Faculty Directory

Briber, Robert M.

Briber, Robert M.

Associate Dean for Research, A. James Clark School of Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
1109 Chemical and Nuclear Eng. Bldg. / 3110B Kim Eng. Bldg.


Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1984


Please see Professor Briber's C.V. (PDF).


  • American Physical Society, Fellow (elected 1995)
  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, December 1990
  • Electron Microscope Society of America Presidential Student Scholarship, 1982
  • Editor, Journal of Polymer Science—Polymer Physics Edition (1/99-01/07)


Professional Elected Offices
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, President 2002-2005
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, vice president 1999-2002
  • Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee of the Division of Polymer Physics, American Physical Society, 1999-2002
Professional Memberships
  • American Physical Society (Fellow)
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • Biophysical Society
Professional Committee Memberships
  • NIST Center for Neutron Research Program Advisory Committee, member 1999 to 2004
  • University of Chicago Review Committee for the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source at Argonne National Laboratory 1997, 1999, 2001
  • Large Length Scales Working Group, Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Lab, Dept. of Energy, November 1998
  • Basic Energy Science Advisory Committee Review of the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Lab, October 1998
  • Scheduling Committee, American Physical Society, Division of High Polymer Physics March Meeting, 1994-1998
  • Los Alamos—Argonne National Laboratory Pulsed Neutron Source Program Advisory Committee 1993-1997 (Chair 1996-97)
  • Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Research Award Committee, 1994-1997
  • American Physical Society Division of High Polymer Physics Nominations Committee
  • NASA Microgravity Research Review Panel for Polymers, 1995, 1997

X-ray and neutron scattering, thermodynamics, structure of polymers.

Synthesis and Characterization of Structured Hydrogels

Charged polymers (polyelectrolytes) and surfactant systems can have strong associations due to coulombic interactions and have been shown to form complex structures. We are extending these systems to hydrogels, where the polymer is crosslinked in the presence of an ordered surfactant system to form a structured hydrogel.

Data Analysis and Modeling of Off Specular Neutron Reflectivity

Specular neutron reflectivity is a powerful characterization tool for studying the structure of thin films in the film normal direction. Off specular reflectivity has the potential to extend the analysis to structure in the x-y plane of the film, but has been hampered by lack of suitable data analysis and modeling tools. We are working the NIST Center for Neutron Research to develop such tools and establish principles for analyzing such data using model systems.

Synthesis and Characterization of Nanocomposites with Improved Flammability

Polymer nanocomposites formed from layered silicates have been shown to have improved mechanical properties silicate is distributed in an exfoliated or intercalated morphology. We are working with collaborators in both the Fire Protection Engineering Department at the University of Maryland and the Fire Research Division at NIST to synthesis and characterize polymer nanocomposites with improved flammability.

Structure of Nanoporous Low K Dielectric Materials

We are working with IBM on the characterization of nanoporous films of spin on glass materials where the nanoporosity is formed by mixing the spin-on glass with a polymer prior to cure. During the high temperature cure of the spin-on glass the polymer degrades resulting in a nanoporous morphology to the thin film.

Folding of RNA

RNAs perform many biological functions by folding into specific three-dimensional structures. Understanding how RNAs fold is crucial for understanding the assembly of RNA-protein complexes such as the ribosome, the regulation of gene expression by RNA, and the engineering of RNA sensors and "riboswitches". In the presence of counterions, RNAs collapse into compact intermediates, which subsequently fold into the native tertiary structure. We are addressing these questions using X-ray and neutron scattering to address the structure, kinetics and dynamics of the RNA folding process.

