Alex Zettl received his B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1978 and his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1983. He joined the Physics Department faculty at UC Berkeley in 1983. Currently he is Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley and Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He directs the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS) and co-directs the Berkeley Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Institute (BNNI).
Zettl's research interests are in experimental condensed matter physics. He synthesizes and characterizes novel materials with unusual electronic and magnetic ground states, including low-dimensional and nanoscale structures. Examples are charge- and spin-density-wave conductors, superconductors, fullerenes, nanotubes, and monolayer two-dimensional systems such as graphene and boron nitride. The experimental characterization techniques he employs include transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy, and the examination of general transport and other response coefficients such as dc and high frequency conductivity, Hall effect, thermal conductivity, thermopower, high-field magnetotransport, high pressure effects, and elastic modulus.
Awards and Honors for Zettl include Presidential Young Investigator Award (1984-89), Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1984-86), IBM Faculty Development Award (1985-87), Miller Professorship (1995 and 2007), Lucent Technologies Faculty Award (1996), Fellow of the American Physical Society (1999), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Outstanding Performance Award (1995 and 2004), R&D 100 Award (2004 and 2010), James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials (2006), Feyman Prize in Nanotechnology (2014), Membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014).