Materials Scientist
Materials Scientist


Dr. Steven R. Spurgeon is a research staff scientist in the Energy and Environment Directorate’s Materials Characterization group and co-leader for the Functional Materials Use Case of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Chemical Dynamics Initiative (CDi). He also holds an affiliate appointment as an associate professor of physics at the University of Washington. His research is focused on data-driven approaches to study the structure, properties, and behavior of nanoscale materials systems for energy, next-generation electronics, and quantum computing. Dr. Spurgeon is an expert in the characterization of functional materials using scanning transmission electron microscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, and image simulations.  His research employs complementary, multidimensional analysis techniques and theory calculations to generate deep insight into the behavior of complex materials systems. He is at the forefront of developing advanced machine learning techniques to enable autonomous experimentation for transformative discovery.

Dr. Spurgeon is the recipient of awards from the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, Materials Research Society, and Microscopy Society of America. He is the author of over 50 articles and book chapters, as well as multiple patent applications, and he has contributed to the development of several software packages for image analysis and machine learning. He has broad experience leading multidisciplinary teams to deliver unique science and solutions to government, academia, and industry.

Research Interest

  • Structure-property relationships in functional materials systems, including multiferroics, spintronics, oxides, alloys, and nanoparticles
  • Defect-mediated phenomena at interfaces and phase boundaries
  • Multiscale materials analysis combining correlative experiments with theory calculations
  • Development of advanced electron microscopy techniques to visualize nanoscale systems

Disciplines and Skills

  • Science of property-defining defects in nanomaterials
  • Data-driven design and characterization of materials
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automated experimentation
  • Scanning transmission electron microscopy
  • Electron energy loss spectroscopy


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, PNNL, 2015-2017
  • PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University, 2014
  • BS in Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2009

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Chair, Aberration-Corrected Electron Microscopy Committee, Microscopy Society of America
  • Member, User Executive Committee, Molecular Foundry
  • Member, Proposal Review Board, Molecular Foundry
  • Member, American Physical Society
  • Member, Materials Research Society
  • Member, Microscopy Society of America

Awards and Recognitions

  • Innovation in Research Award, PNNL, 2021
  • Directorate Core Values Award, PNNL, 2020
  • Outstanding Performance Award, PNNL (2018)
  • Pathway to Excellence Award, PNNL (2017)
  • Postdoctoral Research Award, Microscopy Society of America (2016)
  • Gold Graduate Student Research Award, Materials Research Society (2013)
  • Presidential Student Award, Microscopy Society of America (2013)
  • National Defense Science & Engineering Fellowship, Department of Defense (2011-2014)



  • Doty C., S. Gallagher, W. Cui, W. Chen, S. Bhushan, M.T. Oostrom, and S.M. Akers, et al. 2022. "Design of a Graphical User Interface for Few-Shot Machine Learning Classification of Electron Microscopy Data." Computational Materials Science 203. PNNL-SA-164356. doi:10.1016/j.commatsci.2021.111121


