Tom Furtak

Thomas E. Furtak

  • University Professor Emeritus
  • 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 Raman scattering 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.

Recent Publications