WRITER: Billy Huntsman
The head of New Mexico State University’s physics department was recently named a fellow of a prestigious interdisciplinary applied science society.
Stefan Zollner, a physics professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, is being recognized by AVS (American Vacuum Society) Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing for his outstanding scientific and technical contributions over the past 10 years.
Zollner’s advances have been in materials characterization in academia and industry using spectroscopic ellipsometry and X-ray scattering, and for the determination of optical functions of materials.
“My research is based on the study of thin films for various applications,” Zollner said.
Prior to coming to NMSU in 2010, Zollner worked as an integration engineer for Motorola, Freescale Semiconductor Inc., and IBM.
“My job was to produce semiconductor devices integrating thin films of several different materials for use in a computer or a cell phone,” Zollner said.
As an integration engineer, Zollner studied the characterization and measurements of various types of films—metallic, insulating, oxides, semiconductors—for use in microelectronic devices.
For the advancement, application, and, in some instances, introduction of some of these methods to the semiconductor industry, Zollner was nominated for and awarded a fellowship in the AVS.
“It’s wonderful to receive this kind of recognition from your peers that you have made significant accomplishments,” Zollner said. “With recognition probably comes a better chance of getting research funding for the department and the students. And it gives our students confidence that our department is led by a leader in the physics and applied science community.”
Zollner will be honored at an awards ceremony in Tampa, Florida, in November.
Zollner is the department head of the Physics Department and jointly leads the engineering physics program with the College of Engineering. It is the only engineering physics degree program offered in New Mexico.