Robert M. Westervelt

Robert M. Westervelt

  • Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics and of Physics
  • Director, Center for Nanoscale Systems


Robert Westervelt received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977. Following a postdoctoral appointment at Berkeley, he moved to Harvard University, where he is currently Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics & Physics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Westervelt's group investigates the quantum behavior of electrons inside nanoscale semiconductor structures, and develops tools for the manipulation of biological systems.

In mesoscopic physics, the group has developed liquid-helium cooled scanning probe microscopes that can image electron motion through nanoscale devices. They visualized the flow of electron waves through a two-dimensional electron gas (Topinka et al. 2003), constructed an imaging electron interferometer (LeRoy et al. 2005), imaged cyclotron orbits in a magnetic field (Aidala et al. 2007) and universal conductrance fluctuations in graphene (Berezovsky et al. 2010). They have used the conducting tip as a movable gate to control a one-electron quantum dot formed in a GaAs heterostructure (Fallahi et al. 2005) and a InAs/InP nanowire (Bleszynski et al. 2008). In related research, they have developed tunnel-coupled quantum dots and studied their behavior as artificial molecules (Livermore et al. 1996) and tested superconducting Josephson junctions formed in Ge/Si nanowires (Xiang et al. 2006).

On the bioengineering side, Westervelt's group has developed hybrid Integrated Circuit / Microfluidic chips that combine the power of CMOS technology with the biocompatibility of microfluidics (Issadore & Westervelt, 2013, and Lee, Ham & Westervelt, 2007). These devices act as programmable microfluidic systems that can trap, move, sort, and assemble biological cells and small particles in fluids.

Robert Westervelt is Director of the Harvard Center for Nanoscale Systems.   Previously he served as Director of the NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center based at Harvard with partners at MIT, UC Santa Barbara and the Museum of Science, Boston, as Director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and as Co-Director of the Joint Services Electronics Program, both at Harvard.

Contact Information

Nickname: Bob
Office:234 Pierce Hall
Office Phone:(617) 495-3296
Lab Name:Westervelt Research Group
Lab Location:200 - 214 McKay
Lab Phone:(617) 495-9598
Assistant:Naomi Brave
Assistant Office:Pierce Hall 228
Assistant Phone:617/495-1027

Primary Teaching Area

Positions & Employment

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Physics

  Present: Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics and Physics