Prof. Christopher K. Ober

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

Christopher Kemper Ober is a unique person, who combines excellence in science with excellence in service to the scientific community. His research is focused on lithography, patterning and the biology materials interface. As a reflection of his contributions to lithography, Ober was honored in 2004 with the Photopolymer Science & Technology Award and was the 2006 winner of the American Chemical Society Award in Applied Polymer Science. In addition he received a Humboldt Research Prize in 2007.

Concerning service to the scientific community he is an Associate Editor of Macromolecules and the President of the IUPAC Polymer Division. In 2009 Ober became Interim Dean of Engineering.

The control and fabrication of very small scale structures has made possible the electronics revolution and is now influencing fields ranging from biology and medicine to materials science. While there has been dramatic progress in developing photoresists that permit sub-50 nm patterning, there remain tremendous challenges in going well below that size. The self-assembly of block copolymers offer a means to resolve this impasse, but like any other resist system they have distinct limitations. We have been investigating new materials for patterning by both bottom-up self-assembly and top-down lithography. We have recently shown it is possible to control the self-assembly process by solvent annealing and have shown for the first that one can selectively pattern more than one microstructure in a single film.

Molecular glass photoresists offer another avenue to formation of small-scale structures. These materials have small molecular dimensions, yet undergo the solubility changes and etch behavior needed in a modern resist. These patternable materials can also be processed in environmentally friendly, non-polar solvents to enable orthogonal processing of organic semiconductors. These techniques will enable the creation of arbitrarily shaped devices that to date have been impossible to fabricate.

Examples of patterned structures used for the study of cell-surface interactions, sensors, light emitting devices and energy harvesting systems will be given.

Ober GRA 2009

left to right: G. Krausch, C. K. Ober, C. Felser

Ober Lecture

Gutenberg Research Award 2009 Lecture of Prof. C. K. Ober


Ober (3rd from left) and his "Mainzelmännchen" (Exchange students of Mainz-Cornell) and Prof. Rudolf Zentel (4th from left)

Photos: Mark Bajohrs

Press Release in German (PDF, 36KB)

Invitation (PDF, 175KB)

TV report on Gutenberg Research Award Ceremony 2009 (in German) of K3 Kulturkanal