  • Akers S.M., E.J. Kautz, A. Trevino-Gavito, M.J. Olszta, B.E. Matthews, L. Wang, and Y. Du, et al. 2021. "Rapid and Flexible Segmentation of Electron Microscopy Data Using Few-Shot Machine Learning." npj Computational Materials 7. PNNL-SA-160786. doi:10.1038/s41524-021-00652-z
  • Bard A., X. Zhou, X. Xia, G. Zhu, M.B. Lim, S. Kim, and M.C. Johnson, et al. 2021. "Reply to Comment on “A Mechanistic Understanding of Nonclassical Crystal Growth in Hydrothermally Synthesized Sodium Yttrium Fluoride Nanowires”." Chemistry of Materials 33, no. 10:3862-3864. PNNL-SA-160782. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c04469
  • Blanchet M., J. Heath, T.C. Kaspar, B.E. Matthews, S.R. Spurgeon, M.E. Bowden, and S.M. Heald, et al. 2021. "Electronic and Structural Properties of Single-crystal Jahn-Teller Active Co1+xMn2-xO4 Thin Films." Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 33, no. 12:124002. PNNL-SA-156954. doi:10.1088/1361-648X/abd573
  • Chrysler M., J. Gabel, T. Lee, A. Penn, B.E. Matthews, D.M. Kepaptsoglou, and Q. Ramasse, et al. 2021. "Tuning band alignment at a semiconductor-crystalline oxide heterojunction via electrostatic modulation of the interfacial dipole." Physical Review Materials 5, no. 10:104603. PNNL-SA-163062. doi:10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.5.104603
  • Kaspar T.C., S.R. Spurgeon, B.E. Matthews, M.E. Bowden, S.M. Heald, L. Wang, and R. Kelley, et al. 2021. "Incorporation of Ti in epitaxial Fe2TiO4 thin films." Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 33, no. 31:Article No. 314004. PNNL-SA-160885. doi:10.1088/1361-648X/ac0571
  • Matthews B.E., M. Sassi, C.M. Barr, C. Ophus, T.C. Kaspar, W. Jiang, and K. Hattar, et al. 2021. "Percolation of Ion-Irradiation-Induced Disorder in Complex Oxide Interfaces." Nano Letters 21, no. 12:5353-5359. PNNL-SA-161595. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c01651
  • Spurgeon S.R., C. Ophus, L. Jones, A.K. Petford-Long, S.V. Kalinin, M.J. Olszta, and R. Dunin-Borkowski, et al. 2021. "Towards Data-Driven Next-Generation Transmission Electron Microscopy." Nature Materials 20. PNNL-SA-152427. doi:10.1038/s41563-020-00833-z
  • Wang L., P.P. Adiga, J. Zhao, W.S. Samarakoon, K.A. Stoerzinger, S.R. Spurgeon, and B.E. Matthews, et al. 2021. "Understanding the Electronic Structure Evolution of Epitaxial LaNi1-xFexO3 Thin Films for Water Oxidation." Nano Letters 21, no. 19:8324-8331. PNNL-SA-163586. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c02901
  • Yu X., J. Yao, B.E. Matthews, S.R. Spurgeon, S.L. Riechers, G.J. Sevigny, and Z. Zhu, et al. 2021. "Evidence of lithium mobility under neutron irradiation." Journal of Materials Research and Technology 14. PNNL-SA-159010. doi:10.1016/j.jmrt.2021.06.066


  • Bard A., X. Zhou, X. Xia, G. Zhu, M.B. Lim, S. Kim, and M.C. Johnson, et al. 2020. "A Mechanistic Understanding of Nonclassical Crystal Growth in Hydrothermally Synthesized Sodium Yttrium Fluoride Nanowires." Chemistry of Materials 32, no. 7:2753-2763. PNNL-SA-147967. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.9b04076
  • Durnev M., M. Glazov, X. Linpeng, M. Viitaniemi, B.E. Matthews, S.R. Spurgeon, and P.V. Sushko, et al. 2020. "Microscopic model for the stacking-fault potential and the exciton wave function in GaAs." Physical Review B 101, no. 12:Article No. 125420. PNNL-SA-148814. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.101.125420
  • Jiang W., S.R. Spurgeon, B.E. Matthews, A.K. Battu, S. China, T. Varga, and A. Devaraj, et al. 2020. "Carbonaceous deposits on aluminide coatings in tritium-producing assemblies." Nuclear Materials and Energy 25. PNNL-SA-153196. doi:10.1016/j.nme.2020.100797
  • Popel A., S.R. Spurgeon, B.E. Matthews, M.J. Olszta, B.T. Tan, T. Gouder, and R. Eloiridi, et al. 2020. "An Atomic-Scale Understanding of UO2 Surface Evolution During Anoxic Dissolution." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 12, no. 35:39781-39786. PNNL-SA-152605. doi:10.1021/acsami.0c09611
  • Scafetta M., T.C. Kaspar, M.E. Bowden, S.R. Spurgeon, B.E. Matthews, and S.A. Chambers. 2020. "Reversible Oxidation Quantified by Optical Properties in Epitaxial Fe2CrO4+d Films on (001) MgAl2O4." ACS Omega 5, no. 7:3240-3249. PNNL-SA-143728. doi:10.1021/acsomega.9b03299
  • Spurgeon S.R. 2020. "Order-Disorder Behavior at Thin Film Oxide Interfaces." Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science 24, no. 6:100870. PNNL-SA-154843. doi:10.1016/j.cossms.2020.100870
  • Wang L., Z. Yang, M.E. Bowden, J.W. Freeland, P.V. Sushko, S.R. Spurgeon, and B.E. Matthews, et al. 2020. "Hole-Trapping-Induced Stabilization of Ni4+ in SrNiO3/ LaFeO3 Superlattices." Advanced Materials 32, no. 45:2005003. PNNL-SA-152538. doi:10.1002/adma.202005003


