Professor Gall is member of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received his Diploma from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1994, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000. Prof. Gall has been a Visiting Scientist at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, Illinois, and a Visiting Professor at the Ecole Polytechnic Federal Lausanne. He has served as Assistant Editor and Editorial Board Member for Thin Solid Films, as Associate Editor for the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, as chair for the AVS Advanced Surface Engineering Division, as proceedings editor, session, symposium, and program chair for the AVS International Symposium and the International Conference for Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films.
Prof. Gall’s research focuses on the development of an atomistic understanding for thin film growth, with particular interest in transition-metal nitride coatings, ion-surface interactions, and glancing angle deposition. He has pioneered a multiple length-scale approach to explain texture evolution in hard-coatings, has shown how low-energy ion-irradiation can be employed to control surface diffusion processes and resulting microstructures, and has developed a variety of uniquely shaped nanostructure architectures by exploiting atomic shadowing effects during physical vapor deposition. His research on novel transition-metal nitrides was identified as one of “the 100 most important scientific discoveries during the past two and a half decades, supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science”. He also won the 2006 Alfred H. Geisler Memorial Award for “Outstanding Contributions in Education and Thin Film Growth Research,” the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation, the 2007 Outstanding Research Award from the Rensselaer School of Engineering, the 2008 Early Career Award for “Excellence in Education and Outstanding Research in the Field of Thin Film and Nanostructure Growth,” and the 2008 IBM Faculty Award for research on “Post-CMOS Nanoelectronics.” Professor Gall holds one US patent, has authored 3 book chapters and over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has presented his research results in over 40 invited lectures in North America and Europe. His students won numerous poster competitions, best paper awards, and best microscopy awards. Prof. Gall’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Defense, the Semiconductor Research Corporation, the ACS Petroleum Research Fund, IBM, and the State of New York.