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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


  • 2005 UC Berkeley Everyday Heroes Award for Undergraduate Education
  • 2006 UC Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award
  • 2009 NIH Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 2011 UCLA Chancellor's Award for Postdoctoral Research
  • 2011 UCLA Molecular Biology Institute Award for Postdoctoral Research
  • 2013 Merkin Family Foundation Fellow
  • 2014 ACS PRF New Investigator Award
  • 2015 IUPAC Young Observer Fellow
  • 2015 Teach for Tomorrow Fellow
  • 2016 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award
  • 2016 DuPont Young Professor Award
  • 2016 Exceptional Early Career Award, Purdue University
  • 2016 NSF CAREER Award
  • 2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, Purdue College of Science
  • 2016 Purdue Teaching Academy Fellow
  • 2017 DARPA Young Faculty Award
  • 2019 Arthur Kelly Undergraduate Teaching Award, Department of Chemistry
  • 2019 DARPA Director's Fellowship


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