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Dr.Elisabeth Mansfield


Dr. Mansfield received her B.S. in chemistry from Colorado State University (2002), and her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Arizona (2007).  She joined NIST as a contractor in 2007, the received the National Research Council postdoctoral associate at NIST in 2008 and was appointed to the staff in 2010.  She has done research on thermogravimetric analysis of materials, including the development of a microscale-thermogravimetric instrument.  She has also done research on the characterization of bio-interfaces and nanomaterials using quartz crystal microbalances.  She has been active in standards development including ISO, ASTM and NIST Reference Materials.  In her research areas, she has published over 20 papers.  She has also been active in the local section of the American Chemical Society.  In her spare time Dr. Mansfield likes to do wheel pottery, quilting and riding mountain bikes.  She is also interested in cooking, making at least one new recipe per week.

Google Scholar Citation Page

Research Interests:

Microscale and Conventional Thermal Analysis

Dr. Mansfield has worked on the development of a microscale thermogravimetric analyzer (micro-TGA) since she began at NIST in 2007.  Microscale-TGA is based on piezoelectric materials, which can be used to determine the mass of a sample on the order of a microgram.  The initial work in this area was based on cycling the piezoelectric microbalances in a furnace.  This work was published in Analytical Chemistry, along with supporting publications on nanomaterial analysis in conventional TGA systems.  After successful measurements, Dr. Mansfield began work towards characterization of nanoparticle surface coatings using microscale TGA.  Simultaneously, development of the instrumentation to include continuous measurements in a tube furnace, as well as continuous measurements where the heater is built into the piezoelectric have been pursued.  A good summary of this work can be found in the following SPIE Newsroom article: 

E. Mansfield, T. Quinn "Microscale thermogravimetric analysis for determining nanoparticle purity and surface coverage" SPIE Newsroom, 2011, doi: 10.1117/2.1201102.003528.

Dr. Mansfield also has a strong interest in characterization of materials using TGA.  She has participated in international round robin evaluations of nanomaterial reference materials, as well as providing certifying measurements for the single-wall carbon nanotube NIST Standard Reference Material.  Along with extensive carbon nanotube characterization, she has characterized biochar as part of a partnership with the University of Colorado- Boulder's Environmental Engineering Department, nanoparticle composites with Kansas State University and cellulose materials for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  Dr. Mansfield serves on the ASTM Committee on Thermal Analysis (E37) as second vice chair of the committee and chair of the Reference material subcommittee.

Biointerface and Nanomaterial Surface Analysis:

Characterization of the interaction between biological materials and their environment has always been an interest of Dr. Mansfield's.  Her graduate research examined the interactions between phospholipids and surfaces, along with understanding complex biological binding events for analyte detection.  At NIST, this research has focused on understanding the interactions between materials and biological environments.  To accomplish this, Dr. Mansfield has studied nanomaterials in tissue engineering scaffolds to evaluate nanotoxicity in a pseudo-in vivo environment.  She has also studied nanoparticle uptake in mammalian cells, silver nanoparticle interactions with E.coli, and microbiologically influenced corrosion of pipeline materials using quartz crystal microbalances.  This work has been extended into the characterization of enzymes for biomass conversion with collaborators at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

Microbiologically influenced corrosion

Dr. Mansfield is part of an interdisciplinary team at NIST studying microbiologically influenced corrosion in alternative fuel environments.  This team is working to develop laboratory-based corrosion measurement methodologies to generate quantitative models of corrosion and damage accumulation in alternative fuel systems with microbial activity.  Early detection and intervention strategies for microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) will result from characterization of corrosion phenomena at the microscale, where bacteria are active. Dr. Mansfield is using quartz crystal microbalances (QCM), microbiological characterization tools, and optical/fluorescence microscopy are used to characterize key aspects of MIC that present potential intervention and mitigation targets. Organisms from ethanol fuel environments, including acid producers, sulfate reducers and iron oxidizers are the primary microbes under investigation at NIST.  Their impact on materials, such as those used in manufacturing, storage and transport of alternative fuels, are being evaluated.  Through this development, intervention and prevention strategies can be developed.


Awards and Honors: 

Department of Commerce Bronze Medal; citation: "for extending thermogravimetric analysis to the microscale, enabling characterization of nanoparticles, their coatings and purity", 2013

University of Arizona Foundation Award,  Meritorious Performance in Teaching, College of Science, University of Arizona, 2005

Pfizer Graduate Travel Award, ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry, ACS Fall National Meeting, Washington D.C., 2005


Postdoctoral Researcher, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO, 2007-2010

NSF Fellowship to attend "From Nanoparticles to Nanocomposites: Processing, Performance and Toxicity" University of Massachusetts-Lowell, 2009

Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 2007 (Dissertation: Cross-linked phospholipid coatings in micron-sized channels for spatially discrete bioassays and protein separations, with Dr. Craig Aspinwall)

NSF Fellowship, David F. O'Brien Fellowship, University of Arizona, 2006

B.S. Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 2002

Professional Service:

ASTM E37 Committee on Thermal Analysis, 2011
  Lead of subcommittee on Reference Materials, 2012

ISO TC 229 on Nanoparticles 2010
  Technical expert in JWG1 and JWG2 projects.

Chair, Colorado Section of the American Chemical Society, 2011

Professional member of ACS, SAMPE, NACE, ASTM


Applied Chemicals and Materials Division
325 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80303-3337

phone: 303-497-6405
fax: 303-497-6682