Dr. Stephanie S. Watson is the leader of the Polymeric Materials Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Watson is a Surface Analytical Chemist. In her research program in the Polymeric Materials Group of the Materials and Construction Research Division, she studies the surface characterization of metal oxide powders used in pigmentary and nanoparticle applications (coatings, polymer systems, and photocatalysts). Information obtained in this program is used to study the reactivity, both photocatalytic and thermal, of these oxides in different media. Traditional methods of physicochemical measurements to determine the composition, structure, and morphology (surface area, gas chemisorption, zeta potential, XRD, XRF, and microscopy) are combined with more advanced techniques of surface chemistry (electron emission spectroscopies [XPS and AES], vibrational and magnetic resonance spectroscopies [FTIR, Raman, EPR, and NMR], and ion scattering techniques [ISS and SIMS]).
This research originally fell under the traditional Service Life Prediction programmatic initiative in the Polymeric Materials Group, but has expanded to cover topics in Nanotechnology and Sustainability, such as chem-bio remediation (air and water), transparent self-cleaning surfaces, and dispersion of nanoparticles to improve properties (durability and mechanical) of polymer composites. She oversees the operation of a Bruker EPR for free-radical studies during in-situ UV irradiation on TiO2 and related polymer materials. She also co-manages the analytical laboratory in Polymeric Materials Group.
Dr. Watson's professional experience prior to joining NIST in 2002 as a Research Chemist includes employment at Millennium Chemicals, Inc., in Baltimore, MD, 1998-2002 as a Senior Scientist. She received a B.A. in Chemistry from The College of Wooster in Wooster, OH and obtained a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry under Dr. David Hercules at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Watson's graduate research consisted of surface characterization and reactivity of Cr/Al2O3 catalysts. Many analytical techniques (i.e., Raman spectroscopy, FT-IR spectroscopy, and ion scattering spectroscopy) were utilized with an emphasis on X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). As a post-graduate researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy at Federal Energy Technology Center in Pittsburgh, she studied methods to utilize CO2 emitted from coal-fired power plants using micro-algae. Before working for Millennium, she completed a post-doctorial appointment with Dr. Julia Fulghum at Kent State University in Kent, OH, where she tested instrument performance and applications of a Kratos AXIS Ultra XPS with an emphasis on small-area analysis and imaging of polymers and composites.
Dr. Watson is a member of the American Chemical Society and a councilor in the Maryland Chapter, and a member of Sigma Xi.