Dr. Matthew L. Trawick
Associate Professor of Physics
I am an experimental physicist, and my research focuses broadly on physics and applications at the nanometer scale.  One particular field of interest is diblock copolymer materials, which can spontaneously self-assemble into periodic structures of cylinders or spheres that are on the order of 10 nanometers across. I use these systems as a laboratory for nanoscale physics, studying how periodic patterns are formed and develop with time, a question central to condensed matter physics and materials science. These materials are also important for applications in nanotechnology, and I am interested in using the patterns they generate as templates for nanoscale lithography, which could help make the next generation of computer chips and storage devices.  A second, more recent area of interest is the formation of “black silicon,” silicon in which the surface has acquired extreme nanoscale roughness from a plasma etching process, leading to extremely low optical reflectivity.  Black silicon also has several potential applications, including possibly use in high efficiency solar panels.
The main tool for my work is microscopy.  My laboratory here at Richmond includes a state of the art Asylum Research MPF-3D atomic force microscope, or “AFM.”  I also use scanning electron microscopy (SEM) as well as focused ion beam (FIB) tomography.  A large part of my research program is dedicated to developing new microscopy techniques using these instruments.  I have developed new techniques using computational methods to remove artifacts due to positional drift from AFM images.  I have also developed algorithms and software for creating 3D models from SEM and FIB data.
Grants and Fellowships
“RUI: Single molecule metrology in scanning probe microscopy through correction of fast time scale positional errors,” $140,201, National Science Foundation. (2012-2015)
Supplemental sabbatical support, €14,200 (~$20,000), from TESEER project (Fondation d’Entreprise EADS) through ESIEE Paris, France. (2012)
“Nanometer-scale shearing and curvature-driven grain boundary migration in diblock copolymer thin films,” $37,818, Research Corporation for Science Advancement. (2007-2012)
“Nanometer-scale shearing and curvature-driven grain boundary migration in diblock copolymer thin films,” $40,000, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. (2007-2011)
Professional Experience
Visiting Researcher, ESIEE Paris, France (2011-2012)
Lecturer, Princeton University (2001-2004)
Postdoctoral fellow, Princeton University (1998-2001)

*= undergraduate student coauthor

Kaiwen Chen*, Grace E. Conway*, Gregory A. Hamilton*, Matthew L. Trawick, Michael C. Leopold, “Electropolymerized layers as selective membranes in first generation uric acid biosensors,” Journal of Applied Electrochemistry 46, pp. 603-615, 2016.

David Abi-Saab, Philippe Basset, Matthew J. Pierotti*, Matthew L. Trawick, Dan. E. Angelescu, “Static and Dynamic Aspects of Black Silicon Formation,” Physical Review Letters 113, 265502, 2014.
Nathan D. Follin*, distortion Keefer D. Taylor*, Christopher J. Musalo*, and Matthew L. Trawick, “Three-axis correction of due to positional drift in scanning probe microscopy,” Review of Scientific Instruments 83, 083711, 2012.
Morgan L. Vargo, Tran Doan, John K. Gerig, Chris P. Gulka, Matthew L. Trawick, Jonathan D. Dattelbaum and Michael C. Leopold, "Electrochemical Investigation of Azurin Thermodynamic and Adsorption Properties at Monolayer-Protected Cluster Film Assemblies-Evidence for a More Homogeneous Adsorption Interface," Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 352, No. 1, pp. 50-58, 2010.
Nathaniel T. Lawrence, Jill M. Kehoe, David B. Hoffman, Carolyn Marks, John M. Yarbrough, Gary M. Atkinson, Richard A. Register, Michael J. Fasolka, Matthew L. Trawick, "Combinatorial Mapping of Substrate Step Edge Effects on Diblock Copolymer Thin Film Morphology and Orientation," Macromolecular Rapid Communications 31, No. 11, 1003, 2010.
Brian S. Salmons, Daniel R. Katz, and Matthew L. Trawick, "Correction of distortion due to thermal drift in scanning probe microscopy," Ultramicroscopy, 110, No. 4, 339, 2010.
Morgan L. Vargo, Chris P. Gulka, John K. Gerig, Christopher M. Manieri, Jonathan D. Dattelbaum, Carolyn Marks, Nathaniel T. Lawrence, Matthew L. Trawick, and Michael C. Leopold, "Distance Dependence of Electron Transfer Kinetics for Azurin Protein Adsorbed to Monolayer Protected Nanoparticle Film Assemblies," Langmuir, 26, No. 1, 560, 2010.
Matthew L. Trawick, "Online Self Reporting of Pencil and Paper Homework," The Physics Teacher, 48, No. 2, pp. 118-120, 2010.
Cosmin Pancratov, Jacob M. Kurzer, Kelly A. Shaw, and Matthew L. Trawick, “Why Computer Architecture Matters,” Computing in Science and Engineering 10, Number 3, p. 59 (2008). (Additional parts of this three part series: Volume 10, Number 4, p. 71, and Volume 10, Number 5, p. 80.)
Matthew L. Trawick, Dan E. Angelescu, Paul M. Chaikin, and Richard A. Register, “Block copolymer nanolithography,” book chapter in Nanolithography and Patterning Techniques in Microelectronics, D. G. Bucknall, Editor, Woodhead Publishing, 2005.
D. E. Angelescu, C. K. Harrison, M. L. Trawick, R. A. Register, and P. M. Chaikin, “Two-dimensional melting transition observed in a block copolymer,” Physical Review Letters 95, 025702 (2005).  Reviewed in Nature 437, 824 (2005).
Daniel A. Vega, Christopher K. Harrison, Dan E. Angelescu, Matthew L. Trawick, David A. Huse, Paul M. Chaikin, Richard A. Register, “Ordering in two dimensional sphere-forming block copolymers,” Physical Review E 71, 061803 (2005).
C. Harrison, D. E. Angelescu, M. Trawick, Z. Cheng, D. A. Huse, P. M. Chaikin, D. A. Vega, J. M. Sebastian, R.A. Register, D. H. Adamson, “Pattern Coarsening in a 2D hexagonal system,” Europhysics Letters 67, 800 (2004).
D. E. Angelescu, C. K. Harrison, M. L. Trawick, P. M. Chaikin, R. A. Register, and D. H. Adamson, “Orientation imaging microscopy in two-dimensional crystals via undersampled microscopy,” Applied Physics A-Materials Science & Processing 78, 387-392 (2004).
Matthew L. Trawick, Dan E. Angelescu, Paul M. Chaikin, Michael J. Valenti, and Richard A. Register, “A replaceable, low thermal mass hot stage for scanning probe microscopy,” Review of Scientific Instruments 74, 1390 (2003).
Matthew L. Trawick, Mischa Megens, Christopher Harrison, Dan E. Angelescu, Daniel A. Vega, Paul M. Chaikin, Richard A. Register, and Douglas H. Adamson, “Correction for piezoelectric creep in scanning probe microscopy images using polynomial mapping,” Scanning 25, 25 (2003).

Ph.D., The Ohio State University
M.S., The Ohio State University
B.A., Oberlin College
Contact Information
(804) 289-8253
(804) 484-1542 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Condensed matter physics and materials science
Polymer materials and self assembly
Black silicon
Nanotechnology and microscopy