Professor Briber teaches a range of classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
At the undergraduate level he has taught:

  • ENES 100: Introduction to Engineering Design
  • ENMA 150: Materials of Civilization
    This is a University of Maryland Marquee Science and Technology Course designed for non-science majors. See www.marqueecourses.umd.edu for more information.
  • ENMA 300: Introduction to Materials and Their Applications
  • ENMA 423: Manufacturing with Polymers

At the graduate level, Dr. Briber has taught:

  • ENMA 620: Polymer Physics (MSE Graduate Program core course)
  • ENMA 661: Kinetics of Reactions in Materials (MSE Graduate Program core course)

  • B. Cipriano, S. Banik, R. Sharma, D. Rumore, W. Hwang, R.M. Briber, S. Raghavan, “Superabsorbent Hydrogels that are Robust and Highly Stretchable”, Macromolecules, 2014, (47)13, 4445-4452, DOI 10.1021/ma500882n
  • Ruiliang Bai, Peter J.  Basser, R.M. Briber and Ferenc Horkay, “NMR Water Self–Diffusion and Relaxation Studies on Sodium Polyacrylate Solutions and Gels in Physiologic Ionic Solutions”, J. of Applied Polymer Science 2014, 131(6), DOI: 10.1002/app.40001
  • Bergstrom, R., Jr.; Wuttig, M.; Cullen, J.; Zavalij, P.; Briber, R.; Dennis, C.; Garlea, V. O.; Laver, M., "Morphotropic Phase Boundaries in Ferromagnets: Tb1-XDyX Fe2 Alloys", Physical Review Letters 2013, 111, (1), 017203 DOI:   10.1103
  • J. Duncan Kilburn, Joon Ho Roh, Behrouzi, Reza, R.M. Briber, Sarah A. Woodson, “Crowders perturb the entropy of RNA energy landscapes to favor folding”, JACS 2013, 135, 10055
  • Ayyub, O. B.; Ibrahim, M. B.; Briber, R. M.; Kofinas, P., "Self-Assembled Block Copolymer Photonic Crystal for Selective Fructose Detection", Biosens Bioelectron 2013, 46, 124-129, DOI 10.1016/J.Bios.2013.02.025.
  • Wonjoo Lee, Seung Yong Lee, X. Zhang, R.M. Briber and Oded Rabin “Hexagonally ordered nanoparticles templated using a block copolymer film”, Nanotechnology, 2013, 24, 045305
  • B.J. Watson, B. Hammouda, R.M. Briber, and S.W. Hutcheson; “Influence of Organic Liquids on the Nanostructure of Precipitated Cellulose”, J. of Applied Polym. Sci. 2013, 127(4), 2620-2627 DOI:  10.1002/app.37540
  • Wonjoo Lee, Peter Kofinas, R.M. Briber; “Structure investigation of poly((2-dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)/sodium dodecylsulfate complexes in concentrated poly((2-dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) solutions using small angle neutron scattering”, Polymer, 2012, 53(14), 2942-2948 DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2012.04.052
  • Zhang, X.; Sushkov, A. B.; Metting, C. J.; Fackler, S.; Drew, H. D.; Briber, R. M., "Silicon Patterning Using Self-Assembled Ps-B-Paa Diblock Copolymer Masks for Black Silicon Fabrication Via Plasma Etching", Plasma Processes and Polymers 2012, 9 (10), 968-974, Doi 10.1002/Ppap.201100198.
  • Reza Behrouzi, Joon Ho Roh, Duncan Kilburn, R. M. Briber, Sarah A. Woodson, “Native architecture encodes cooperativity and specificity in RNA folding intermediates”, Cell 2012, 149, 348–357 
  • Sangcheol Kim, Jack F. Douglas, Christopher L. Soles, Alamgir Karim, and R. M. Briber; “Using Block Copolymer Self-Assembly to Imprint the Crystallization of Polymer Dendrites”, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 8969-8976. DOI: 10.1039/C1SM05768E