  • Kaspar T.C., C.L. Arendt, D.L. Neal, S.L. Riechers, C.E. Rutherford, A.L. Schemer-Kohrn, and S.R. Spurgeon, et al. 2019. "Characterization of surface layers formed on DU10Mo ingots after processing steps and high humidity exposure." Journal of Nuclear Materials 514. PNNL-SA-136846. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2018.11.022
  • Kaspar T.C., P.V. Sushko, S.R. Spurgeon, M.E. Bowden, D.J. Keavney, R.B. Comes, and S. Saremi, et al. 2019. "Electronic structure and band alignment of LaMnO3 / SrTiO3 polar / non-polar heterojunctions." Advanced Materials Interfaces 6, no. 1:1801428. PNNL-SA-137669. doi:10.1002/admi.201801428
  • Sassi M., T.C. Kaspar, K.M. Rosso, and S.R. Spurgeon. 2019. "Effect of structure and composition on the electronic excitation induced amorphization of La2Ti2-xZrxO7 ceramics." Scientific Reports 9, no. 1:Article No. 8190. PNNL-SA-139722. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44621-5
  • Scafetta M., Z. Yang, S.R. Spurgeon, M.E. Bowden, T.C. Kaspar, S.M. Heald, and S.A. Chambers. 2019. "Epitaxial growth and atomic arrangement in Fe2CrO4 on crystal symmetry matched (001) MgAl2O4." Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A--Vacuum, Surfaces and Films 37, no. 3:Article number 031511. PNNL-SA-141354. doi:10.1116/1.5093537
  • Spurgeon S.R., M. Sassi, C. Ophus, J. Stubbs, E.S. Ilton, and E.C. Buck. 2019. "Nanoscale Oxygen Defect Gradients in UO2+x Surfaces." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116, no. 35:17181-17186. PNNL-SA-141717. doi:10.1073/pnas.1905056116


  • Chambers S.A., Y. Du, Z. Zhu, J. Wang, M.J. Wahila, L.J. Piper, and A. Prakash, et al. 2018. "Interconversion of intrinsic defects in SrTiO3(001)." Physical Review B 97, no. 24:245204. PNNL-SA-131613. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.97.245204
  • Gilbert D., A.J. Grutter, P. Murray, R.V. Chopdekar, A. Kane, A. Ionin, and M.S. Lee, et al. 2018. "Ionic Tuning of Cobaltites at the Nanoscale." Physical Review Materials 2, no. 10:Article No. 104402. PNNL-SA-126852. doi:10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.2.104402
  • Jiang W., S.R. Spurgeon, J. Liu, D.K. Schreiber, H. Jung, A. Devaraj, and D.J. Edwards, et al. 2018. "Precipitates and voids in cubic silicon carbide implanted with 25Mg+ ions." Journal of Nuclear Materials 498. PNNL-SA-124406. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2017.10.046
  • Jiang W., S.R. Spurgeon, Z. Zhu, X. Yu, K. Kruska, T. Wang, and J.G. Gigax, et al. 2018. "Chemical imaging and diffusion of hydrogen and lithium in lithium aluminate." Journal of Nuclear Materials 511. PNNL-SA-134630. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2018.08.057
  • Lin S., C. Kuo, R.B. Comes, J. Rault, J. Rueff, S. Nemsak, and A. Taleb, et al. 2018. "Interface properties and built-in potential profile of a LaCrO3/SrTiO3 superlattice determined by standing-wave excited photoemission spectroscopy." Physical Review B 98, no. 16:165124. PNNL-SA-131974. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.98.165124
  • Spurgeon S.R., and S.A. Chambers. 2018. "Atomic-Scale Characterization of Oxide Interfaces and Superlattices Using Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy." In Encyclopedia of Interfacial Chemistry: Surface Science and Electrochemistry, edited by K Wandelt. 38-48. PNNL-SA-124811. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-409547-2.12877-X
  • Spurgeon S.R., P.V. Sushko, A. Devaraj, Y. Du, T.C. Droubay, and S.A. Chambers. 2018. "Onset of Phase Separation in the Double Perovskite Oxide La2MnNiO6." Physical Review B 97, no. 13:134110. PNNL-SA-123784. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.97.134110
  • Stoerzinger K.A., Y. Du, S.R. Spurgeon, L. Wang, D.M. Kepaptsoglou, Q.M. Ramasse, and E.J. Crumlin, et al. 2018. "Chemical and Electronic Structure Analysis of a SrTiO3 (001) / p-Ge (001) Hydrogen Evolution Photocathode." MRS Communications 8, no. 2:446-452. PNNL-SA-131770. doi:10.1557/mrc.2018.38
  • Zhang K.L., G. Li, S.R. Spurgeon, L. Wang, P. Yan, Z. Wang, and M. Gu, et al. 2018. "Creation and Ordering of Oxygen Vacancies at WO3-d and Perovskite Interfaces." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10, no. 20:17480-17486. PNNL-SA-132665. doi:10.1021/acsami.8b03278


