Thomas E. Furtak
- Professor and Head
- Department of Physics
- Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401
Summary of Research Interests
Many advanced technologies, such as direct energy production through solar cells, chemical processing by catalysis, and nanofabrication using self-assembled systems are currently limited by the properties and behavior of interfaces. Many of these boundaries involve thin films or "buried" surfaces. It's possible to gather information about chemical and molecular identities, as well as material geometry and bonding configurations at these very thin regions by exploiting special techniques involving light.
We are using spectroscopic ellipsometry, infrared polarization modulation spectroscopy, and optical sum-frequency generation to study interfaces in a range of problems. Most of the projects involve collaborations with other members of the faculty at Mines and at the University of Colorado, as well as with scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and at ITN Energy Systems, Inc. All of the research is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing from condensed matter physics, chemistry, and materials science.
I am interested in developing teaching strategies that exploit current insights about how people learn. My teaching philosophy is centered on active-engagement methods that rely on negotiated understanding through social interactions among students.
- "Hybrid plasmon/dielectric waveguide for integrated silicon-on-insulator optical elements" P. D. Flammer, J. M. Banks, T. E. Furtak, C. G. Durfee, R. E. Hollingsworth, and R. T. Collins, Optics Express 18, 21013-21023 (2010).
- "Peer-Tutoring in Web-based ConcepTests", T. E. Furtak, J. C. Dunlap, T. G. Ruskell, S. A. Tucker, and R. Ivatt", The Physics Teacher 48, 39-41 (2010).
- "High-Sensitivity Aminoazobenzene Chemisorbed Monolayers for Photoalignment of Liquid Crystals", Y. Yi, M. J. Farrow, E. Korblova, D. M. Walba, T. E. Furtak, Langmuir 25, 1997-1003 (2009).
- "Designing for Enhanced Conceptual Understanding in an Online Physics Course", J. C. Dunlap, T. E. Furtak, and S. A. Tucker, Tech Trends 53, 67-73 (2009).
- "Liquid Crystal Anchoring Transformations Induced by Phase Transitions of a Photoisomerizable Surfactant at the Nematic/Aqueous Interface", A. D. Price, J. Igns-Mullol, T. E. Furtak, Yu-an Lo, S. M. Malone, and D. K. Schwartz, Soft Matter 5, 2252-2260 (2009).
- "Surface Modification of ZnO Using Triethoxysilane-Based Molecules", C. G. Allen, D. J. Baker, J. M. Albin, H. E. Oertli, D. T. Gillaspie, D. C. Olson, T. E. Furtak, and R. T. Collins, Langmuir 24, 13393-13398 (2008).
- "Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor-Compatible Ultra-Long-Range Surface Plasmon Modes", C. G. Durfee, T. E. Furtak, R. T. Collins, and R. E. Hollingsworth, Journal of Applied Physics 103, 113106 (2008).