our papers?

Lots of people! According to the Institute of Scientific Information, we are one of the most highly cited (referenced) research group in the world, with more than 14,000 citations in the scientific literature to group publications; this places us in the top 0.5% of all publishing scientific groups. The ISI generally classifies our research as “Materials Science”.

How long does it take to get a Ph.D. degree in the group?

Time to graduation is not fixed, but varies depending on the project and the abilities of the student. Typical time to graduation is 4.5 years start-to-finish. The historical range is from 3.5 years to 5.5 years.

How many students have graduated from the group?

As of July 2012, 38 students have received their Ph.D. in our group, along with a number of students jointly supervised with other groups. This number includes 20 females and 18 males. Information on group alumni can be found here.

Where do students go after they graduate?

Graduates from the group are well equipped for research and teaching positions in industry, government, and academia and have been very successful competing in the job market. Some recent graduates and current positions include: Stephanie Hogendoorn (Akzo Nobel Corp.), Beth Landis (Holy Cross College), Xiaoyu Wang (Akzo Nobel), Divya Goel (Intel Corp), Andrew Mangham (Cree Corp. ), Paula Colavita (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland), Kiu-Yuen Tse (3M), Bo Li (3M-Singapore), Jeremy Streifer (Intel Corp.), Heesuk Kim (KIST – Korean Institute of Science and Technology), Bin Sun (Foley&Lardner), Kevin Metz (Albion College), Lu Shang (KLA Tencor), Beth Nichols (Dow Chemical), Sarah Baker (Lawrence Berkeley Labs), Tami Lasseter Clare (Portland State University), Wensha Yang (UCLA), Wei Cai (General Electric R&D), Christina Hacker (NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology), Molly McGuire (Bucknell University). A complete list of Ph.D. graduates and their current positions can be found here.

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about what we do and about research opportunities, please contact us directly.