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CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center


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Dr. James W. Mitchell

Research Interests

Materials Chemistry, Characterization Science and Chemical Engineering

Characterization and Synthesis of Nanomaterials

Image and Distribution of Nanogram Levels of Elements by Nuclear  Techniques

Ultrapurification and Analysis of Electronic and Photonic Materials

Microwave Plasma Induced Materials and Analytical Chemistry

In situ Generation Chemistry and Environmentally Optimized Processing

Currently, Mitchell’s research focuses on the characterization, synthesis and processing of ultrapure nanomaterials at Howard University, where he is the David and Lucille Packard Professor of Materials Science and the Director of the CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center. His group explores the use of microwaves, high energy electrons and electrochemistry as clean energy sources for the synthesis of nanomaterials in pristine biocompatible media. Characterization research for the broadly based analysis and processing of nanomaterials and device structures is a major objective. Mitchell's research programs at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he retired as Vice President of Communication Materials Research, exploited  microwave discharges and plasmas for the synthesis of materials, developing methods for the ultrapurification of optical waveguide reagents and research chemicals, and developing alternative environmentally responsive chemical engineering methods for producing electronic chemicals. He pioneered chemical methods for ultratrace analyses that first permitted quantitative X-ray fluorescence to be applied at the parts per billion level for the analysis of ultrapure materials. At the sub-part per billion level, he introduced chemical reagent systems for determining more than 40 trace elements amenable to neutron activation analysis.  He developed and applied these methods to establish the materials characterization chemistry for optical waveguide technology. For the invention of novel instruments and processes for the characterization and fabrication of materials for optical fiber and device technology, he received the Bell Laboratories Research Fellow Award in 1985.In 1989 he was inducted into the materials engineering section of the National Academy of Engineering, and awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.



Howard University

2010, Dean, College of Engineering

2009, Director, Crest Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center

2005, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

2003, Director, CREST Nanomaterials Characterization Science and Processing  Technology Center

2002, David and Lucille Packard Professor of Materials Science, Adjunct

Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories

2001, Vice President, Communications Materials Research Laboratory

1997, Director, Materials Processing Research Laboratory

1995, Director, Materials Reliability and Ecology Research Laboratory

AT&T Bell Laboratories

1994, Head, Process and Chemical Engineering Research Department

1985, Research Fellow

1975, Head, Analytical Chemistry Research

1972-75, Supervisor, Inorganic Analytical Group

1970-72, Member of Technical Staff



1970, Ph.D  Iowa State University ,Ames

1965, BS  NC A&T State University, Greensboro


Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, 1962

Beta Kappa Chi Honor Society, 1963

Sigma Xi Honor Society, 1969

Pharmacia Industrial Analytical Chemistry Award, 1978

Percy L. Julian Research Award, 1981

IR-100 Award, 1982

Bell Laboratories Research Fellow, 1985

IR-100 Award, 1989

National Academy of Engineering, 1989

Black Engineer of the Year, 1993

George Washington Carver Visiting professor, Iowa State University, 1994

Honorary Doctorate of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1995

NSBE Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award, 1999

African Science Institute, 2004

Giants in Science Award, 2006

Tau Beta Pi, 2010


National Academy of Engineering, Materials Engineering Section

Materials Research Society

American Chemical Society

Directors of Industrial Research, Analytical Chemistry Group

New York Academy of Science

National Organization for Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers

National Society of Black Engineers

American Institute of Chemist, Fellow


Board of Trustees of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Board of Trustees of Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Engineering Advisory Board

Industrial Advisory Board of New York Technical College

Editorial Board, Mikrochimica Acta

Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board

National Research Council Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

National Research Council Commission on Physical Science and Mathematics Applications

Editorial Board, Analytical Chemistry

Professional and Educational Service

AAAS, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Ecology and Sustainability)

International Benchmarking of U.S. Research Fields Materials Science Panel

Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee, DOE

ACS Committee on Budget and Finance

ACS Board Committee on Minority Affairs

ACS Committee on Public Affairs

ACS Willard Gibbs Medal Awards Committee

NAE Committee on Human Rights

New Jersey Science Education Network

National Institute of Standards and Technology Visiting Committee

MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for Chemistry Department 


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (selected from 80 peer-reviewed publications).


1.     L Sun, LC Chow, JE Bonevich, T Wang, JW Mitchell, “A New Approach to Prepare Well-dispersed CaF2 Nanoparticles by Spray Drying Technique”,  J. Biomed. Mater. Res. Part A (2010), accepted.

2.     T. Wang, J.W. Mitchell, H. Börner, H. Cölfen, M. Antonietti. “BaCO3 Mesocrystals: New Morphologies Using Peptide–Polymer Conjugates as Crystallization Modifiers”. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 12, 11984 (2010).

3.     J W Mitchell and B S Carpenter, “Determination of PPB Level Distribution of Uranium in an Epoxy Polymer”, Anal. Chem.,78 (19),6955-6958 (2006).

4.     J.W. Mitchell and R. A. Holland, “Microwave Plasma Generation of Nitride Reagents”, Materials Letters, 60 (12), 1524-1526 (2006).

5.     J.W. Mitchell and A. Addagada, “Chemistry of Proton Track Registration in Cellulose Nitrate Polymers”, J. Rad. Phys. Chem., 76, 691-698 (2007).


6.     C. C. Perry, T. Brower, C. Zhang, E. Waddell, C. Bates Jr., J.W. Mitchell, “Chemical Etching of Nanocomposite Metal Semiconductor Films Monitored by Raman Spectroscopy and Surface Probe Microscopy”, SPIE, V 6891, p689116-1 (2008)

7.     D. Ibitayo, L. Everhart, M. Morgenstern, B. Geil, J.W. Mitchell, “Reliability Assessment of Lead-free Universal Solder for Direct Bonding in Power Electronics Packaging”, IEEE Electronics Packaging Technology,978,p4244 (2008)

8.     J. Fortunak, J. W. Mitchell,“An Evaluation of Microcrystalline Cellulose from Nigerian Elephant Grass; Efficient Processing of MCC”, Journal of BioResources (accepted).

9.     M. Mosleh, T. Gabre, J. Calliste, J.W. Mitchell, “Friction of Silver Coatings Prepared by Electrophoretic Deposition”, International Journal of Surface Science and Engineering, (accepted).