Carnegie Mellon University

Stephen Garoff

Professor of Physics
Professor of Chemical Engineering (Courtesy) and Professor of Materials Science & Engineering (Courtesy)

Soft Condensed Matter / Biological Physics Experiment
Wean Hall 6313

assistant: THERESA GABRIELLI, 412-268-8367

lab website 

Prof. Steve Garoff

Education & Professional Experience

PhD: Harvard University, Applied Physics (1977)
M.S.: Harvard University, Applied Physics (1974)
B.S.: Yale University (1972)

Professional Societies:
American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society
Fellow, American Physical Society


Curriculum ViTAE

Head, Physics Department, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013–17
Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1988–
Professor of Chemical Engineering (Courtesy), Carnegie Mellon University, 1988–
Professor of Materials Science & Engineering (Courtesy), Carnegie Mellon University, 1988–
Research Scientist: Schlumberger-Doll Research, Ridgefield, CT, 1986–88
Research Scientist: Exxon Research, Annandale, NJ, 1977–86

Research Interests

The properties of interfacial regions where fluid or solid phases meet dominate the behavior of many natural and technical processes. Wetting, friction and adhesion, corrosion, stability of emulsions (droplets of liquids in another liquid) or colloidal suspensions (solid particles suspended in a liquid) are some examples. But attaining a fundamental understanding of their behavior challenges our experimental abilities because these interfacial regions are structurally complex on a molecular scale, are seldom homogeneous on a microscopic scale, and may not even be in equilibrium. Often monomolecular layers along the interfaces dominate the behavior of the interface and the macroscopic phenomenon. In the Interfacial Physics Group we attempt to build an understanding of interfacial phenomena on the molecular, microscopic, and macroscopic levels. In our research, we probe many different liquid systems, including aqueous and non-aqueous fluids and solutions, surfactants and polymers, and even metals interacting with a variety of solids, including glasses, oxides and metals. We employ a range of techniques including x-ray, neutron, and optical techniques, atomic force microscopy, rheology, as well as UHV and non-UHV materials preparation. Presently, we focus on wetting, friction, and colloidal forces.  Our program draws on a broad range of scientific phenomena such as random field effects, nonequilibrium states, hydrodynamics, and noise in hysteretic systems. The results of our research reveal the scientific underpinnings of such technologies as coatings, adhesion, colloidal stability, and multiphase fluid flow.

We maintain extensive collaborations with groups in the Material Science, Chemical Engineering an Biomedical Engineering Departments at Carnegie Mellon as well as in the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.  We participate in the programs of the Center for Complex Fluids Engineering. We also work on applications of our research through projects funded by industry. For more details on our group, see Interfacial Physics Group.

Selected Publications

Vignesh T. Gurumurthy et al., Spontaneous rise in open rectangular channels under gravity, J. Coll. Interf. Sci. 527, 151 (2018)

Amy Z. Stetten et al., Evolution and disappearance of solvent drops on miscible polymer subphases, Coll. Surf. A 546, 266 (2018)

Vignesh T. Gurumurthy et al., Computations of spontaneous rise of a rivulet in a corner of a vertical square capillary, Coll. Surf. A 544, 118 (2018)

Amy Z. Stetten et al., Surfactant-induced Marangoni transport of lipids and therapeutics within the lung, Current Opinion, J. Coll. Interf. Sci. 36, 58 (2017)

Ramankur Sharma et al., Transport of a partially wetted particle at the liquid/vapor interface under the influence of an externally imposed surfactant generated Marangoni stress, Coll. Surf. A 521, 49 (2017)

Gunner Dunér et al., Effect of polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexation on Marangoni transport at a liquid-liquid interface, J. Coll. Interf. Sci. 467, 105 (2016)

Ying Zhang et al., Gravity driven current during the coalescence of two sessile dropsPhys. Fluids 27, 022101 (2015)

Ramankur Sharma et al., Surfactant driven post-deposition spreading of aerosols on complex aqueous subphases. 2: Low deposition flux representative of aerosol delivery to small airwaysJ. Aerosol Med. Pulmonary Drug Deliv. 28, 394 (2015)

Ramankur Sharma et al., Quasi-immiscible spreading of aqueous surfactant solutions on entangled aqueous polymer solution subphasesACS Appl. Mater. Interf. 5, 5542 (2013) 

Ramankur Sharma et al., Autophobing on liquid subphases driven by the interfacial transport of amphiphilic moleculesLangmuir 28, 15212 (2012)

Rory T. Cerbus et al., Local heating at convection fronts and moving contact lines on hygroscopic fluidsColl. Surf. A 393, 42 (2012)

Satyajeet Ojha et al., Impact of polymer graft characteristics and evaporation rate on the formation of 2-D nanoparticle assembliesLangmuir 26, 13210 (2010)

More Publications:
ORCID  Researcher ID