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Kristen Fichthorn

Kristen Fichthorn

Main Content

  • Merrell R. Fenske Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • Professor of Physics
403 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email: fichthorn [ AT ] psu [ DOT ] edu
Phone: (814) 863-4807


  1. University of Michigan (Ph.D)


Condensed Matter Physics
  • Theoretical
  • Computational

Selected Publications

Full list of publications on Google Scholar

  1. W. Al-Saidi, H. Feng, and K. A. Fichthorn, "Adsorption of polyvinylpyrrolidone on Ag surfaces: Insight into a structure-directing agent", Nano Letters 12, 997 (2012).
  2. Y. Zhou and K. A. Fichthorn, "Microscopic view of nucleation in the anatase-to-rutile transition", J. Phys. Chem. C 116, 8314 (2012).
  3. H. Feng, K. E. Becker, J. Zhou, and K. A. Fichthorn, "Molecular thin films on solid surfaces: Mechanisms of melting", Langmuir 28, 7382 (2012).
  4. Y. Lin and K. A. Fichthorn, "An accelerated molecular dynamics study of the GaAs(001) beta 2(2x4)/c(2x8) surface", Phys. Rev. B 86, 165303 (2012).
  5. A. Shahraz, A. Borhan, and K. A. Fichthorn, "A theory for the morphological dependence of wetting on a physically-patterned solid surface", Langmuir 28, 14227 (2012).
  6. Y. Tiwary and K. A. Fichthorn, "A first-principles study of oxygen adsorption and interaction with Al adatoms on Al(110)", Surface Science 605, 1388 (2011).
  7. K. A. Fichthorn, Y. Tiwary, T. Hammerschmidt, P. Kratzer, and M. Scheffler, "An analytic many-body potential for GaAs(001) homoepitaxy: Bulk and surface properties", Phys. Rev. B 83, 195328 (2011).
  8. R. Sathiyanarayanan, M. Ali-Mohammadi, Y. Zhou, and K. Fichthorn, "The role of solvent in the shape-controlled synthesis of anisotropic colloidal nanostructures", J. Phys. Chem. C 115, 18983 (2011).
  9. M. Alimohammadi and K. A. Fichthorn, "A force-field for the interaction of water with TiO2 surfaces", J. Phys. Chem. C 115, 24206 (2011).
  10. J. D. Howe, P. Bhopale, Y. Tiwary, and K. A. Fichthorn, "Patterns in strained-layer heteroepitaxy: Beyond the Frenkel-Kontorova model", Phys. Rev. B 81, 121410(R) (2010).

Research Interests

The primary focus of my research is on applying atomistic simulation techniques, such as Monte Carlo methods and molecular dynamics, quantum mechanics, and con-densed-matter theory to study materials interfaces. Generally, these studies are designed to test, modify, and propose theory, to model experiments so that intriguing results can be understood, and to predict novel behavior encouraging further experimental work.

We tend to focus on technological applications in which innovation hinges on detailed mo-lecular-level understanding. We are also interested in developing multi-scale simulation methods that allow inclusion of relevant atomic-scale details in macroscopic simulations relevant for engineering design.

Our work is supported by the US National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and Dow Chemical Co. We are grateful for computing time on XSEDE, as well as on Blue Gene/Q at Argonne National Laboratory.

A few of our recent efforts are summarized on my research page.