Awardee Interviews | Biography: Paul W. Palmberg

Paul W. Palmberg

PALMBERG.JPGPaul W. Palmberg received his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering in 1959 from the University of Minnesota. He continued his education there, and received both his Master's and Doctorate in Electrical Engineering in 1961, and 1965, respectively.

From 1965 to 1967 he was a Research Associate in the Engineering Physics Department at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. In 1967 he joined the Science Center of North American Rockwell as an MTS (member of the technical staff). He left the Science Center in 1970 to become one of the founders and Director of Research and Development for Physical Electronics Industries in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He assumed the position of General Manager of the Surface Science business unit in 1985, and became General Manager of the Physical Electronics Division of Perkin-Elmer Corporation in 1987. In 1994 Physical Electronics' management and Chemical Venture Partners formed a LBO and divested from Perkin-Elmer. Dr. Palmberg became President and Chief Executive Officer of the new independent company. He retired from Physical Electronics in 1994.

Dr. Palmberg's doctorate research was on LEED and secondary electron emission studies of clean Ge (111) and Na-covered Ge (111) surfaces. At Cornell he studied epitaxial growth of various fcc metals on vacuum cleaved KCl and MgO surfaces and identified the role of electron beam radiation damage in nucleation of thin metal films. He also established that the surface atomic structure of the clean Au (100) surface is not a simple termination of the bulk structure.

Dr. Palmberg's role in the development of Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) began at Cornell with the conversion of a commercial LEED apparatus into an Auger spectrometer. He continued his work with the AES technique at North American Rockwell's Science Center, where he designed and constructed a four-grid LEED/AES instrument with improved energy resolution and invented the cylindrical mirror analyzer (CMA) for measuring the energy of ejected Auger electrons.

At the Science Center, he made numerous contributions to fundamental surface science. He carried out a novel study in which coherent exchange scattering of electrons was directly observed by LEED from antiferromagnetic NiO.

While at Physical Electronics, Dr. Palmberg spearheaded the development of AES into an important industrial analytical technique. He invented and developed the double pass CMA (Cylindrical Mirror Analyzer) for the first combined AES/ESCA instrument. He developed the first coaxial gun CMA and was the first to demonstrate that AES could be effectively combined with inert gas sputtering to produce elemental, in-depth composition profiles. He also played a key role in the development of AES applications in metallurgy, materials science and semiconductor technology, and wrote the first AES handbook.

Dr. Palmberg has 9 U.S. patents and has published 46 papers. He received the following awards: IR-I00 Award for Development of Cylindrical Auger Electron Optics Systems (1970), IR-100 Award for Model 15-250 Precision Electron Energy Analyzer (1972), IR-100 Award for Development of the Quantum 2000 Scanning ESCA Microprobe (1995). He is a member of the American Physical Society and the American Vacuum Society. He was President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Vacuum Society (1972) and the Board of Directors of the Minnesota High Technology Council. He is also a member of the following Engineering Honorary Societies: Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

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