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Melissa A. Hines


Baker Laboratory, Room B-48
627 Clark Hall



Melissa A. Hines is a Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Cornell Center for Materials Research, a research center that includes a NSF-funded MRSEC. She earned a S. B. in chemistry from M.I.T. in 1984 and a Ph. D. in chemistry from Stanford in 1992. After two years of postdoctoral research at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill NJ, she joined the Cornell faculty in 1994. She received the 2104 Arthur Adamson Award for Surface Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and is a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has been named a Beckman Young Investigator, a Lily Teaching Fellow, and a Cottrell Scholar. She is also the recipient of a NSF Career Award and the Stephen and Margaret Russell Distinguished Teaching Award. Of all her awards, she is most proud of having been named a Weiss Presidential Fellow in recognition of her contributions to and excellence in undergraduate education.    


Surface science, scanning probe microscopies, nanofabrication, chemical etching


  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Applied Physics
  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology


We use scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), surface spectroscopies, as well as density functional theory (DFT) and Monte Carlo simulations to understand and control chemical reactivity at the nanoscale. Much of our current research is aimed at developing a new surface-science approach to understanding sustainable nanocatalysis and photocatalysis on earth-abundant metal oxides under technologically relevant conditions. This research probes catalytically active sites with atomic-scale spatial resolution and submonolayer spectroscopic sensitivity — studies that have been previously infeasible due to technical limitations. Although TiO2 is our current focus, our goal is to use these techniques on a much wider variety of sustainable metal oxide nanocatalysts, such as oxygen evolution catalysts, environmental remediation photocatalysis, and electroactive materials for battery applications.



E. S. Skibinski, A. Song, W. J. I. DeBenedetti, A. G. Ortoll-Bloch, and M. A. Hines,“Solution deposition of self-assembled benzoate monolayers on rutile (110): Effect of π-π interactions on monolayer structure,” J. Phys. Chem. C 120, 15881 (2016).

A. Song, E. S. Skibinski, W. J. I. DeBenedetti, A. G. Ortoll-Bloch, and M. A. Hines, “Nanoscale solvation leads to spontaneous formation of a bicarbonate monolayer on rutile (110) under ambient conditions: Implications for CO2 photoreduction,” J. Chem. Phys. C 120, 9326 (2016).

E. S. Skibinski, and M. A. Hines, “Finding needles in haystacks: Scanning tunneling microscopy reveals the complex reactivity of Si(100) surfaces,” Acc. Chem. Res. 48, 2159 (2015).

A. Song, D. Jing, and M. A. Hines, “Rutile surface reactivity provides insight into the structure-directing role of peroxide in TiO2 polymorph control,” J. Phys. Chem. C 118, 27343 (2014).

M. A. Hines, M. F. Faggin, A. Gupta, B. S. Aldinger, and K. Bao, “Self-propagating surface reactions produce near-ideal Si(100) surfaces,” J. Phys. Chem. C 116, 18920 (2012).

I. T. Clark, B. S. Aldinger, A. Gupta, and M. A. Hines, "Aqueous etching produces Si(100) surfaces of near-atomic flatness: Strain minimization does not predict morphology," J. Phys. Chem. C 114, 423 (2010).

J. A. Henry, Y. Wang, D. Sengupta, and M. A. Hines, “Understanding the effects of surface chemistry on Q: Mechanical energy dissipation in alkyl-terminated (C1-C18) micromechanical silicon resonators,” J. Phys. Chem. B 111, 88-94 (2007).

M. F. Faggin, S. K. Green, I. T. Clark, K. T. Queeney, and M. A. Hines, "Production of highly homogeneous Si(100) surfaces by H2O etching: Surface morphology and the role of strain," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 11455 (2006).

S. P. Garcia, H. Bao, and M. A. Hines, "Etchant anisotropy controls the step bunching instability in KOH etching of silicon," Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 166102 (2004).

M. A. Hines, "In search of perfection: Understanding the highly defect selective chemistry of anisotropic etching," Ann. Rev. of Phys. Chem. 54, 29 (2003).


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