Awards & Awardees

The AVS Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ballrooms BC within the Tampa Convention Center to be followed immediately by an Awards Reception. This year, AVS honors the following awardees:

AVS Professional Awards


The Medard W. Welch Award was established in 1969 to commemorate the pioneering efforts of M.W. Welch in founding and supporting AVS. It is presented to recognize and encourage outstanding research in the fields of interest to AVS. The award consists of a cash award, a medal, a plaque, and an honorary lectureship at a regular session of the International Symposium.

Hans-Peter Steinrück, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany “for his pioneering studies on the properties and reactivity of the surfaces of ionic liquids employing the methods of surface science”

Hans-Peter Steinrück is Full Professor for Physical Chemistry at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany, and is investigating the chemistry and physics of surfaces since more than 30 years. He studied physics at the TU Graz, Austria (PhD: 1985), was a postdoc in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, USA (1985–1986), and received his Habilitation at the TU München, Germany in 1992. After a sabbatical at Rutgers University/USA, he became Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Würzburg, Germany in 1993. In 1998, he was appointed to the prestigious Chair of Physical Chemistry II at FAU and built up an active interdisciplinary and internationally visible research group with presently 25 scientific coworkers. He is involved in numerous collaborative research projects, and is Principle Investigator in the Cluster-of-Excellence “Engineering of Advanced Materials” at the FAU (2007–2017). From 2009–2015, he was Guest Professor at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, China. In 2016, he received a very prestigious ERC Advanced Investigator Grant.

Prof. Steinrück’s track record includes more than 310 publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than 200 invited lectures at international conferences and institutions. He performs ground breaking research in the area of surface and interface science. His main interests are the development of new materials with novel electronic, geometric and chemical properties, the investigation of elementary steps of surface reactions, and the construction of advanced scientific apparatus. A large variety of experimental methods is applied, including synchrotron radiation-based photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, and molecular beam methods. He contributed to a variety of quite different fields. In the last 10 years, his focus has been on the surface and interface properties of ionic liquids, the surface chemistry of tetrapyrroles, in situ studies of surface reactions, hydrogen storage in liquid organic molecules, and chemically modified graphene layers.

Hans-Peter Steinrück is member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Academia Europaea. He is Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2015, he received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Szeged, Hungary.

Prof. Steinrück served the academic and scientific communities in multiple ways. At FAU, he was member of the Senate, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences II, and Vice-President. For the science community, he was chairman of the Surface Science Division of the German Physical Society, and member of the Scientific Advisory Committees of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the Berlin Storage Ring for Synchrotron Radiation (BESSY), and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB). He was chairman of the “German Committee for Research with Synchrotron Radiation” and member of the “German Committee for Research with Large Scale Facilities.” Since 2010, he is chairman of the Fachbeirat of the Fritz-Haber-Institute and since 2016 member of the DFG Senate Commission for Collaborative Research Centers. He also organized numerous international conferences, including the Gordon Conference “Chemical Reactions on Surfaces,” and presently is Editor of Surface Science.



The John A. Thornton Memorial Award and Lecture was established in 1989 as a memorial to Dr. John A. Thornton for his devotion to science, his singular contributions to the generation and study of thin films, his effectiveness as an educator, and his unfailing humility, which won him the uncommon esteem and affections of his colleagues. It is presented to recognize outstanding research or technological innovation in the areas of interest to AVS, with emphasis on the fields of thin films, plasma processing, and related topics. The award is conferred biennially. It consists of a cash award, a plaque, and an honorary lectureship at a regular session of the International Symposium.

Steven George, University of Colorado, “for seminal contributions to understanding, development and applications of atomic layer deposition”

Steven George, University of Colorado, “for seminal contributions to understanding, development and applications of atomic layer deposition” Steven George is a Professor of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Yale University (1977) and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley (1983). After postdoctoral research at Caltech and Exxon Research & Development, Dr. George joined the Dept. of Chemistry at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor (1984). He then moved to the Dept. of Chemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Associate Professor (1992) and subsequently as a Full Professor (1995). Dr. George received a joint appointment as Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering (2001) and then moved his joint appointment to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (2013).

