Thomas E. Furtak
University Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics

I’m interested in surfaces and interfaces, Thomas Furtakparticularly those that involve soft condensed matter. Many of these systems are found in polymer electronic or optical devices. For example, plastic solar cells can be built with nanoscale inorganic structures surrounded by a polymeric light absorbing material. It’s important to understand and control the organic/inorganic interface to optimize charge collection. In another project we are studying photoactive monolayers that can be used to control liquid crystal displays. All of our projects involve surface optical spectroscopy, particularly those that provide vibrational fingerprints about the molecular structure of an interface. It’s fascinating work that helps us to understand basic phenomena about these systems as well as to provide insight for practical applications.


Labs and Research Centers

  • GRLA 109, 303-384-2134
  • GRLA 124, 303-273-3838


  • PhD, Iowa State University
  • BS, University of Nebraska

Research Areas

  • Condensed matter physics
  • Optical properties of interfaces & nanostructures
  • Polymers & self-assembled systems

Awards and Recognitions

  • Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Faculty Distinguished Lecturer
  • Colorado Technology Transfer Award
  • Board of Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award
  • Elected to Fellowship in the American Physical Society