Robert Opila

Robert Opila


Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Email :
Phone : (302) 831-3128
306 Dupont Hall


Dr. Opila graduated from the University of Chicago in 1982 and began work at Bell Laboratories. The group`s research has emphasized interfacial phenomena, including electrical conduction in metallic composites, metal/polymer adhesion, and the source of electron traps at oxide/semiconductor interfaces. As electronic and photonic devices become smaller, interfaces between materials will play an even more important role. In general, the aim of the research has been to relate chemical and morphological structure at the interface to physical properties of the system. As probes of these buried interfaces, traditional surface science techniques, like electron or x-ray spectroscopies, have been extended to probe buried interfaces. Dr. Opila`s current interests include electrical conduction and charge injection in a new class of organic conductors and the mechanism of charge conduction in transparent conductive oxides, crucial in developing modern photonic devices.


  • Fulbright Scholar, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey (2012-2013)
  • Visiting Professorial Fellow, University of New South Wales (2013)
  • Fellow, American Vacuum Society (2000).
  • Distinguished Member of Technical Staff (1993).
  • Divisional Affirmative Action Award (1993).
  • Prize Paper Award, 34th IEEE Holm Conference (1989).
  • James Franck Scholar, The University of Chicago (1975-1977).
  • B. S. Awarded with Highest Departmental Distinction (1975).
  • Edmund James Scholar, University of Illinois (1971-1975).

Research Interests

  • Next generation photovoltaic device such as organic/silicon hybrids.

  • Spectroscopic analysis of thin films/interfaces for microelectronics.

  • Development of atomic layer etching.

  • Analysis of iconic oil paintings to determine mechanism of degradation.

  • Commercialization of novel technical discoveries.

  • Reliability of electronic assemblies.

Representative Publications

Photoemission study of Zr- and Hf-silicates for use as high-k oxides: Role of second nearest neighbors and interface charge.”   Opila, R. L.; Wilk, G. D.; Alam, M. A.; van Dover, R. B.; Busch, B. W Applied Physics Letters  81,  1788-1790 (2002).

“High effective minority carrier lifetime on silicon substrates using quinhydrone-methanol passivation,” Chhabra, Bhumika; Bowden, Stuart; Opila, Robert L.; Honsberg, Christiana B.  Applied Physics Letters (2010), 96(6), 063502/1-063502/3.

“Surface characterization of quinhydrone-methanol and iodine-methanol passivated silicon substrates using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy,” Chhabra, Bhumika; Weiland, Conan; Opila, Robert L.; Honsberg, Christiana B., Physica Status Solidi A: Applications and Materials Science (2011), 208(1), 86-90.

“Energy level alignment at organic semiconductor/metal interfaces: Effect of polar self-assembled monolayers at the interface,”  Demirkan, K., Mathew, A., Weiland, C., Yao, Y., Rawlett, A. M., Tour, J. M., Opila, R. L., J. Chem. Phys., 128, 2008, Article number 074705

“Report on the 47th IUVSTA Workshop ‘Angle-Resolved XPS: the current status and future prospects for angle-resolved XPS of nano and subnano films’,” A. Herrera-Gomez, J. T. Grant, P. J. Cumpson , M. Jenko, F. S. Aguirre-Tostado, C. R. Brundle, T. Conard, G. Conti, C. S. Fadley, J. Fulgum, K. Kobayayshi, L. Kover, H. Noriha, R. L. Opila, S. Oswald, R. W. Paynter, R. M. Wallace, W. S. M. Werner, and J. Wolstenholme,  Surf. Int. Anal., 41, 840 – 857 (2009).

“Thin Films and Interfaces in Microelectronics: Composition and Chemistry as a Function of Depth,” J. Eng and R. L. Opila, Progress in Surface Science, 69, 125 – 163 (2002).

“Profiling Nitrogen in Ultrathin Silicon Oxynitrides with Angle-Resolved X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy,” J. P. Chang, M. L. Green, V. M. Donnelly, R. L. Opila, J. Eng, J. Sapjeta, P. J. Silverman, B. Weir, H. C. Lu, T. Gustaffson, E. Garfunkel, J. Appl. Phys., 87, 4449 – 4455 (2000).

“Materials Characterization of Alternative Gate Dielectrics,” B. W. Busch, O. Pluchery, Y. J. Chabal, D. A. Muller, R. L. Opila, J. R. Kwo, and E. Garfunkel, MRS Bulletin, 27, 206 – 211 (2002).

“Promising Thermoelectric Properties of Commercial PEDOT-PSS Materials and Their Be2Te3 Powder Composites, Zhang, B.; Sun, J.; Katz, H. E.; Fang, F.; Opila, R. L.  ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2(11), 3170-3178 (2010).

“Correlation of crystalline defects with photoluminescence of InGaN layers,” N. Faleev, B. R. Jampana, O. Jani, H. Yu, R. Opila, I. Ferguson, and C. Honsberg, Appl. Phys. Lett., 95, 051915 (2009).

The Opila Research Group