Dr. George and his research group have authored more than 400 publications in the areas of thin film growth and etching, surface science and physical chemistry. These publications have been cited more than 20,000 times with an h-index of 73. He has served as research advisor for 52 Ph.D. students and 28 postdoctoral research associates. He is also an inventor on 19 issued U.S. patents and 11 pending U.S. patents. Dr. George is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1997) and the AVS (2000). He has been active in the AVS as Trustee (2007–2009), Board of Directors (2010–2012) and President (2014).  He also serves as an AVS Short Course Instructor for the one-day short course on atomic layer deposition (ALD).

Dr. George is best known for his research on the understanding, development and applications of ALD. His contributions have helped define the ALD field for more than 20 years. His initial studies of Al2O3ALD were foundational and Al2O3ALD is now the model ALD system. He also developed many ALD systems, such as W ALD, that are used by ALD scientists today. Dr. George’s studies of ALD at low temperatures opened up new applications of ALD such as ALD on polymers. He pioneered the molecular layer deposition (MLD) of hybrid organic-inorganic polymers. He also demonstrated that ALD films on polymers led to extremely effective gas diffusion barriers and ALD coatings on Li ion battery electrodes enhanced their capacity stability. His work on ALD on particles led to the creation of ALD NanoSolutions, a company co-founded by Dr. George in 2001 that is working to commercialize ALD technology. This work on ALD on particles also resulted in an R&D 100 Award for Particle-ALD™ (2004).

Dr. George has been a leader in the ALD community. He chaired the first AVS International Conference on ALD (ALD2001) and has been a key member of the ALD conference leadership. He received the ALD Innovation Awardfrom the AVS International Conference on ALD for original work and leadership in ALD (2013). His ALD research remains on the cutting edge with the recent development of electron-enhanced ALD for ALD at room temperature. Dr. George is also working on spatial ALD and MLD for scale-up applications. In addition, he has recently developed thermal atomic layer etching (ALE) which is the “reverse of ALD.” Thermal ALE uses sequential, self-limiting surface reactions to remove films with atomic layer control. Dr. George is active in the ALE community and was the co-chair of the last International ALE Workshop (ALE2017). 


The Peter Mark Memorial Award was established in 1979 in memory of Dr. Peter Mark who served as Editor of the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technologyfrom 1975 to 1979. The award is presented to a young scientist or engineer (35 years of age or under) for outstanding theoretical or experimental work, at least part of which must have been published in an AVS Journal. The award consists of a cash award, a plaque, and an honorary lectureship at a regular session of the International Symposium.
Markus Valtiner, Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany, “for advancing understanding of physical and chemical mechanisms at molecular, nano- and microscales that impact adhesion and friction at electrified interfaces and for the development of novel stimuli-responsive materials” 

Dr. Markus Valtiner is Full-Professor in the Chemistry and Physics Department at the Freiberg University for Mining and Technology in Freiberg, Germany. Markus received his Master with Distinction in Applied Chemistry from Vienna University of Technology in Austria in 2005. In 2008 he earned his Doctorate in Chemistry at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH in Düsseldorf, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Guido Grundmeier and Prof. Jörg Neugebauer. This thesis work focused on correlating theory and experiment at reactive solid|liquid interfaces of ZnO single crystals. In particular, Markus studied the dissolution mechanism of ZnO(0001) using in-situ scanning probe microscopy, and simulated ZnO surface and interface structures using ab inito thermodynamics. For his PhD thesis he received the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max-Planck Society.

