Skip Navigation

Shelley Claridge

Shelley Claridge

Controlling and characterizing interfaces at length scales from 0.1-10nm is a ubiquitous challenge in nanoscience. This size regime is important in a surprising variety of applications: organic-inorganic interfaces that impact nanomaterial optoelectronic properties and device performance, as well as structures of transmembrane proteins that are the targets of half of all commercial pharmaceuticals. However, precisely controlling and characterizing interfacial structures at these length scales is frequently difficult. Emerging technological materials such as graphene also typically require noncovalent functionalization strategies that further complicate detailed chemical characterization.

A central theme in our group is the development of new self-assembly and integrated imaging strategies that advance the limits of interfacial ordering complexity and structural analysis, mirroring the structural diversity and functional precision achieved in biology. These include:

reenvisioning design principles of the cell membrane as strategies for developing precise control over synthetic material interfaces, addressing emerging needs in areas ranging from nanoscale optoelectronics to human health

development of custom nanoscale surface analytical instrumentation to enable molecular-scale chemical imaging and characterization of dynamic self-assembly processes at hydrophilic-hydrophobic interfaces relevant to nanoscopic materials and biology

synthesis of novel polymerizable amphiphiles and other molecules (e.g. peptides) useful for noncovalent functionalization of layered materials

unconventional applications of bioanalytical techniques to address problems including characterization of nanoscale anisotropic wetting phenomena similar to those occurring in biological water and ion transport (e.g. through aquaporins)

integrating molecular modeling and advanced interfacial characterization to develop detailed predictive understanding of noncovalently assembled interfaces with technologically important layered materials such as graphene

Students in the group develop expertise in areas ranging from of nanoscale analysis techniques to organic and inorganic synthetic methods and large-scale molecular modeling of interface structure. Students utilize facilities both within the laboratory and at the department's Analytical Instrumentation Center and Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center. These include scanning probe microscopies, advanced surface analysis methods (such as polarization-modulated IR reflection absorption spectroscopy), and ultra-high vacuum surface analysis techniques. Students may also develop new instrumentation in conjunction with the Amy Instrumentation Facility, a unique resource in the Purdue Department of Chemistry.


  • B.S., Texas A&M University, Mathematics, Biochemistry, and Genetics, 1997
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Chemistry, 2008
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow and Merkin Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn State/UCLA, 2013


  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, 2017
  • Career Award, 2016
  • DuPont Young Professor Award, 2016
  • Exceptional Early Career Award, Purdue University, 2016
  • IUPAC Young Observer Fellow, 2015
  • Merkin Family Foundation Fellow, 2013
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, Purdue College of Science, 2016
  • PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, 2014
  • Purdue Teaching Academy Fellow, 2016
  • Teach for Tomorrow Fellow, 2015
  • UC Berkeley Everyday Heroes Award for Undergraduate Education, 2005
  • UC Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award, 2006
  • UCLA Chancellor's Award for Postdoctoral Research, 2011
  • UCLA Molecular Biology Institute Award for Postdoctoral Research, 2011
  • Young Faculty Award, 2017


Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

Department of Chemistry, 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2084 | Telephone: (765) 494-5200 | Fax: (765) 494-0239

© 2015 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Science IT

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact ScienceIT at