Robert Westervelt received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977. Following a postdoctoral appointment at Berkeley, he moved to Harvard University, where he is currently Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics & Physics, and Professor of Physics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Westervelt's group investigates the quantum behavior of electrons inside nanoscale semiconductor structures, and develops tools for the manipulation of biological systems.
In mesoscopic physics, the group has developed liquid-helium cooled scanning probe microscopes that can image electron motion through nanoscale devices. They visualized the flow of electron waves through a two-dimensional electron gas (Topinka et al. 2003) and observed diffraction patterns and coherent interference (LeRoy et al. 2005), as well as cyclotron orbits in a magnetic field (Aidala et al. 2007). They have used the conducting tip as a movable gate to control a one-electron quantum dot formed in a semiconductor nanowire (Bleszynski et al. 2008) and a GaAs heterostructure (Fallahi et al. 2005). In related research, they have developed tunnel-coupled quantum dots and studied their behavior as artificial molecules (Livermore et al. 2006, Vidan et al. 2006) and tested Josephson junctions formed in Ge/Si nanowires (Xiang et al. 2006).
On the biophysics side, Westervelt's group has developed hybrid Integrated Circuit / Microfluidic chips that combine the power of CMOS technology with the biocompatibility of microfluidics (Lee, Ham & Westervelt, 2007, Hunt et al. 2008). These devices act as programmable microfluidic systems that can trap, move, sort, and assemble biological cells and small particles in fluids.
Robert Westervelt is Director of the NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Science of Nanoscale Systems and their Device Applications, which is basedat Harvard University and includes participants at MIT, UC Santa Barbara and the Museum of Science, Boston. Previously Westervelt served as Director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and as Co-Director of the Joint Services Electronics Program, both at Harvard.
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