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Brian Strohmeier

Contributor II
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Strohmeier_Brian.jpgDr. Brian R. Strohmeier has more than 30 years experience in the fields of applied surface science and nanotechnology. He is currently employed as a Senior Scientist and Manager of the Surface Analysis Laboratory at RJ Lee Group, Inc. (RJLG), a privately-owned analytical services and consulting firm located in Monroeville, PA ( Before joining RJLG, he was previously employed in various research and/or managerial positions at ION-TOF USA, the Chemistry Department at the University of Pittsburgh, PPG Glass Technology Center, Alcoa Technical Center, and the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware. Brian holds a Ph.D. degree in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. degree in Analytical Chemistry from Lehigh University, an M.A. degree in Business Leadership from Duquesne University, a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture, and an A.A. degree in Chemistry from Bucks County Community College.

Brian’s research interests involve applications of surface analytical and microscopic techniques for industrial problem solving, product/process development, and the characterization of complex materials. His expertise includes X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and various other spectroscopic techniques. His technical experience includes the study of adhesion, corrosion, oxidation, and wetting phenomena; chemical and plasma modification of material surfaces; and the surface and microscopic characterization of asbestos and associated minerals, catalysts, ceramics, glass and fiberglass, metals, oxides, paints and organic coatings, polymers, semiconductors, and vacuum-deposited thin film materials.

Dr. Strohmeier is the co-inventor of one patent and the author/co-author of 51 publications involving surface and microscopic characterization studies, as well as scientific leadership and management topics. He has authored/co-authored more than 70 conference presentations, 25 of which were invited presentations. Brian also serves as a National Tour Speaker for the American Chemical Society (ACS) on two topics: “Naturally Occurring Asbestos: A Recurring Analytical and Public Policy Challenge” and “The Chemistry of Leadership.” He has also been a short course instructor at past National ACS and Pittsburgh Conference (Pittcon) meetings on the topic: “Leadership Principles for R&D Managers and Scientists.” Brian has served as a trial expert witness on surface analysis methods.

Brian is an active member of ACS having held the offices of Chairman of the Pittsburgh Section ACS in 2001 and Section Councilor in 2004. He is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Vacuum Society (AVS), the Geological Society of America (GSA), the Microbeam Analysis Society (MAS), the Pittcon Organizing Committee, the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP), the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP), the Three Rivers Microscopy Society (3RMS), and Sigma Xi.


Exploring the Nano-World with XPS and FESEM/STEM

The field of Nanotechnology deals with particles and other material structures with sizes of 100 nanometers or smaller in at least one dimension. Nanotechnology promises to revolutionize many areas of science because unprecedented size-dependant chemical and physical properties are currently being discovered in nanoscale materials on a daily basis. These unique properties can be utilized to produce entirely new materials and devices, including sensors, electronic and optical components, fuel cells, pharmaceuticals, and nanocomposites. The estimated economic value of new products containing nanomaterials over the next several years runs into the trillions of dollars. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) is a highly surface-sensitive qualitative and quantitative spectroscopic technique. Nanometer scale sampling depth and its ability to provide chemical state information makes XPS an ideal analytical technique for investigating the elemental and chemical composition of nanomaterials. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) are valuable imaging tools for characterizing the structure, morphology, and composition of nanomaterials. Recently, high resolution electron microscopes have become available that combine the benefits of FESEM and low-kV scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) in a single instrument. This presentation will illustrate the power of using combined FESEM/STEM imaging and XPS analysis for providing comprehensive characterization of a variety of nanomaterials. Examples will include (among others): functional thin organic layers on metal surfaces, multi-layer thin film coatings on glass, activated carbon nanoparticles, antimicrobial metal nanoparticles, and carbon nanotubes containing nanoparticle metal catalysts.

Naturally Occurring Asbestos: A Recurring Analytical and Public Policy Challenge

The potential public health issues related to exposure to respirable dusts from the vicinity of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) deposits have gained the regulatory and media spotlight in many areas around the United States, such as Libby, MT and El Dorado Hills, CA, among others. Airborne asbestos may be released from NOA deposits, absent appropriate engineering controls, and may pose a potential health hazard if these rocks are crushed or exposed to natural weathering and erosion or to human activities that create dust. A major issue that needs to be addressed at a policy level is the method of assessing exposures to elongated rock fragments ubiquitous in dust clouds in these same environments and the associated risk. Cleavage fragments present in NOA have been construed by some as having attributes, including the health effects, of asbestos fibers. As in many environmental fields of study, the evidence is often disputed. Regulatory policy is not uniform on the subject of rock fragments, even within single agencies. The core of the issue is whether the risk parameters associated with exposures to commercial asbestos can or should be applied to rock fragments meeting an arbitrary set of particle dimensions used for counting asbestos fibers. Inappropriate inclusion of particles or fragments results in dilution of risk and needless expenditure of resources. Inappropriate exclusion of particles or fragments may result in increased and unnecessary risk. This ongoing national dilemma has raised public and business concerns. There has been continuing political and scientific debate and widespread miscommunication over perceived versus actual health risks, the validity of various analytical sampling and testing methods, the questionable necessity and escalating costs of remediation procedures, and the combined negative impact on numerous commercial and public interests. The risk assessment methodology and the analytical technology needed to support inferences drawn from existing research are available, but have not been organized and implemented in the manner needed to resolve the NOA controversy. This presentation will review some of the key issues involved with the current NOA debate and propose improved analytical methodologies for dealing with NOA.

The Chemistry of Leadership

In order for R&D organizations to grow and prosper in today's competitive business environment, leaders must exist at all levels - from the technician ranks on up. Unfortunately, the important subject of leadership is rarely studied in detail, or even casually discussed, during the education and training of young scientists pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in chemistry. This problem is due in part to the simple fact that the study of leadership isn't nearly as exact as the study of chemistry. For one thing, the social world of leadership isn't nearly as orderly as the scientific world of chemistry, nor is it as susceptible to laws, rules, and theories. For another, people, unlike solids, liquids, and gases, are anything but uniform and anything but predictable. In other words, a thorough knowledge of leadership, like that of chemistry, does not just happen by chance. Both subjects must be extensively studied and practiced in order for someone to become proficient. The first step to becoming a leader is to eliminate your own self-imposed internal limitations and fears about your ability to lead others. All too often people incorrectly assume that they can't be leaders because they aren't at the top of the company or that leaders are only found at the peaks of organizational charts or in big corner offices. In addition, many people mistakenly think of themselves as "leaders" if they can "manage" people, plan a budget, make quick decisions, or solve day-to-day problems. However, there are many key differences between just managing people and truly leading others to be their best. While it is usually true that people higher up in an organization typically have more authority and responsibility, that doesn't necessarily mean they are going to be effective leaders or inspire people to accomplish extraordinary things. Many managers are simply authoritative bureaucrats who are skilled at getting things done by exerting their positional power over others. In contrast, true leaders are those who can influence and motivate people to willingly perform at a high level on a consistent basis. Contrary to many old and outdated business concepts, modern leadership theories indicate that great leaders are made not born. Leadership is an observable, understandable, and learnable set of skills and practices available to everyone. One simple step to being a more effective leader is to be a more consistent and committed follower! This presentation will review effective leadership and "followership" skills and practices that are available to essentially everyone whatever their formal title and whether they lead two or two hundred people.


RJ Lee Group, Inc.

350 Hochberg Road

Monroeville, PA, United States, 15146


Home: 412-798-8085

Cell: 412-877-4951

Business: 724-387-1969

Fax: 724-733-1799

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