After completing his PhD with highest distinctions, Markus was awarded a Marie-Curie Outgoing Fellowship by the European Union to work as a PostDoc in the group of Jacob Israelachvili at UC Santa Barbara. During this time, his research interest focused on electrochemical interfaces and together with Jacob he pioneered the development an electrochemical surface forces apparatus (SFA) with welldefined metal surfaces for probing solid/electrolyte interface structuring in electrochemical systems. During his time at UCSB Markus also became interested in biological interfaces, smart and responsive materials, as well as molecular interactions at solid/liquid interfaces. In particular, he studied interaction forces of macroscopic hydrophobic surfaces with polymer molecules, as well as mussel-protein based glues.

After completing his PostDoc in 2012, Markus started his independent career as a research group leader at the Max-Planck Institute in Düsseldorf. In 2016 he was appointed full professor for Colloid and Interface Science at the Freiberg University for Mining and Technology. Markus research interest is now focused on the broad areas of adhesion, friction, corrosion as well as interfacial forces in biologic and inorganic materials systems. In particular, he is interested in the experimental characterization and modelling of interactions of single molecules with solid surfaces in various electrolytes. He uses AFM force spectroscopy to directly probe how various single molecules bind to well-defined surfaces, and he correlates this experimental single molecule data with simulation data. This work made substantial progress towards a detailed understanding of molecular interactions and non-equilibrium processes at hydrated model interfaces, bridging UHV based surface science with colloid and interface science. His work on single molecule surface interactions earned him an ERC starting grant in 2015 and several national research grants in Germany. Markus served as a program committee member as well as organizer for numerous conferences, and as guest editor for the journal Biointerphases. He has authored or coauthored over 50 peer-reviewed publications. 


The George T. Hanyo Award was established in 1996 by the Kurt J. Lesker Company in the memory of George T. Hanyo, a highly skilled, long-time employee of the company. The award is presented to recognize outstanding performance in technical support of research or development in areas of interest to AVS. It recognizes valuable contributions made by persons outside normal professional circles. Typical nominees should have received mention in the “Acknowledgments” sections of the published papers but, with the possible exception of papers describing new apparatus or procedures, would rarely have been authors or co-authors. The award consists of a cash award and a plaque setting forth the reasons for the award.
Mark C. Reuter, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center “for designing, building, continuously improving and training users on the unique instruments that underpin the ultrahigh vacuum electron microscopy program at IBM”

Mark Reuter is an Advisory Engineer at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center providing support and development in both the Nanoscale Materials Analysis Department and the MRAM Materials and Devices Department. He maintains a variety of custom vacuum systems, while instructing and advising staff scientists, visiting scientists, and post-doc’s with their research using the systems.

Mark received a B.A. in Physics from Allegheny College in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Lehigh University in 1984. As a postdoc, also at Lehigh, he began learning vacuum technology and surface physics techniques by setting up an Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) system for Thermal Desorption Spectroscopy (TDS) and High Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (HREELS).

In 1986 Mark began an engineering position at IBM where he continues to enjoy employment. During the first few years he learned many skills by maintaining a UHV Medium Energy Ion Scattering (MEIS) system and adding a UHV side chamber with X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and e-beam evaporation sources for material science studies. In the next few years Mark worked closely with R. M. Tromp helping design and build IBM’s first Low Energy Electron Microscope (LEEM) and two similar versions, all of which were sold to universities. These were differentially pumped systems with a UHV sample chamber with in situheating. Building these UHV microscopes from scratch was a tremendous learning experience. Having done so, they had the confidence to then split-open a commercial Hitachi H9000 UHV Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and add a sample heating modification to the double tilt holder and additional electrical contacts for biasing. Also, through custom holes in the objective pole piece they added capillaries fed by external gases as well as an exchangeable evaporator mounted on the objective lens. Mark spent several years on these modifications helping F. M. Ross develop advanced in situ microscopy techniques allowing Chemical and Physical Vapor Deposition (CVD and PVD) to be conducted within a UHV-TEM. This microscope continues to be used with Ross to study nanowire growth and its applications. Working with Ross, Mark went on to set up a custom UHV system comprising Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and a four probe low temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). In addition Mark helped Ross develop in situ liquid cell microscopy techniques for studying energy storage devices. Working with S. Guha, Mark designed and constructed a custom furnace for UHV CVD and used it to explore processes for silicon and silicon nanowire growth. In recent years at IBM Mark has worked in the MRAM department helping to maintain and operate sputter deposition tools, while continuing to support many of the aforementioned systems. Mark has worked closely with many IBM and visiting scientists on all of these tools and been included in many publications and patent filings.

In the summer Mark golfs. In the winter he skis. And in the evening he plays a pretty good blues harmonica.

AVS Graduate Student Awards

There are five (5) top-level named Graduate Student Awards and four (3) Graduate Research Awards, described below. The recipients of these awards are determined after a general competition with all the graduate research applicants and a presentation to the Awards Committee at the International Symposium.
The finalists are:

  • David Bergsman, Stanford University
  • Oren Ben Dor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Rachael Farber, Loyola University Chicago
  • Yuanwen Jiang, University of Chicago
  • Xiaolong Liu, Northwestern University
  • Tania E. Sandoval, Stanford University
  • Michael G. Stanford, University of Tennessee
  • Mackenzie Williams, University of Delaware

The Russell and Sigurd Varian Award was established in 1982 to commemorate the pioneering work of Russell and Sigurd Varian. It is presented to recognize and encourage excellence in graduate studies in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. The award is supported by Varian, Inc. It consists of a cash award, a certificate, and reimbursed travel support to attend the International Symposium.

The Nellie Yeoh Whetten Award was established in 1989, in the spirit of Nellie Yeoh Whetten, to recognize and encourage excellence by women in graduate studies in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. A fund to support the award was established by Timothy J. Whetten, friends and family of Nellie Yeoh Whetten, and AVS. The award consists of a cash award, a certificate, and reimbursed travel support to attend the International Symposium.

The Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Award was established in 2002 to recognize and encourage excellence in graduate studies in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. It is funded by a bequest from Dorothy M. Hoffman, who was president of AVS in 1974 and held other positions of responsibility in the Society. The award consists of a cash award, a certificate, and reimbursed travel support to attend the International Symposium.

The Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Scholarships were established in 2002 to recognize and encourage excellence in graduate studies in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. They are funded by a bequest from Dorothy M. Hoffman. The scholarships consist of a cash award, a certificate, and reimbursed travel support to attend the International Symposium.

The Graduate Research Awards were established in 1984 to recognize and encourage excellence in graduate studies in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. Each consists of a cash award, a certificate, and reimbursed travel support to attend the International Symposium.


AVS Fellows

The membership level designated “Fellow of the Society” was established in 1993 to recognize members who have made sustained and outstanding scientific and technical contributions in areas of interest to AVS. These contributions can be in research, engineering, technical advancement, academic education or managerial leadership. This is a prestigious membership level to which members are elected. AVS Fellows receive a certificate.

  • Susan Burkett, The University of Alabama
  • Eric Altman, Yale University
  • Arthur P. Baddorf, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Robert Bartynski, Rutgers University
  • Anna M. Belu, Medtronic
  • Chia-Seng Chang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Mariadriana Creatore, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • Zdenek Dohnalek, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • James Fitz-Gerald, University of Virginia
  • Axel Hoffmann, Argonne National Laboratory
  • An-Ping Li, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Kathryn G. Lloyd, DuPont Experimental Station
  • Lynnette Madsen, National Science Foundation
  • Yiping Zhao, University of Georgia
  • Stefan Zollner, New Mexico State University
  • Christian Zorman, Case Western Reserve University



Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Ballrooms B-C
Tampa Convention Center
Tampa, Florida

6:30 PM

Recognition of outstanding scientific research and technological innovation is one of the most important activities within AVS.

Through our prestigious award program, the Society seeks to honor a wide range of extraordinary accomplishments vital to progress in fields of interest to AVS. Selection for an AVS award is a reflection of contributions judged exceptional by the AVS Trustees who are elected by the AVS membership.

Awards given by AVS are offered to recognize outstanding individual accomplishments in the fields of interest to the Society.

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