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James Alexander Liddle (Fed)

J. Alexander Liddle is Scientific Director of the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Division.  He received his B.A. and D. Phil. degrees in Materials Science from the University of Oxford. After his appointment in 1990 as a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories, he spent the next decade there, where his primary efforts were directed towards the research, development, and eventual commercialization of a novel electron-beam lithography technology.  He then spent four years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Center for X-ray Optics, and then as Lead Scientist of the Nanofabrication Facility in the Molecular Foundry.  

At NIST, his division works in a variety of areas, ranging from quantum nanophotonics to biology.  His personal research focus is on nanofabrication and self-assembly for nanomanufacturing.  He has published over 275 papers, in areas ranging from electron-beam lithography to DNA-controlled nanoparticle assembly and holds 19 US patents.  He is a fellow of the APS and the Washington Academy of Sciences, and a member of the AVS and MRS.  He has served on numerous advisory and program evaluation committees, including those for NSF, DOE, and the Semiconductor Research Corporation, and is a member of the program committees of several advanced patterning technology conferences.

Selected Programs/Projects

  • Thermodynamic effect of DNA scaffold topology on DNA origami folds
  • DNA Origami for Manufacturing Precise Nanoscale Structures
  • Fluorescence lifetime measurements of water uptake in nanocomposite interphase
  • Calibration and metrology methods for single-molecule, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy lifetime measurements 
  • Development of an In Situ Liquid Cell for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Selected Publications


AVS-Nanoscience and Technology Division Nanotechnology Recognition Award, 2022; Fellow Washington Academy of Sciences, 2017; APS Fellow, 2012; MNE best poster award, 2009; LBNL outstanding performance award, 2005; SRC Outstanding Industrial Mentor Award, 1998


Patents (2018-Present)

Drawings describing the technology within patent 10,639,634

Vacuum Compatible Fluid Sampler

NIST Inventors
James Alexander Liddle , Samuel M. Stavis and Glenn Holland
Patent Description This invention is a complete system comprising a novel chip and chip holder that enables routine, high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of samples in liquids and high-pressure gases in the transmission electron microscope (TEM). The system overcomes limitations in liquid-layer
an image showing several different charts and figures that is titled "High-Resolution imaging and spectroscopy at High Pressure: A Novel Liquid Cell for the TEM"

Vacuum Compatible Fluid Sampler

NIST Inventors
Glenn Holland , Samuel M. Stavis and James Alexander Liddle
Patent Description The transmission electron microscope (TEM), with its ability to deliver atomic-scale spatial, and < 100 meV spectroscopic resolution, has enabled countless breakthroughs in materials science. From the early days of TEM development, researchers have sought to use the power of this
Image of Resonators fabricated into a micro-electro-mechanical Systems devices as built-in motion testers

Localized gap plasmon resonator

NIST Inventors
James Alexander Liddle and Vladimir Aksyuk
Patent Description This invention is a motion sensor, and the unique fabrication process required to build the sensor, that uses the strong sensitivity of plasmonic modes to geometrical parameters (e.g. gap size). The measurement technique is experimentally validated by detecting thermal motion of a
Created July 30, 2019, Updated December 8, 2022