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Dr. Daniel Fischer

Research Interests

Developing and exploiting new experimental methods, detectors, and physics approaches in synchrotron materials science to study the structure and chemical nature of diverse materials, in partnership with Industry, National Labs, and University researchers. In particular for soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy developing specialized electron and fluorescence yield detectors; emphasizing imaging and high-throughput to measure structure and chemistry: (1) on the scale ranging from atomic to tens of nanometers, particularly for low concentrations of materials; (2) at the surface of individual nanoscale entities such as nanotubes and nanoparticles; (3) at specific locations; e.g., an interface in a multilayer device; and (4) under relevant conditions, e.g., temperature and pressure, that the material will be subjected to in use. Materials currently under investigation include organic and inorganic electronics, model catalyst systems, polymer surfaces and their interfaces, hard disk lubricant chemistry, self-assembled monolayers, and high temperature superconductors.


Figure 1(left): Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure was used to investigate the chemical bonding mechanism of a Ti oil additive (10 ppm) with the metal surface of actual rocker arms from the engine tests. Results enable us to postulate that Ti provides anti-wear enhancement through the formation of FeTiO3 on the engine surface.

Fischer_Fig Fischer_Fig

Figure 2(left): Focusing multi-layer wavelength dispersive carbon fluorescence detector for nearly background free soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy of insitu reaction intermediates inside working catalysts.; Figure 3(right): Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure was used to establish structure (molecular orientation, chemistry, and coverage) function (carrier mobility) in organic semiconductors as a function of thermal processing for rational material optimization.

Postdoctoral Research Opportunities in My Group:

We have developed synchrotron based spectroscopy methods to enable the development and optimization of materials for microelectronics, catalysis, homeland security, and energy. Materials that can be investigated include monolayers to bulk materials of all classes. Examples of ongoing measurement studies include (1) structure function relationships in organic semiconductors and photovoltaics, (2) development of full field large area imaging for soft x-ray absorption, (3) chemistry and bonding at semiconductor oxide interfaces, (4) dopant activation, (5) high-k gate dielectrics; and (6) phase change materials. Such measurement studies offer the opportunity to develop and utilize world class x-ray instrumentation and detectors.

Awards and Honors

  • User Executive Committee, Chair, Vice-chair, and Member, National Synchrotron Light Source, 2001-present
  • Editorial Board Member- Review of Scientific Instruments, 2005-present
  • Arthur S. Fleming Award (Scientific Category), 2005
  • Gold Medal Award, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 2004
  • Bronze Medal Award, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1998
  • Bronze Medal Award, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1994


Supervisory Physicist
Materials Measurement Science Division
Synchrotron Methods Group

Employment History:

2003-present: Group Leader, Synchrotron Methods, Ceramics Division, NIST
1991-2003: Physicist, Ceramics Division, NIST
1984-1991: Physicist, Exxon Research and Engineering Company
1984: Postdoctoral Research Associate, CUNY


Ph.D., Physics, Stony Brook University, 1984
M.S., Physics, Stony Brook University, 1979
B.S., Physics, Stony Brook University, 1977


Phone: (301) 975-5972
Fax: (301) 975-5334