Michael Rubner

TDK Professor Emeritus of Polymer Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Center for Materials Science and Engineering
Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow
BS Chemistry, University of Lowell, 1982
PhD Polymer Science, MIT, 1986


  • Biotechnology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Polymers


The research of Professor Rubner's group is focussed on the design, fabrication and properties of ultra-thin films of polymers for electrical, optical, and biomaterial applications. Much of this research utilizes a new, molecular-level layer-by-layer processing technique that makes it possible to fabricate complex thin film heterostructures with a wide range of properties.

Properties and applications of current interest include anti-fogging coatings, anti-reflection coatings, photonic band-gap reflectors, bio-inert coatings, bio-specific coatings, ink-jet and micro-contact printed patterned thin films, micro- and nanoporous thin films, structural color and patterned biosensors.

Fundamental studies are aimed at understanding hydrogen bonding and electrostatic multilayer assembly, interactions of cells and bacteria with surfaces, and mechanisms controlling the wetting of surfaces with water.

Robert H. Richards, class of 1868, established MIT’s Alumni Association. He was also Course III’s first department head.