Warren G. and Katharine S. Schlinger Professor, Department Chair

michael gordon


Synthesis and characterization of nanoscale materials as well as the development of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) methods for optical, electrical, and mechanical interrogation of nanoscale systems found in different venues such as material science, microelectronics, catalysis, and biology. His overall goal is to exploit the unique physicochemical properties of nanoscale systems by probing and understanding materials over a variety of length scales from nano to macro.

His group's research is "hands-on" experimental science involving a combination of scanning probe microscopy techniques (STM, AFM, SNOM), laser spectroscopy, nanofabrication, and traditional surface science. We build our own instruments and synthesize various nanostructured materials using plasmas, CVD, lithography, and traditional solution-based methods. 

  • Design/construction of scanning probe microscopy tools for chemical imaging of surfaces
  • Using sub-wavelength optical interactions with matter to study physical, chemical, and biological processes
  • Developing novel ways to identify/manipulate single molecules, nano-objects, and micro-scale systems using hybrid AFM techniques
  • Synthesis and characterization of plasmonic and catalytic materials
  • Spectroscopy of organic semiconductors for OLED and PV applications



Chemical Engineering


Elected Fellow, American Vacuum Society (AVS)

Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award

Frontiers of Engineering Education Conference

Outstanding Chemical Engineering faculty

David and Lucile Packard Fellowship

National Science Foundation's (NSF) Early Career Development Award

Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award

Intel Fellow

Constantin G. Economou Prize

Inaugural Founder's Chair in Chemical Engineering in honor of Dr. Robertt G. Rinker


PhD Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
MS Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology
MS Chemical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
BS Chemical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines