Awardee Interviews | Biography: Robert Hamers

Robert Hamers

Robert HamersRobert Hamers performed his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, receiving a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1980. He then joined the Ph.D. program at Cornell University, majoring in physical chemistry with minors in applied physics and theoretical chemistry. For his Ph.D. work, he combined laser spectroscopy with ultra-high-vacuum surface science and molecu-lar beam techniques to study state-resolved energy transfer in molecule-surface colli-sions. In 1985, Bob completed his Ph.D. work and accepted a position as a postdoctoral research associate at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, becoming a member of IBM's permanent research staff in 1986. In 1990, he left IBM to accept his current position as an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Hamers is widely acknowledged as one of the leading fiqures in scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). He entered the STM field early in 1985, constructing one of the first ultrahigh-vacuum, atomic-resolution scanning tunneling rnicroscopies in the U.S. Since that time he has applied STM to solve a number of scientific problems and has extended the application of STM through the development of new STM-based techniques. A consistent theme of Dr. Hamers' s research has been the correlation between atomic geometry, electronic structure, and chemical reactivity of surfaces at the atomic level. The results of this research have greatly extended our knowledge of the structure, electrical properties, and chemical reactivity of semiconductor surfaces. Among other achievements, Dr. Hamers first identified the dimer reconstruction of Si (001), performed the first atomically-resolved tunneling spectroscopy measurements to resolve the surface states of Si (111)-(7X7), and performed the first studies of surface chemical reactions with the STM. He also applied STM to a number of adsorbate systems including the geometry and electronic structure of metal adsorbates on silicon surfaces and epitaxial growth of Si on the Si (001) and Si (111) surfaces. In recent experiments Bob has further extended the ability of STM to probe the sub-surface region of semiconductors through novel experiments coupling STM with optical excitation, permitting the study of the non-equilibrium electronic properties of semiconductors. His work has been very extensively cited by others: his five best-known papers have been cited over 800 times. His work is also highlighted in a number of books and reviews by others.

Dr. Hamers is the author of more than 50 publications in the STM field. In addition to Outstanding Innovation and Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards from the IBM Corporation, Dr. Hamers has received a Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award and is one of the first group of scientists to receive a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship.