Awards & Awardees

The AVS Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at 6:30 pm in Grand Ballroom within the Long Beach 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.

David CastnerUniversity of Washington “for leading advances in rigorous and state-of-the-art surface analysis methods applied to organic and biological samples

David G. Castner is a Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering, the Director of the National ESCA and Surface Analysis Center for Biomedical Problems (NESAC/Bio), and the Director of the Molecular Analysis Facility at the University of Washington (UW). Prof. Castner received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from University of California at Berkeley in 1979, where he studied small molecule chemisorption and reactivity on rhodium single crystal surfaces. He then spent seven years as a Research Chemist at the Chevron Research Company developing XPS and XAS methods for characterizing heterogeneous catalysts before moving to the UW in 1986 to pursue research in biomedical surface analysis. He was also the Director of the UW Center for Nanotechnology (2004–2005) and the Associate Dean of Engineering for Infrastructure (2009–2012). He has been a Guest Professor at the University of Paris since 2003. Prof. Castner is a Fellow of AVS, Biomaterials Science and Engineering, and American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering. Prof. Castner received the 2003 Excellence in Surface Science Award from the Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation, the 2004 Clemson Award for Basic Research from the Society of Biomaterials, the 2014 Rivière Prize from the UK Surface Analysis Forum, and the 2017 ECASIA Award. He was AVS President in 2010 and became an AVS Honorary Member in 2013.
Prof. Castner has an active research program in the areas of surface analysis, surface modification, biomaterials, nanomaterials and organic thin films, co-authoring more than 250 refereed publications and giving more than 220 invited presentations. Over the past 40+ years his surface science/analysis research has covered a wide range of surface modification and characterization topics. Since arriving at the UW in 1986 his research has focused developing new surface analysis methods and using a multi-technique approach to provide detailed characterization of biomedical materials, ranging from implanted biomaterials to diagnostic devices, with a special emphasis on characterizing the interactions of biomolecules (peptides, proteins, DNA, etc.) and cells with biologically relevant surfaces and interfaces. His research has included numerous research collaborations at the UW and around the world, as well as managing multi-disciplinary research projects and teams. He has also been the general chair and program chair for international conferences such as SIMS and PacSurf.
In the 1990s his research focused on using a complementary, multi-technique approach (XPS, ToF-SIMS, NEXAFS, etc.) to determine the composition and structure of organic surfaces ranging from SAMs to RF glow discharge deposited films and relating that information to their biological performance. Since 2000 a major thrust of his research program has been to develop methods for characterizing surface bound proteins and peptides to determine their identity, amount, conformation, orientation and spatial distribution. This research has shown combining ToF-SIMS, multivariate analysis, XPS, NEXAFS, SFG, etc. with molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations is a powerful approach for investigating the structure of surface bound proteins and peptides. In the past 10 years another major research thrust has been the development of surface analysis methods using XPS and TEM measurements in combination with Monte Carlo simulations to characterize the composition and structure of nanoparticles.


The Gaede-Langmuir Award was established in 1977 by an endowing grant from Dr. Kenneth C.D. Hickman. It is presented to recognize and encourage outstanding discoveries and inventions in the sciences and technologies of interest to AVS. The award is conferred biennially as a suitable candidate may be identified. It consists of a cash award, a commemorative plaque stating the nature of the award, and an honorary lectureship at a regular session of the International Symposium.

Michael Grunze, Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg, Germany, “taking surface science beyond small molecules at surfaces to complex liquid/surface interactions, including polymers, biointerphases, and biomedical applications, through development of novel experimental approaches, theoretical simulations, and inventions”

Michael Grunze received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1974 from the Freie Universität Berlin on the reduction of ZnO with reactive gases. Under the supervision of Wolfgang Hirschwald, he used thermogravimetric methods to derive a kinetic model for the orientation dependence of the reduction of ZnO single crystals. Subsequently, he joined the research group of G. Ertl in Munich as a post-doc and was involved in the first iron single crystal experiments to study the mechanism of nitrogen adsorption and nitrogen and ammonia dissociation in view of unsolved mechanistic questions related to the Haber Bosch Process. After a short stay with John Pritchard at Queen Mary College in London, he continued his work on catalytic surface reactions at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin.  The kinetic formalism he derived for nitrogen dissociation on Fe (111) surfaces provided the input for the modelling of the industrial Haber Bosch process. In 1983 he accepted a position as full professor of Physics at the University of Maine, where he developed strategies for the characterization of polymer/metal interfaces and the mechanism of adhesion in these technically important systems. During his tenure at the University of Maine, he also designed and build an x- ray photoelectron spectrometer capable to study adsorption and catalytic reactions on solid surfaces up into the mbar pressure range, a technique which is nowadays employed in several laboratories.
In 1987 M. Grunze accepted the Chair for Applied Physical Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg, where he kept his position until his retirement in 2012. His work continued to be focussed on the static and dynamic properties and applications of thin organic films, e.g. selfassembled monolayers, polymer brushes, and inorganic polymers for medical applications (polyphosphazenes). His group was the first to employ synchrotron-based methods and nonlinear optical methods (SHG and SFG) to study the molecular conformation and orientation in adsorbed organic films in air and different solvents. These experiments led to an extended interest of his group in the properties of interfacial water and the forces between objects in an aqueous environment. The experimental work was complemented by collaborative theoretical and modelling work with Hans-Jürgen Kreuzer and Alexander Pertsin, respectively. In these studies, it was shown that the conformational changes of ethylene oxide oligomers in water explain the “inertness “of the respective SAM surfaces, and that by quantitative modelling of solvation forces and their range the forces between experimentally verifiable phospholipid layers and different SAM surfaces in water can be predicted. Over the last 15 years, and ongoing, Michael Grunze´s main research activity is on environmentally benign non-fouling surfaces for marine applications, which resulted in novel strategies and experimental methods to quantify the interaction of unicellular organisms with surfaces.
Michael Grunze´s advances in surface and interface science in research areas ranging from catalysis (e.g., ammonia synthesis) to organic films (e.g., polyimide films and self-assembled monolayers) to biological applications (e.g. nonfouling surfaces and medical implants) led to several national and international awards and honorary lectures and professorships. Together with his students (he supervised 180 graduate students during his academic career), post docs and coworkers he published over 430 publications and filed over 120 patents. Michael Grunze founded and cofounded four companies during his tenure at the Fritz Haber Institute, the University of Maine, the University of Heidelberg, and after his retirement. 


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.
Peter Bruggeman, University of Minnesota, “for studies that have provided fundamental insights into nonequilibrium atmospheric-pressure discharges and the underlying mechanisms enabling biomedical applications” 

Dr. Peter Bruggeman is currently Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory (HTPL) at the University of Minnesota. HTPL was founded in 1964 by Professor Emil Pfender and the lab has been a well-known center of plasma research for many decades. Peter obtained his PhD from Ghent University, Belgium, in 2008 and was an Assistant Professor of Applied Physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, from 2009 until he joined the University of Minnesota in 2013 as an Associate Professor. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2017.
His primary research interests are plasmaliquid interactions and non-equilibrium plasma kinetics and chemistry applied to plasma processes for environmental, biomedical and renewable energy technologies. A significant part of his research is focused on the fundamental physical and chemical processes of atmospheric pressure non-equilibrium plasmas enabling these applications. Peter has intensively worked on innovative diagnostics methods required due to the complex high collisional and non-equilibrium conditions of atmospheric pressure plasmas.
He has published over 95 papers in peerreviewed journals of which 12 have been selected as journal highlights. He has delivered invited and keynote lectures at over 60 international meetings and was a lecturer at several summer schools in Germany, USA, Canada and Brazil. His research has been recognized by several awards including the 2012 Hershkowitz Early Career Award, the 2013 Institute of Pure and Applied Physics Young Scientist Medal and Prize in Plasma Physics and the 2016 US Department of Energy Early Career Award.
Peter is an active member of his research community. He is currently the section editor for Plasmas and Plasma-Surface Interactions of the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics (Institute of Physics Publishing) and serves as an editorial board member of several other journals. He also co-edited the prestigious “2017 Plasma Roadmap” giving directions for the future development of the field of low temperature plasma. Peter is also an elected member of the board of directors of the International Society of Plasma Chemistry and was a member of the management committee of the European COST action MP1101 from 2011 until he relocated to the United States in 2013.
He has been a member of more than a dozen international scientific and organizing committees of meetings in his research field. He is the elected chair of the 2018 Gordon Research Conference on Plasma Processing Science that will take place this summer and organized the conference “Frontiers in Low Temperature Plasma Diagnostics X” in 2013 in the Netherlands.  He has been for several years involved in the organization of the International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) as organizing session chair or technical area coordinator and was a co-organizer of a session at the Material Research Symposium in 2015 and 2016. He was also a member of the program committee and session co-chair of the session “Plasma diagnostic and growth processes” at the “International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films” in 2017 organized by AVS.

AVS Graduate Student Awards

There are five (5) top-level named Graduate Student Awards and three (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:
  • William DeBenedetti, Cornell University
  • Ryan Hackler, Northwestern University
  • Angela Hanna, Colorado State University
  • Zahra Hooshmand, University of Central Florida
  • Ann Lii-Rosales, Iowa State University
  • Monu Mishra, CSIR-National Physical Laboratory
  • Phuong Anh Nguyen, University of New Mexico
  • Jiancheng Yang, University of Florida
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 Agilent Technologies, which acquired Varian, Inc., in 2010. 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.
  • Heather Canavan, University of New Mexico
  • Donna Chen, University of South Carolina
  • Jeffrey W. Elam, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Daniel Gall, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Grzegorz (Greg) Greczynski, Linköping University, Sweden
  • Subhadra Gupta, University of Alabama
  • Jeffrey Hopwood, Tufts University
  • Robert J. Madix, Harvard University
  • Paul Mayrhofer, Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien), Austria
  • Leonidas E. Ocola, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Philip Rack, University of Tennessee
  • François Reniers, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  • E. Charles Sykes, Tufts University



Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Grand Ballroom
Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach, California

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.

Learn More