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Michael McMaster, PhD is an Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of Instructional Labs in the Physics Department at Duquesne University, where his focus is teaching laboratory/ experimental skills. His research expertise is in condensed matter experimental and modern optics research with a focus on developing optical or electronic (or optoelectronic) applications for advanced, bio-based, thin-film, and/or composite materials. Throughout his research he has gained experience in many useful fabrication and characterization techniques, including physical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, uv-vis spectroscopy, optical profilometry, x-ray diffraction, broadband dielectric spectroscopy, and etc. 

Before coming to Duquesne, Dr. McMaster worked as an optical engineer at a data-storage start-up, focused on finding optical solutions for data storage. His responsibilities predominantly revolved around the optical design, construction, alignment and operation of an optical disc test system. He also spent a year as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Netherlands doing Atomic Layer Deposition. 

Additionally, as a graduate student he assembled, lead, and still participates in a multidisciplinary collaboration that seeks to understand if 3D scans of early-modern paintings contain information about the painters’ artistic style, taking advantage of advances in machine learning for data processing. The goal of this project is to provide a useful method for art historians and conservators studying workshop paintings. 

Dr. McMaster’s personal interests include reading novels, playing disc golf, noodling around with electronic music production, and playing magic the gathering. He spends most of his free time with his family.


  • Ph.D., Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, Case Western Reserve University, 2019
  • B.A. Physics and Mathematics, Youngstown State University, 2014



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