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Marina Ruths

image of Marina Ruths
Professor Marina RuthsProfessor
  • College
    College of Sciences
  • Department
  • Phone
    (978) 934-3692
  • Fax
    (978) 934-3013
  • Office
    Olney Hall - 216a
  • Email

Research Interests

Interfacial and surface forces; adhesion; friction (nanotribology)

Forces and nanoscopic friction in confined systems containing adsorbed polymers, biopolymers, polyelectrolytes, liquid crystals, and self-assembled monolayers;

Effects of surface roughness and strength of adhesion on nanoscopic friction.

Direct measurements of forces and friction with the Surface Forces Apparatus (SFA) technique and with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).


  • Ph D: Chemistry, (1996), University of California, Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Time-Dependent Interactions in Polymer and Liquid Crystal Systems
  • : Filosofie licentiat: Physical Chemistry, (1992), Åbo Akademi University - Finland
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Ytaktiva ämnens association in lösning och på fasta ytor (Association of surface active compounds in solution and on solid surfaces)
  • MS: Physical Chemistry, (1990), Åbo Akademi University - Finland
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Sammansättningen av faserna i det jonogena mikroemulsionssystemet 0,5 m NaCl(aq)–natriumdodekylsulfat–cyklohexan–bensylalkohol (Composition of the phases in the ionic microemulsion system 0.5 m NaCl(aq)–sodium dodecylsulfate–cyclohexane–benzyl alcohol)


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

Selected Awards and Honors

  • NSF CAREER Award (2007), Scholarship/Research - National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • US-Japan Young Researcher Exchange Program for Nanotechnology and Nanomanufacturing (2006)
  • Fellowship for research abroad (at the Institute for Surface Chemistry, YKI, Sweden) (2004), Scholarship/Research - The Academy of Finland
  • Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (The Max Planck Society), fellowship (2000), Scholarship/Research - Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany.
  • Humboldt Research Fellowship (1998), Scholarship/Research - Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • fellowship for research at University of California, Santa Barbara (1995) - The Academy of Finland
  • Fellowships for Ph.D. studies and research at UC Santa Barbara (1992), Scholarship/Research - Neste Oy Foundation, Finland
  • ASLA-Fulbright Study Grant (1991), Scholarship/Research - Finland-US Educational Exchange Commission

Selected Publications

  • Yu, J., Jackson, N., Xu, X., Morgenstern, Y., Kaufman, Y., Ruths, M., de Pablo, J., Tirrell, M. (2018). Multivalent counterions diminish the lubricity of polyelectrolyte brushes. Science, 360 1434-1438.
  • Yu, J., Jackson, N.E., Xu, X., Brettman, B.K., Ruths, M., de Pablo, J.J., Tirrell, M. (2017). Multivalent ions induce lateral structural inhomogeneities in polyelectrolyte brushes. Science Advances, 3 eaao1497.
  • Wang, P., Su, J., Shen, M., Ruths, M., Sun, H. (2017). Detection of Liquid Penetration into a Micropillar Surface Using Quartz Crystal Microbalance. Langmuir, 33 638-644.
  • Israelachvili, J., Ruths, M. (2013). Brief History of Intermolecular and Intersurface Forces in Complex Fluid Systems. Langmuir, 29(31) 9605-9619.
  • Ruths, M., Zappone, B. (2012). Direct Nanomechanical Measurement of an Anchoring Transition in a Nematic Liquid Crystal Subject to Hybrid Anchoring Conditions. Langmuir, 28(22) 8371-8383.
  • Yang, Y., Ruths, M. (2009). Friction of Polyaromatic Thiol Monolayers in Adhesive and Nonadhesive Contacts. Langmuir, 25(20) 12151-12159.
  • Zappone, B., Ruths, M., Greene, G.W., Jay, G.D., Israelachvili, J.N. (2007). Adsorption, Lubrication, and Wear of Lubricin on Model Surfaces: Polymer Brush-Like Behavior of a Glycoprotein. Biophysical journal, 92(5) 1693-1708.
  • Gao, J., Luedtke, W.D., Gourdon, D., Ruths, M., Israelachvili, J.N., Landman, U. (2004). Frictional Forces and Amontons Law: From the Molecular to the Macroscopic Scale. (Invited Feature Article). Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 108 3410-3425.
  • Berg, S., Ruths, M., Johannsmann, D. (2002). High-Frequency Measurements of Interfacial Friction Using Quartz Crystal Resonators Integrated into a Surface Forces Apparatus. Physical Review E, 65 026119.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Making Waves (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM): Disrupting Microaggressions to Propagate Institutional Transformation (2016), Grant - NSF
    Haynes, M.C. (Co-Principal), Bond, M.A. (Co-Principal), Ruths, M. (Co-Principal), Sobkowicz Kline, M.J. (Co-Principal), Chen, J. (Co-Principal), Maloney, J. (Principal)
  • Preparation and Tribological Characterization of Textured Surfaces (2015), - L'Oreal
    Ruths, M. (Principal)
  • Manufacturing of Hydrocarbon Fuels from Sunlight, Carbon Dioxide and Water with Metal Nanostructures: Mechanistic Investigations to Improve Performance (2012), Grant - National Science Foundation (NSF)
    Ruths, M. (Co-Principal)
  • Sensing Mechanism and Persistence of Semiconductor Gas Sensors on Nanostructured Surfaces (2010), Grant - National Science Foundation (NSF)
    Ruths, M. (Co-Principal)
  • CAREER: Adhesion and Friction in Multi-Asperity (2007), Grant - National Science Foundation (NSF)
    Ruths, M. (Principal)
  • Controlled-Roughness Surfaces for Studies of Adhesion and Friction in Multi-Asperity Contact (2006), Grant - Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
    Ruths, M.
  • Friction of Self-Assembled Polyaromatic Monolayers (Grant #45101-G5) (2006), Grant - The Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) (American Chemical Society, ACS)
    Ruths, M. (Principal)
  • Travel grant for bilateral researcher exchange in cooperation with Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service), Germany (2001), Grant - The Academy of Finland
    Ruths, M.