Daniel Gall

Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

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 is a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society, has been a Visiting Scientist at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, Illinois, a Visiting Professor at the Ecole Polytechnic Federal Lausanne, and a Global Initiative of Academic Networks Lecturer. 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 chair, symposium chair, 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 of thin film growth and on the electronic and optical properties of materials. He is studying electron transport in nanowires and epitaxial metal layers and explores synthesis and properties of new transition-metal nitrides, including atomistic processes of layer growth and mechanical, tribological, and opto-electronic properties. His research on 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,” the 2008 IBM Faculty Award for research on “Post-CMOS Nanoelectronics,” the 2011 NSF Ceramics Best Highlight Award, the 2011 SPIE Thin Films IV Best Presentation Award, the 2018 Senior Faculty School of Engineering Research Excellence Award, the 2018 and 2019 LAM Research Unlock Ideas Faculty Awards for research on “high-conductivity interconnects,” and the 2019 IBM Faculty award for “post-Cu metallization” research, and the 2021 Bill Sproul Award and Honorary ICMCTF Lecture for “seminal contributions to furthering the understanding of thin film growth of transition metal nitrides and their electronic, optical, mechanical, and tribological properties.“ Professor Gall holds two US patents, has authored 3 book chapters and over 180 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has presented his research results in over 100 invited lectures in North America, Europe, and Asia. His students won over 60 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, LAM, TEL, and the State of New York. http://www.rpi.edu/~galld

Link to complete list of Prof. Gall’s publications


Ph.D. Physics (University of Illinois, 2000), M.S. Physics (University of Basel, Switzerland, 1994), B.S. Physics (University of Basel, Switzerland)

Research Focus
  • Nanotechnology
  • Electronic Materials
  • Thin Film Deposition
  • First-principles calculations
  • Materials characterization
Select Works