  • Lee, W., Zhang, X., & Briber, R.M., A simple method for creating nanoporous block-copolymer thin films. Polymer 51 (11), 2376-2382 (2010).
  • Khodadadi, S. et al., Dynamics of Biological Macromolecules: Not a Simple Slaving by Hydration Water. Biophysical Journal 98 (7), 1321-1326 (2010).
  • Roh, J.H. et al., Dynamics of tRNA at Different Levels of Hydration. Biophysical Journal 96 (7), 2755-2762 (2009).
  • Ren, S.Q., Briber, R.M., & Wuttig, M., Self-organized two-dimensional onions (vol 94, 113507, 2009). Applied Physics Letters 94 (25) (2009).
  • Ren, S.Q., Briber, R.M., & Wuttig, M., Self-organized two-dimensional onions. Applied Physics Letters 94 (11) (2009).
  • Moghaddam, S. et al., Metal Ion Dependence of Cooperative Collapse Transitions in RNA. Journal of Molecular Biology 393 (3), 753-764 (2009).
  • Dandu, R. et al., Silk-elastinlike protein polymer hydrogels: Influence of monomer sequence on physicochemical properties. Polymer 50 (2), 366-374 (2009).
  • Akcora, P., Briber, R.M., & Kofinas, P., Oxidation effect on templating of metal oxide nanoparticles within block copolymers. Polymer 50 (5), 1223-1227 (2009).
  • Yun, S.I. et al., Conformation of arborescent polymers in solution by small-angle neutron scattering: Segment density and core-shell morphology. Macromolecules 41 (1), 175-183 (2008).
  • Ren, S.Q., Briber, R.M., & Wuttig, M., Diblock copolymer based self-assembled nanomagnetoelectric. Applied Physics Letters 93 (17) (2008).
  • Woodson, S.A. et al., SAXS studies of RNA folding show a dependence on counterion charge density. Biophysical Journal, 48A-48A (2007).
  • Kim, S., Briber, R.M., Karim, A., Jones, R.L., & Kim, H.C., Environment-controlled spin coating to rapidly orient microdomains in thin block copolymer films. Macromolecules 40 (12), 4102-4105 (2007).
  • Yun, S.I., Briber, R.M., Kee, R.A., & Gauthier, M., Dilute-solution structure of charged arborescent graft polymer. Polymer 47 (8), 2750-2759 (2006).
  • Jones, R., Kim, S., Karim, A., Briber, R.M., & Kim, H.C., Orientation of block copolymer phases within confined environments. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 231 (2006).
  • Caliskan, G. et al., Dynamic transition in tRNA is solvent induced. Journal of the American Chemical Society 128 (1), 32-33 (2006).
  • Akcora, P., Briber, R.M., & Kofinas, P., TEM characterization of diblock copolymer templated iron oxide nanoparticles: Bulk solution and thin film surface doping approach. Polymer 47 (6), 2018-2022 (2006).
  • Zhang, X., Briber, R.M., & Kashiwagi, T., Molecular weight and filler dispersion on the flammability of PMMA/layered silicate nanocomposites. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 230, U3666-U3667 (2005).
  • Magbitang, T. et al., Templating organosilicate vitrification using unimolecular self-organizing polymers: Evolution of morphology and nanoporosity development with network formation. Advanced Materials 17 (8), 1031-+ (2005).
  • Lazzeri, P. et al., Thin-film transformations and volatile products in the formation of nanoporous low-k polymethylsilsesquioxane-based dielectric. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B 23 (3), 908-917 (2005).
  • Chauhan, S. et al., RNA tertiary interactions mediate native collapse of a bacterial group I ribozyme. Journal of Molecular Biology 353 (5), 1199-1209 (2005).
