The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Stephen S. Nonnenmann

Associate Professor

My research interests combine materials science, surface science, electrochemistry, and nanomechanics approaches to answer the question: “What mechanisms drive transduction and transport across interfaces under realistic operation conditions?” Material structure dictates functionality and significantly influences the performance of many device applications involving electrodes and active surfaces. I impact this field by identifying the environmental factors inducing / limiting materials functionality and then pioneering advanced microscopy approaches to directly observe interfacial phenomena in situ, yield key parameters, and inform materials theory and synthesis. I fully expect to leverage our unique local probes to address challenges at dissimilar materials interfaces that affect energy, electronic, and bio technologies.

Current Research

The Nonnenmann Lab leads a multi-faceted, creative, dynamic research program that determine nanoscale structure ↔ property relationships within functional materials that inform energy, electronic, and biological application designs. Our unique research approach targets local heterogeneous stimulus-response cycles of materials under extreme environmental perturbation in situ, or “in position” / “real-time”.

We bridge the gap between experimental and theoretical studies to enable the observation and manipulation of physiochemical phenomena within functional materials under actual environmental conditions by pioneering advanced scanning probe microscopy (SPM) that:
• address defect-mediated electroactivity across electrode-electrolyte interfaces;
• study resistive switching mechanisms within confined geometries;
• clarify the local nanomechanical and nanoelectronic response of soft biopolymers. 

Learn more at

T.D. Ueki, D.J.F. Walker, P.-L. Tremblay, K.P. Nevin, J.E. Ward, T.L. Woodard,S.S. Nonnenmann, D.R. Lovley, “Decorating the Outer Surface of Microbially Produced Protein Nanowires with Peptides”, ACS Synthetic Biology 8 1809-1817 (2019).
J. Wang, L. Li, H. Huyan, X. Pan, S.S. Nonnenmann, “Highly Uniform Resistive Switching in HfO2 Films Embedded with Ordered Metal Nanoisland Arrays”, Advanced Functional Materials 29 1808430 (2019).
D.J.F. Walker, E. Martz, D.E Holmes, Z. Zhou, S.S Nonnenmann, D.R Lovley, “The Archaellum of Methanospirillum hungatei is Electrically Conductive”, mBio 10 e00579-19 (2019).
J. Zhu, J.-W. Lee, H. Lee, L. Xie, X. Pan, R.A. De Souza, C.-B. Eom, S.S. Nonnenmann,“Probing Vacancy Behavior In Heterostructured Complex Oxide Films”, Science Advances 2 eaau8467 (2019).
Y.-L. Sun, H.-Y. Tang, A. Ribbe, V. Duzhko, T.L. Woodard. J.E. Ward, Y. Bai, K.P. Nevin, S.S. Nonnenmann, T. Russell, T. Emrick, D.R. Lovley, “Conductive Composite Materials Fabricated from Microbially Produced Protein Nanowires”, Small 1802624 (2018).
Z. Zhang, D. Schwanz, B. Narayanan, M. Kotiuga, J.A. Dura, M. Cherukara, H. Zhou, J.W. Freeland, J. Li, R. Sutarto, F. He, C. Wu, J. Zhu, Y. Sun, K. Ramadoss, S.S. Nonnenmann, N. Yu, R. Comin, K.M. Rabe, S.K.R.S. Sankaranarayanan, S. Ramanathan, “Perovskite Nickelates as Electric-Field Sensors in Salt Water”, Nature 553 68-72 (2018).
Contact Info

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Engineering Laboratory 208E
160 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

(413) 545-4051