Core Faculty

Mark C. Hersam

Bette and Neison Harris Chair in Teaching Excellence

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Director, Materials Research Science and Engineering (MRSEC)

2220 Campus Drive

Cook Hall 2036; Office - Cook 1017A

Evanston, IL 60208

m-hersam( at )


Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, IL

M.Phil. Microelectronic Engineering and Semiconductor Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, IL

Research Interests

Nanomaterials for Electronics, Sensing, and Energy

The Hersam Research Group applies the fundamental paradigm of materials science and engineering (i.e., the development of structure-property-processing-performance relationships) to hybrid hard and soft materials at the nanometer length scale. In many cases, the objective is to apply organic molecules to inorganic substrates in an effort to increase the functionality of the resulting hybrid system (e.g., silicon-based molecular electronics and graphene-based sensing). In other instances, an experimental technique that was originally developed for inorganic materials is adapted for the study of organic or biological systems (e.g., probing ion channels and organic photovoltaic devices using conductive atomic force microscopy).

This highly interdisciplinary research is enabled by a sophisticated suite of instrumentation including ultra-high vacuum (UHV) scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and additional equipment for studying the electrical and optical properties of materials.

Ongoing research projects range from fundamental studies (e.g., single molecule spectroscopy with UHV STM) to applied technology development (e.g., optimization of carbon nanotube and graphene materials for electronic and optical devices).

Overall, this research has wide impact in the fields of information technology, energy technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

Significant Recognition

  • APS Fellow, 2012
  • MRS Fellow, 2012
  • SPIE Fellow, 2012
  • AVS Fellow, 2012
  • Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 2010
  • SES Research Young Investigator Award, Electrochemical Society, 2010
  • Teacher of the Year Award, Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2009
  • Teacher of the Year Award, Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University 2007
  • Young Alumni Achievement Award, ECE Department, UIUC, 2007
  • AVS Peter Mark Award, 2006
  • TMS Robert Lansing Hardy Award, 2006
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2005
  • Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, 2005
  • Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, 2005
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 2005
  • Teacher of the Year in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, 2003
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2002
  • Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, 2001
  • IBM Distinguished Fellowship, 1999
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1997
  • British Marshall Scholarship, 1996

Selected Publications

    Md. Z. Hossain, J. E. Johns, K. H. Bevan, H. J. Karmel, Y. T. Liang, S. Yoshimoto, K. Mukai, T. Koitaya, J. Yoshinobu, M. Kawai, A. M. Lear, L. L. Kesmodel, S. L. Tait,and M. C. Hersam, "Chemically homogeneous and thermally reversible oxidation of epitaxial graphene," Nature Chemistry, 4, 305 (2012).

    A. Deshpande, C.-H. Sham, J. M. P. Alaboson, J. M. Mullin, G. C. Schatz, and M. C. Hersam, "Self-assembly and photopolymerization of sub-2 nm one-dimensional organic nanostructures on graphene," Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134, 16759 (2012).

    V. K. Sangwan, R. P. Ortiz, J. M. P. Alaboson, J. D. Emery, M. J. Bedzyk, L. J. Lauhon, T. J. Marks, and M. C. Hersam, "Fundamental performance limits of carbon nanotube thin-film transistors achieved using hybrid molecular dielectrics," ACS Nano, 6, 7480 (2012).

    M. C. Duch, G. R. Scott Budinger,Y. T. Liang, S. Soberanes, D. Urich, S. E. Chiarella, L. A. Campochiaro, A. Gonzalez, N. S. Chandel, M. C. Hersam, and G. M. Mutlu, "Minimizing oxidation and stable nanoscale dispersion improves the biocompatibility of graphene in the lung," Nano Letters, 11, 5201 (2011).

    A. L. Lipson, R. S. Ginder, and M. C. Hersam, "Nanoscale in situ characterization of Li-ion battery electrochemistry via scanning ion conductance microscopy," Advanced Materials, 23, 5613 (2011).

    T. P. Tyler, R. E. Brock, H. J. Karmel, T. J. Marks, and M. C. Hersam, "Electronically monodisperse single-walled carbon nanotube thin films as transparent conducting anodes in organic photovoltaic devices," Advanced Energy Materials, 1, 785 (2011).

    Y. T. Liang, B. Vijayan, K. A. Gray, and M. C. Hersam, "Minimizing graphene defects enhances titania nanocomposite-based photocatalytic reduction of CO2 for improved solar fuel production," Nano Letters, 11, 2865 (2011).

    J. M. P. Alaboson, Q. H. Wang, J. D. Emery, A. L. Lipson, M. J. Bedzyk, J. W. Elam, M. J. Pellin, and M. C. Hersam, "Seeding atomic layer deposition of high-k dielectrics on epitaxial graphene with organic self-assembled monolayers," ACS Nano, 5, 5223 (2011).

    A. A. Green and M. C. Hersam, "Nearly single-chirality single-walled carbon nanotubes produced via orthogonal iterative density gradient ultracentrifugation," Advanced Materials, 23, 2185 (2011).

    Q. H. Wang and M. C. Hersam, "Nanofabrication of heteromolecular organic nanostructures on epitaxial graphene via room temperature feedback-controlled lithography," Nano Letters, 11, 589 (2011).

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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