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James Alexander Liddle

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


DNA Origami Design: A How-To Tutorial

Jacob M. Majikes, James A. Liddle
While the design and assembly of DNA origami are straightforward, its relative novelty as a nanofabrication technique means that the tools and methods for

Revealing thermodynamics of DNA origami folding via affine transformations

Jacob M. Majikes, Paul N. Patrone, Daniel R. Schiffels, Michael P. Zwolak, Anthony J. Kearsley, Samuel P. Forry, James A. Liddle
Structural DNA nanotechnology, as exemplified by DNA origami, has enabled the design and construction of molecularly precise objects for a myriad of
Created July 30, 2019, Updated August 13, 2020