  • Caliskan, G. et al., Persistence length changes dramatically as RNA folds. Physical Review Letters 95 (26), - (2005).
  • Akcora, P., Zhang, X., Varughese, B., Briber, R.M., & Kofinas, P., Structural and magnetic characterization of norbornene-deuterated norbornene dicarboxylic acid diblock copolymers doped with iron oxide nanoparticles. Polymer 46 (14), 5194-5201 (2005).
  • Akcora, P., Briber, R.M., & Kofinas, P., Incorporation of iron oxide nanoparticles into microphase separated poly(norbornene)-block-poly(deuterated norbornene dicarboxylic acid) diblock copolymers. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 230, U3725-U3726 (2005).
  • Zhang, X., Briber, R.M., & Kashiwagi, T., Microstructure and flammability of PMMA/layered silicate nanocomposite. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 228, U423-U423 (2004).
  • Voge, G., Fosser, K., Waldow, D., Briber, R., & Halasa, A., Effect of random and block copolymer additives on a homopolymer blend studied by small-angle neutron scattering. Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics 42 (17), 3191-3203 (2004).
  • Perez-Salas, U.A. et al., Compaction of a bacterial group I ribozyme coincides with the assembly of core helices. Biochemistry 43 (6), 1746-1753 (2004).
  • McDermott, M.K. et al., Mechanical properties of polyurethane film exposed to solutions of nonoxynol-9 surfactant and poly(ethylene glycol). Journal of Applied Polymer Science 91 (2), 1086-1096 (2004).
  • Lazzeri, P. et al., ToF-SIMS studies of nanoporous PMSSQ materials: kinetics and reactions in the processing of low-K dielectrics for ULSI applications. Surface and Interface Analysis 36 (4), 304-310 (2004).
  • Kim, H.C. et al., Effect of molecular architecture of sacrificial porogens on the pore structures of nanoporous organosilicates: A small angle scattering. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 227, U554-U554 (2004).
  • Kashiwagi, T. et al., Flame retardant mechanism of polyamide 6-clay nanocomposites. Polymer 45 (3), 881-891 (2004).
  • Jones, R.L., Indrakanti, A., Briber, R.M., Muller, M., & Kumar, S.K., Phase behavior of ultrathin polymer mixtures. Macromolecules 37 (18), 6676-6679 (2004).
  • Zhang, X., Briber, R.M., Kashiwagi, T., & Harris, R.H., Characterization of changes in the clay platelet distribution in polyamide 6/Clay nanocomposites during combustion by TEM and x-ray diffraction. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 226, U526-U526 (2003).
  • Yun, S.I., Briber, R.M., Kee, R.A., & Gauthier, M., Small-angle neutron scattering of arborescent polystyrene-graft-poly(2-vinylpyridine) copolymers. Polymer 44 (21), 6579-6587 (2003).
  • Perez-Salas, U., Briber, R.M., Rafailovich, M.H., & Sokolov, J., Interfacial fracture toughness between glassy polymer networks. Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics 41 (16), 1902-1908 (2003).
  • Kim, H.C. et al., Neutron reflectivity on nanoporous poly(methylsilsesquioxane) thin films. Chemistry of Materials 15 (3), 609-611 (2003).
  • Feng, H.X., Briber, R.M., Lee, V.Y., Miller, R., & Kim, H.C., Supression of dewetting in polystyrene thin films using nanoparticles. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 226, U519-U519 (2003).

