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About Us

The Laboratory for Surface Studies was founded in the 1960s by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and was designated a UW-System Center of Excellence by the UW System Board of Regents in 1988.  The purpose of the Laboratory is to recognize, facilitate, and encourage experimental and theoretical research by UWM scientists on the physical properties of surfaces and systems with reduced dimensionality at the nanoscale. The Laboratory functions to disseminate the results of research conducted by UWM scientists to the research community, as well as to the private sector, to sponsor local, national, and/or international forums for discussing the latest research findings, and to initiate and facilitate collaborative research among members of the Laboratory and between the Laboratory and scientists throughout the world.

At present, the membership of LSS consists of 13 faculty, experimentalists and theorists, in the College of Letter and Science and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. LSS provides technical support to members and experimental equipment is often shared among the faculty, students, and post-docs.

Traditionally, LSS hosts a Summer Symposium where students and post-docs can present their results. In addition, LSS has awarded the E. W. Müller Award, which brings prominent surface scientists to UWM for a series of lectures. The award is named for Erwin W. Müller, one of the most gifted physicists of the 20th century. Born in Berlin in 1911, his emigrated to the U.S. in 1952, and became professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Winner of numerous prestigious awards himself, Müller conceived the field emission microscope, discovered the physical effects of field desorption, field evaporation, and field ionization. His field ion microscope was for several decades the only device capable of routinely showing the individual atoms of crystalline metal surfaces. Müller died in 1977.

Year Recipient Institution
1978 M. Kaminsky Argonne National Laboratory
1979 G. Ertl Fritz-Haber-Institut
1980 J.B. Pendry Daresbury Laboratory
1981 J. Uytterhoeven Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
1982 H. Ibach KFA-Julich
1983 J.H. Van der Merwe University of Pretoria
1984 W. M:ouml;nch Universitat Duisburg
1985 E. Bauer Technische Universitat Clausthal
1987 H.P. Bonzel KFA-Julich
1988 H.P. Holloway University of Florida
1989 G.A. Somorjai University of California-Berkeley
1991 T.E. Madey Rutgers University
1996 E.D. Williams University of Maryland
2004 S.A. Chambers Pacific Northwest National Laboratory