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Faculty Profile (Emeritus)

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Edward D. Wolf

  • Edward D. Wolf
  • Dept: Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Title: Emeritus (1991). Director, National Research and Resource Facility for Submicron Structures, NRRFSS (1978-1986). National Nanofabrication Facility, NNF (1986-1988); now Cornell NanoScale Facility, CNF
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Professor Wolf spent fifteen years in the aerospace industry, first at the Rockwell International Science Center exploring thermionic energy conversion using electron field emission microscopy. He then moved to the Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu where he led a pioneering effort in scanning electron beam diagnostics and microfabrication (key enablers later for nanotechnology). He became a senior scientist and section head of electron beam surface physics and was awarded Fellow of the IEEE for his research while at Hughes.

He joined Cornell University in 1978 as professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and first director of the National Research and Resource Facility for Submicron Structures (NRRFSS) and later National Nanofabrication Facility (NNF). Wolf's research interests included electron and ion beam processing of materials and submicron devices including advanced lithography and chemically assisted ion beam etching. He was a member of the graduate faculty of ECE, AP&E and MS&E at Cornell. In 1986 Dr. Wolf co-founded Biolistics, Inc., to develop the gene gun instrumentation and methodology. DuPont acquired Biolistics' gene gun technology rights in 1990, which were originally licensed from Cornell Research Foundation.

Wolf was visiting fellow commoner, Trinity College and visiting professor, Department of Engineering, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, during 1986-87 sponsored by Prof. A.N. Broers, now Lord Broers. He was also a guest professor at Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria, and visiting scientist at Ion Microfabrication Systems, Vienna. While abroad on his sabbatical leave he was an invited speaker at numerous institutes and universities where the experience and lessons learned at NRRFSS/NNF were relevant to their own plans for similar emerging centers. He became professor emeritus in 1991.

He returned to Cornell University in 1995 to serve for two years as founding director of the Cornell Office for Technology Access and Business Assistance, Office of the Vice-President for Research. He served as a director (2003-2010) of Novelx, Inc., Lafayette, CA, which miniaturized the thermal field-emitter (TFE) scanning electron microscope now manufactured and sold by Keysight Technologies.

Selected Publications

  • Wolf, Edward D. 1989. "Nanofabrication: Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Research." Microelectronic Engineering 9, (1989) 5-11. Invited Plenary Paper presented at Microcircuit Engineering 88, September 1988, Vienna, Austria.
  • Plimpton, S.J., Edward D. Wolf. 1990. "Effect of inter-atomic potential on simulated grain-boundary and bulk diffusion: a molecular dynamics study." Physical Reviews B(5) 2712-21.
  • Sanford, John C., Edward D. Wolf, Nelson K. Allen. 1990. "Method for transporting substances into living cells and tissues." US Patent 4,945,050. Assignee: Cornell Research Foundation Inc.
  • Tahanyi, P., D.K. Wagner, A.J. Roza, H.J. Vollmer, C.M. Harding, Edward D. Wolf. 1987. "High-power AlGaAs/GaAs single quantum well lasers with chemically assisted ion beam etched mirrors." Applied Physics Letters 50(23) 1640-1641.
  • Chinn, J.D., I. Adesida, Edward D. Wolf. 1983. "Chemically assisted ion-beam etching for submicron structures." Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B1(4) 1028-1032.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fellow (American Institute of Chemists) 1971; Fellow (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) 1977
  • Who's Who in America 1984
  • Visiting Fellow Commoner (Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England) 1986
  • Visiting Foreign Fellow (Erwin Schrodinger Gesellschaft fur Microwissenschaften, Vienna, Austria) 1987
  • Permanent Collection: Biolistics Particle Gun (Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History) 1991


  • Kansas State University, 1953
  • BS (Chemistry), McPherson College, 1957
  • Ph D (Physical Chemistry), Iowa State University, 1961
  • Post Doctoral Studies Princeton University, 1962
  • Post Doctoral Studies University of California, Berkeley, 1968