Department of Physics

Rich Louie

Chair and Professor of Physics

Rieke Science Center - Room 255
  • Professional
  • Personal

Additional Titles/Roles


  • Ph.D., Applied and Engineering Physics; Dissertation title: "Point Contact Spectroscopy With Nanofabricated Junctions Of Spin And Energy-Dependent Transport In Heterogeneous Ferromagnetic Systems." Advisor: Professor R. A. Buhrman., Cornell University
  • M.S., Physics, Cornell University
  • A.B., magna cum laude, Physics, Harvard University

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Thin film deposition
  • Nanofabrication
  • Vacuum techniques

Selected Presentations

  • Society for Experimental Mechanics Annual Conference (theme: Measurements in Advanced Materials and Systems), Nanomanipulation and Lithography for Carbon Nanotube Based Nondestructive Evaluation Sensor Development - Buzz Wincheski, Jan Smits, Min Namkung, Joanne Ingram, Neal Watkins, Jeffrey D. Jordan and Richard Louie. Presented by Buzz Wincheski., Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (2002)
  • 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Best Research Presentation Competition, Nanomanipulation and Lithography: The Building (and Modeling) of Carbon Nanotube Magnetic Tunnel Junctions, Hampton, VA (2001)
  • 2001 Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, Development of Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) Inspection System for Detection of Deep Fatigue Cracks under Airframe Fasteners. Russell Wincheski, Min Namkung, Dan Perey, John Simpson, Ed Scales and Richard Louie. Presented by Russell Wincheski., Brunswick, ME (2001)
  • Materials Research Society Spring Meeting, Nanocontact Measurements of Electron Spin Filtering and Spin Transport. S.K. Upadhyay, P. Chalsami, R.N. Louie and R.A. Buhrman. Presented by S.K. Upadhyay., San Francisco, CA (1999)

Selected Articles

  • "Fast Electronic Switching of Ultrathin Films of Phase - Change Materials Renders Nonvolatile Color Changes." Materials Research Society Bulletin Vol. 39, Number 9, 2014: 760-761.
  • "Porous Graphene Sieve Selectively Passes Molecules." Materials Research Society Bulletin Vol. 38, Number 1, 2013: 6-7.
  • "Nanomechanical Mass Sensor Boasts Yoctogram Resolution." Materials Research Society Bulletin Vol. 37, Number 6, 2012: 543.
  • "Hydrogen at Room Temperature is Squeezed to Become a Metal." Materials Research Society Bulletin Vol. 37, Number 2, 2012: 104-105.
  • "Friction Depends on Thickness and Adherence of Atomically Thin Layers." Materials Research Society Bulletin Vol. 35, Number 6, 2010: 411-412.


  • Diversity Advocate Award (from PLU Diversity Center), 2004
  • Winner, American Society for Engineering Education Best Research Presentation Competition, NASA Langley Research Center, 2001
  • Center for Teaching and Learning Faculty Teaching Award, 2000
  • Cornell University Clark Teaching Award, 1992
  • Department of Education Fellowship, 1992-1994

Professional Memberships/Organizations


My research interests are plasma etching issues, carbon nanotubes and scanning probe microscopy. I have published papers from postdoctoral work at NASA Langley and the University of Washington. I am also the lead faculty consultant (physics) with an educational software company, Kinetic Books/Perfection Learning.

My previous research includes the following projects:

  • NASA Langley Research Center: carbon nanotube conduction and their use in a magnetic tunnel junction.
  • NF3-etched GaAs using XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) in collaboration with Professor Fumio Ohuchi in the Department of Materials Science at the University of Washington. Related the electrical and structural damage in materials – such as silicon and gallium arsenide – to their Raman spectra, which are obtained by laser light scattering measurements. The Raman measurements tell us something about the mean free path for phonons (excitations in the lattice with quantized energies), which in turn tell us about the defect density.
  • Atomic force microscopy in collaboration with the late Professor Sam Fain in the Department of Physics at the University of Washington. Using PLU’s scanning electron microscope, I obtained a micrograph of an atomic force microscope tip to which I had attached a carbon nanotube. We successfully imaged a hard silicon grid with it, but it did not out-perform conventional tips in imaging DNA.