MSE Hosts University Materials Council Spring 2019 Meeting

Chairs from across the country gathered to review MSE activities at UMD.

Wood-based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat

MSE research team develops novel heat-conversion membrane.

Transportation@Maryland Workshop Promotes Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration on Future Mobility Systems

Participants included researchers from 10 colleges and 15 research centers.

MSE Research Team Wins Seed Grant Funding for Novel Sensor Technology

Drs. Oded Rabin, Robert Briber and Xin Zhang will utilize funding to develop fiber-optic sensor.

Prof. Ray Phaneuf Appointed Acting Chair of Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Robert M. Briber named Clark School Associate Dean for Research.

New Software Will Enhance Materials Science and Engineering’s Undergraduate Program

UMD wins one of six computational design toolkits from ASM International.

MSE Announces 2015 Thesis and Dissertation Awards

Gu, Kozen will represent MSE in Dean’s Clark School-level competition.

MSE Alumnus Receives Inaugural Clark School Early Career Award

Nagarajan Valanoor (Ph.D. '01) honored at recent ceremony.

Hu, Leite Named Outstanding Engineer and Scientist of the Year (VIDEO)

Materials Science professors receive awards from the Md. Academy of Sciences and Md. Science Center.

ASPIRE Award Supports Undergrad’s Solar Cell Research

Allen Chang is developing alloyed nanoparticles designed to boost performance, reduce costs.

Clark School Announces MRI Program Award Winners

MRI proposals support strategic, interdisciplinary research areas

2013-2014 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized at annual ceremony.

Nanopaper Featured in Nature Photonics News & Views

Article highlights Hu Group’s recent paper in Nano Letters.

Briber Elected Fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America

Professor recognized for research and service.

Over Half of Tenured MSE Professors Are UMD "Research Leaders"

Division of Research honors faculty for funded research.

Koeth Named Acting Director of Radiation Facilities

Research professor will manage training reactor, irradiator and linear accelerators.

Agilent Gift Funds Exploration of Enhanced Sensor Technology

Novel, patterned-gold SERS substrates could lead to new products.

2012-2013 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized at annual ceremony.

MSE Announces Graduate Research Awards

Cornett, Varongchayakul will advance to compete at Clark School-level.

Kukla Contributes Expertise in Fuel Cell Modeling to New Book

Chapter demonstrates cyclical approach incorporating experimental results.

Air Force Supports Study on Nanopaper for Electronics, Aircraft

Hu wins prestigious Air Force Young Investigator Award.

"Materials of Civilization" Course Featured in Chronicle of Higher Education

Story highlights UMD's innovative general education curriculum.

Rubloff Co-Authors Major DoE Report on Emerging Energy Technologies

Publication focuses on opportunities in mesoscale science.

Cornett, Karki Selected for Sustainable Energy Workshop in Ethiopia

Grad students to attend Joint U.S.-Africa Materials Initiative Materials Research School.

How Technology Choices Affect Us All: I-Course Examines Contexts and Consequences

ENMA 289A designed to fulfill core physical science requirement for students in non-science majors.

Foecke Receives Science Teaching Award

MAST honors MSE adjunct professor for work in educating undergraduates.

MSE Faculty Are UMD "Research Leaders"

Half of department's full-time faculty honored by Division of Research.

Jones, Syed Win NIST-ARRA Fellowships

Undergraduates conducting research at NIST's Material Measurement Lab.

Maryland Hosts Mid-Atlantic Soft Matter Workshop

Interdisciplinary scientists find a "soft and squishy" common ground.

Cumings Promoted

Faculty member becomes Associate Professor, receives tenure, effective July 1.

Daunheimer Wins MSE Graduate Research Award

Student will represent department in college-level competition.

2011-2012 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized by the Department, Clark School, and professional societies.

Hogg Wins Postdoc Poster Symposium

NIST-ARRA fellow recognized for work on using noise to learn more about true signals.

Kozen Selected for Future Faculty Program

Graduate student joins highly selective cohort.

Briber Named 2012-2013 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

Professor recognized for efforts to promote science and engineering education at all levels.

MSE@UMD Grads: The Next Generation of Faculty, Part 3

Shenqiang Ren (Ph.D. '09): The Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas

MSE@UMD Grads: The Next Generation of Faculty, Part 1

Parag Banernjee (Ph.D. '11): Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Washington University in St. Louis.

Cumings Wins Clark School's Junior Faculty Outstanding Research Award

Professor recognized for nanoscale and electron microscopy research.

Jones Wins TMS Scholarship

Materials society invites undergraduate to national meeting to receive award.

UMD, NIST Expand Alliance

Partnership supports students, faculty and postdoc research in nanobiotechnology, cybersecurity, computing, and sensors.

2010-2011 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Students recognized at annual Clark School event.

Briber Marquee Lecture: "Materials of Civilization"

Talks promote public awareness of science's role in society.

Shih Wins NIST-ARRA Fellowship

Grad student studies polymer/nanoparticle system for potential use in biomedical applications.