  • Comes R.B., D.E. Perea, and S.R. Spurgeon. 2017. "Heterogeneous Two-phase Pillars in Epitaxial NiFe2O4-LaFeO3 Nanocomposites." Advanced Materials Interfaces 4, no. 16:Article No. 1700396. PNNL-SA-124622. doi:10.1002/admi.201700396
  • Du Y., C. Li, K.L. Zhang, M.E. McBriarty, S.R. Spurgeon, H.S. Mehta, and D. Wu, et al. 2017. "An all-perovskite p-n junction based on transparent conducting p-La1-xSrxCrO3 epitaxial layers." Applied Physics Letters 111, no. 6:063501. PNNL-SA-124623. doi:10.1063/1.4997410
  • Jiang W., S.R. Spurgeon, J. Liu, D.K. Schreiber, H. Jung, A. Devaraj, and D.J. Edwards, et al. 2017. "PRECIPITATES AND VOIDS IN CUBIC SILICON CARBIDE IMPLANTED WITH 25Mg+ IONS." In Fusion Materials Semiannual Progress Report For Period Ending December 31,2017, edited by FW Wiffen and S Melton. 73-74. Oak Ridge, Tennessee:OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY. PNNL-SA-132445.
  • Kaspar T.C., J.G. Gigax, L. Shao, M.E. Bowden, T. Varga, V. Shutthanandan, and S.R. Spurgeon, et al. 2017. "Damage evolution of ion irradiated defected-fluorite La2Zr2O7 epitaxial thin films." Acta Materialia 130. PNNL-SA-121946. doi:10.1016/j.actamat.2017.01.012
  • Spurgeon S.R., P.V. Sushko, S.A. Chambers, and R.B. Comes. 2017. "Dynamic Interface Rearrangement in LaFeO3 / n-SrTiO3 Heterojunctions." Physical Review Materials 1, no. 6:063401. PNNL-SA-127972. doi:10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.1.063401
  • Spurgeon S.R., Y. Du, and S.A. Chambers. 2017. "Measurement Error in Atomic-Scale Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy-Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS) Mapping of a Model Oxide Interface." Microscopy and Microanalysis 23, no. 3:513-517. PNNL-SA-119131. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000368
  • Stoerzinger K.A., R.B. Comes, S.R. Spurgeon, S. Thevuthasan, K. Ihm, E.J. Crumlin, and S.A. Chambers. 2017. "Influence of LaFeO3 surface termination on water reactivity." The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 8, no. 5:1038-1043. PNNL-SA-123478. doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00195


  • Comes R.B., S.R. Spurgeon, S.M. Heald, D.M. Kepaptsoglou, L. Jones, P. Ong, and M.E. Bowden, et al. 2016. "Interface-Induced Polarization in SrTiO3-LaCrO3 Superlattices." Advanced Materials Interfaces 3, no. 6:Art. No. 1500779. PNNL-SA-111839. doi:10.1002/admi.201500779
  • Jiang W., S.R. Spurgeon, J. Liu, D.J. Edwards, D.K. Schreiber, C.H. Henager, and R.J. Kurtz, et al. 2016. "CHARACTERIZATION OF PRECIPITATES IN CUBIC SILICON CARBIDE IMPLANTED WITH 25Mg+ IONS." In In Fusion Materials Semianual Report for the Period Ending 06/30/2016, edited by Daniel Clark. 72-77. DOE/ER-0313/60. Oak Ridge, Tennessee:Oak Ridge National Laboratory. PNNL-SA-120391.
  • Kaspar T.C., D.K. Schreiber, S.R. Spurgeon, M.E. McBriarty, G.M. Carroll, D.R. Gamelin, and S.A. Chambers. 2016. "Built-in Potential in Fe2O3-Cr2O3 Superlattices for Improved Photoexcited Carrier Separation." Advanced Materials 28, no. 8:1616-1622. PNNL-SA-112959. doi:10.1002/adma.201504545
  • Li X., C.T. Ma, J. Lu, A. Devaraj, S.R. Spurgeon, R.B. Comes, and J.S. Poon. 2016. "Exchange bias and bistable magneto-resistance states in amorphous TbFeCo thin films." Applied Physics Letters 108. PNNL-SA-113796. doi:10.1063/1.4939240
  • Spurgeon S.R., Y. Du, T.C. Droubay, A. Devaraj, X. Sang, P. Longo, and P. Yan, et al. 2016. "Competing Pathways for Nucleation of the Double Perovskite Structure in the Epitaxial Synthesis of La2MnNiO6." Chemistry of Materials 28, no. 11:3814-3822. PNNL-SA-115671. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b00829