Christopher Kemper Ober

Christopher K. Ober

Francis Norwood Bard Professor of Metallurgical Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Bard Hall, Room 310


Christopher Kemper Ober is the Francis Bard Professor of Materials Engineering at Cornell University. After several years in industry at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, Ober arrived at Cornell in 1986. His research is focused on lithography, patterning, the biology materials interface and control of surface structure in thin films. As a reflection of his contributions to lithography, Ober in 2015 was honored with the Photopolymer Science & Technology Outstanding Contribution Award. He is the 2006 winner of the American Chemical Society Award in Applied Polymer Science, and received a Humboldt Research Prize in 2007. In 2009, Ober was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and was awarded the Gutenberg Research Prize by the University of Mainz. Ober served as Interim Dean of Engineering 2009 - 2010. In 2014 he was a JSPS Fellow in Japan. More recently he was elected a fellow of APS (2014) and AAAS (2015) and made a SPIE Senior Member (2018). He is currently the Director of the Cornell Nanoscale Facility.

Research Interests

The ability to tailor the chemical structure of materials provides the ability to exquisitely control materials properties. Polymers, more than any other material, offer this possibility to fine-tune their thermal, optical and electrical properties through precise changes to molecular structure. Polymers are also the basis of the nanotechnology revolution, serving as photoresists used to create nanometer scale structures. Our research is therefore focused in three areas: (i) fundamental studies of self-organization in polymers, (ii) lithographic materials for microelectronics and biotechnology and (iii) new environmentally and biologically friendly materials. Each of these topics involves creative polymer synthesis using state-of-the-art facilities and methods as well as advanced characterization tools, most of which are located here at Cornell University. The research group, consisting of a mixture of graduate students and post-doctoral associates, takes part in highly collaborative research with leading groups at Cornell and around the world. 

Research Projects

  •  Environmentally friendly, fouling resistant surfaces (ONR) 
  •  Polymer brushes and interface engineering (NSF) 
  •  Controlled sequence EUV resists (CINEMA Team/Intel) 
  •  Polyelectrolyte brushes in nanoconfinement (NSF) 
  •  Protective barrier coatings for fabrics (DTRA) 
  •  Scissionable polymers (Intel/SRC)
Research Group Members

Selected Publications

Michael Tsuei, Hai Tran, Sangchul Roh, Christopher K Ober, Nicolas Abbott, “Using Liquid Crystals to Probe the Organization of Helical Polypeptide Brushes Induced by Solvent Pretreatment”, Macromolecules, 2021, In Press.

Amanda Leonardi, Aria C Zhang, Nilay Düzen, Nick Aldred, John A Finlay, Jessica L Clarke, Anthony S Clare, Rachel A Segalman, Christopher K Ober, “Amphiphilic Nitroxide-Bearing Siloxane-Based Block Copolymer Coatings for Enhanced Marine Fouling Release”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2021, 13(24), 28790-28801

Yuming Huang, Hai Tran, Christopher K Ober, “High-Resolution Nanopatterning of Free-Standing, Self-Supported Helical Polypeptide Rod Brushes via Electron Beam Lithography”, ACS Macro Letters, 2021, 10(6), 755-759

Mayank Misra, Ziwei Liu, Ban Xuan Dong, Shrayesh N Patel, Paul F Nealey, Christopher K Ober, Fernando A Escobedo, “Thermal Stability of π-Conjugated n-Ethylene-Glycol-Terminated Quaterthiophene Oligomers: A Computational and Experimental Study”, ACS Macro Letters, 2020, 9(3), 295-300

Dung‐Yi Wu, Florian Käfer, Nicholas Diaco, Christopher K Ober, “Silica‐PMMA hairy nanoparticles prepared via phase transfer‐assisted aqueous miniemulsion atom transfer radical polymerization”, 2020, 58(17), 2310-2316

Christopher K. Ober, “Materials Systems for 2-Photon Lithography”, in “Three-dimensional microfabrication using two-photon polymerization”, William Andrew Publishing, 2020, 143-174.

Hong Xu, Kazunori Sakai, Kazuki Kasahara, Vasiliki Kosma, Kou Yang, Henry C. Herbol, Jeremy Odent, Paulette Clancy, Emmanuel P. Giannelis, Christopher K. Ober, “MOF-inspired metal-containing building units for high resolution patterning”, Chem. Mater., 2018, 30 (12), 4124–4133.

Yiren Zhang, Albert Park, Alicia Cintora, Austin Moehle, Gregory D. Fuchs and Christopher K. Ober, Stephen R. McMillan, Nicholas J. Harmon, Michael E. Flatté, “Impact of the Synthesis Method on the Solid-State Charge Transport of Radical Polymers”, JMC C, 2018, 6(1), 111-118.

Wei-Liang Chen, Roselynn Cordero, Hai Tran, Christopher K. Ober, "50th Anniversary Perspective: Polymer Brushes: Novel Surfaces for Future Materials", Macromolecules, 2017, 50(11), 4089-4113.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • National Academy of Engineering member, 2023
  • SPIE Senior Member, for accomplishments in advanced photoresist design, 2018
  • Japan Photopolymer Science and Technology Outstanding Achievement Award 2015
  • American Chemical Society PMSE Division Distinguished Service Award 2014
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellow, TokyoTech 2014, 
  • Distinguished Polymer Lecturer (Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS) 2015
  • Student selected polymer speaker (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN) 2015
  • The Photopolymer Science and Technology Outstanding Achievement Award (The Society of Photopolymer Science and Technology - SPST) 2015
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2015
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society 2014


  • BSc (Chemistry), University of Waterloo, 1978
  • MS (Polymer Science & Engineering), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1980
  • Ph D (Polymer Science & Engineering), University of Massachusetts- Amherst, 1982


Research Group Members

Graduate Students

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