Picture of Christopher Kemper Ober

Christopher Kemper Ober

Francis Norwood Bard Professor of Metallurgical Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Bard Hall, Room 310


Christopher Kemper Ober is the Francis Bard Professor of Materials Engineering at Cornell University. After several years in industry at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, Ober arrived to Cornell as an Assistant Professor in 1986. His research is focused on lithography, patterning, the biology materials interface and control of surface structure in thin films. As a reflection of his contributions to lithography, Ober in 2015 was honored with the Photopolymer Science & Technology Outstanding Contribution Award. He is the 2006 winner of the American Chemical Society Award in Applied Polymer Science, and received a Humboldt Research Prize in 2007. In 2009, Ober was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and was awarded the Gutenberg Research Prize by the University of Mainz. Ober served as Interim Dean of Engineering 2009 - 2010. In 2014 he was a JSPS Fellow in Japan. More recently he was elected a fellow of APS (2014) and AAAS (2015).

Research Interests

The ability to tailor the chemical structure of materials provides the ability to exquisitely control materials properties. Polymers, more than any other material, offer this possibility to fine-tune their thermal, optical and electrical properties through precise changes to molecular structure. Polymers are also the basis of the nanotechnology revolution, serving as photoresists used to create nanometer scale structures. Our research is therefore focused in three areas: fundamental studies of self-organization in polymers, lithographic materials for microelectronics and biotechnology and new environmentally and biologically friendly materials. Each of these topics involves creative polymer synthesis using state-of-the-art facilities and methods as well as advanced characterization tools, most of which are located here at Cornell University. The research group, consisting of a mixture of graduate students and post-doctoral associates, takes part in highly collaborative research with leading groups at Cornell and around the world.

Research Projects Environmentally friendly, fouling resistant surfaces (ONR)
-Polymer brushes and interface engineering (NSF)
-Nanoparticle photoresists for high resolution, next generation lithography (JSR)
-Polyelectrolyte brushes in nanoconfinement (NSF)
-Vanishing electronics (DARPA/Honeywell)
-Fundamental studies of Laser spike processing (SRC)
-Sequence controlled polymers (ACS/PRF)

Selected Publications

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Polymer Lecturer (Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS) 2015
  • Student selected polymer speaker (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN) 2015
  • The Photopolymer Science and Technology Outstanding Achievement Award (The Society of Photopolymer Science and Technology - SPST) 2015
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2015
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society 2014


  • BSc (Chemistry), University of Waterloo, 1978
  • MS (Polymer Science & Engineering), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1980
  • Ph D (Polymer Science & Engineering), University of Massachusetts- Amherst, 1982