Our research is aimed at achieving a true atomic-level understanding of structure, bonding, and reactivity at solid surfaces, and using this ability to develop new materials with novel functionality. Recent developments in the microelectronics industry are leading to great interest in the behavior of molecular materials and the possibility of using molecules as electronic devices. Interfaces between silicon and biological materials are also of increasing interest. We do research aimed at understanding the interaction of organic and biological molecules with solid surfaces of Si, Ge, and diamond, with the goal of producing high-quality functional interfaces between inorganic materials and organic materials. Individual research projects can range anwhere from very fundamental studies of molecule-surface bonding and structure, to applications of this knowledge to new and emerging fields such as biotechnology (gene chips, silicon-based DNA sequencing methods) and molecular electronics (using organic molecules as "wires" or optical/electronic devices). Our research program encompasses a wide variety of experimental methods for characterization of chemical composition, electronic properties, and atomic-level structure. We also utilize first-principles computational methods for understanding molecular behavior and properties.
We have several collaborations with Professor Jillian Banfield (Dept. of Geology and Geophysics) investigating structural and chemical properties of mineral surfaces, Professor Lloyd Smith (Dept. of Chemistry) investigating surface-based DNA hybridization methods, and with Dr. John Russell (Naval Research Labs) investigating surface functionalization of diamond and related materials. Complete details on all projects can be found on our website, http://hamers.chem.wisc.edu/