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Marina Ruths

Marina Ruths, Ph.D. Associate Professor


Surface & Colloid Chemistry

Research Interest

My research interests are in the fields of static and dynamic surface and colloid interactions, adhesion, friction, and nano-rheology (nano-tribology) of complex fluid systems. The focus of my work is on time- and rate-dependent interactions in confined, molecularly thin films, both at a fundamental level and in systems of technological interest such as lubricants and adhesives. The characteristics of such systems arise from a sensitive interplay between molecular shape (conformation, branching), interaction forces between the film molecules, and the structure (chemical composition, interaction forces, wettability, and roughness) of the confining surfaces. My work involves fundamental and applied studies—on the nano- and mesoscale—of attractive and repulsive normal forces as a function of surface separation (in air or in fluids), contact mechanics and rate-dependent adhesion of modified surfaces, and pressure- and shear-induced transitions in confined systems.

Educational Background

M.Sc. (Chemistry), Abo Akademi University, Abo (Turku), Finland

Ph.D. (Chemistry), University of California, Santa Barbara


Dr. Marina Ruths received her M.Sc. in Chemistry and “Filosofie licentiat” in Physical Chemistry at Abo Akademi University in Finland. She obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Subsequently, she was a postdoctoral researcher in Materials Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and at the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. She has also done postdoctoral research at the Department of Physical Chemistry at Abo Akademi University, Finland, and at the Chemical and Engineering Industries Section of the Institute for Surface Chemistry (YKI) in Stockholm, Sweden. She joined the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2005.

She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant for graduate studies and several scholarships for research abroad from the Academy of Finland, a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1998) and an NSF CAREER Award (2007).