Takeuchi Elected APS Fellow

Cited for pioneering work in combinatorial materials science.

UMD Hosts Ionizing Radiation and Polymers Symposium

Event chaired by MSE Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly.

$15M Neutron Scattering Collaboration with NIST Renewed

Briber leads effort to develop new instrumentation, measurement techniques.

Metting and Hsieh Take 2nd, 3rd in ACNS Poster Competition

Graduate students' work recognized at 2010 American Conference on Neutron Scattering.

First Measurement Science Fellowship Positions Announced

New program funded by $15.5 million award from NIST.

NIST Awards UM $15.5 Million in Fellowships

Program to benefit Clark School undergraduate and graduate students, research programs.

2009-2010 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Students recognized at annual Clark School event.

Biofuel Technologies Featured on CBS News

Segment highlights poplar research, Zymetis' cellulose-digesting bacterium.

Briber, Watson Receive MIPS Funding for Work with Zymetis

Program awards over $100K to further development of solvent used in biofuel production.

Briber, Oehrlein Courses Selected for I-Series

Faculty bring innovative science education to non-majors.

Oehrlein, Arsenault Highly Cited Worldwide

Professors featured on Thomson Reuters' ISIHighlyCited.com.

Non-Majors Delve Into Materials Science

Marquee Course demonstrates how materials science has shaped civilization.

5 Professors Named 2009 Research Leaders

Faculty honored by university for bringing substantial sponsored research funds to campus.

MSE Affiliate, Collaborator Named Director of ISR

Ghodssi to take office October 1.

2008-2009 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Students recognized at annual Clark School event.

Ren Wins Dean's Doctoral Research Award

Grad student takes 1st place and $1500 prize.

Ren Wins Inaugural MSE Doctoral Thesis Award

Student recognized for research in multiferroic nanocomposite materials.

Materials and Interface Nanotechnology Laboratory Opens

Research will include work on nanoparticles, nanowires.

6 Professors Named 2008 Research Leaders

Briber, Phaneuf, Rabin, Rubloff, Takeuchi and Wuttig honored at luncheon.

Shin Selected for National School on Neutron, X-ray Scattering

Grad student will attend 2-week program at Argonne, Oak Ridge.

Briber Re-Appointed MSE Chair

2nd term begins July 1.

Briber Presents at ACNS Plenary Session

Covers past, present and future of soft matter and neutron scattering.

Bruce to Attend NSF Program in Australia

Program fosters collaborations, provides project leadership training.

Open House Attracts Prospective Students, MSE Majors

Guests introduced to MSE faculty, program, facilities and students.

Undergraduate Honors and Awards Recipients, 2007-2008

MSE recognizes Tapp, Senagore and Heikes.

Collaboration on Copolymers Between NIST and U-Md. in the News

Advances in block copolymer research may lead to new microelectronics.

Graduate Society Receives MRS Charter

Group recognized at Fall Meeting.

NSF Boosts Nanotech Curriculum

MSE, ME faculty and staff develop new lessons, teaching lab.

MSE Faculty Continues to Produce "Research Leaders"

Professors honored for their efforts to bring sponsored research funds to campus.

New Hydrogen Storage Materials to Fuel Next-Generation Vehicles

Clark School/NIST Collaboration works to make hydrogen fuel a practical reality.

Briber Teaches New "Marquee Course"

Course examines how new materials have shaped history.

MSE Undergraduates Honored

Clark School Honors and Awards Ceremony 2006-2007

5 MSE Professors Recognized for Sponsored Research

Briber, Oehrlein, Phaneuf, Rubloff, and Wuttig honored at luncheon.

Briber Participates In Project Supported By $14M NSF Grant

MSE Professor and Chair will subcontract for CalTech.

NanoCenter Funding Means Major Advances for MSE Department

New equipment and expanded capabilities to come.

New Chair for Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Robert M. Briber will assume the position of chair of the materials science and engineering department, effective July 1, 2003.

  • Neutron Scattering Society of America