Associate Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Center For Biophysical Sciences and Engineering (CBSE) G89
(205) 934-3693

Research and Teaching Interests: Introductory, General, and Modern Physics; Structure/Properties of Surfaces and Interfaces; Molecular Detection

Office Hours: TH 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. (Chemistry Building 353); F 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. (CBSE G89); and by appointment


  • B.S., California State University Sacramento, Physics
  • Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham

I have lived in Birmingham for over 20 years and have come to think of it as one of the south's best kept secrets. Prior to living here I resided in Sacramento, California, where I earned my BS degree in physics (with a mathematics minor). As a graduate student in the materials science program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, my Ph.D. research was focused primarily on structure and mechanical properties of nanocrystalline diamond films made via chemical vapor deposition, although I also contributed to "designer diamond anvil" technology for high pressure physics research.

After earning my Ph.D. in 1999, I elected to continue my postdoctoral research at UAB in other aspects of diamond coatings, particularly for more challenging materials, including those associated with biomedical applications. As of August 2010, I have been an assistant professor of physics at UAB with primary research interests in the areas of interfacial structure/processes for wear-resistant coatings, surface modification, and molecular detection.

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You can also learn more about Dr. Catgledge through ResearchGate and LinkedIn.

Research Interests

Structure/Properties of Surfaces and Interfaces:
My research group investigates wear-resistant and diffusion-barrier interfaces/coatings with applications targeted for orthopedic/dental implant materials. A primary focus is to develop well-adhered nanostructured diamond coatings onto cobalt-chromium and cemented tungsten carbide metals. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) of diamond and other hard forms of carbon continues to be a very active area of research, particularly in the field of tribology where coatings of high hardness and low friction are required. Much interest has been generated in the synthesis of hard carbon films exhibiting a wide range of structural forms and properties. The computer hard-disc, cutting tool, and biomedical implant industries are only a few examples in which hard carbon coatings have been investigated. We are interested in tailoring the chemistry and structure at interfaces between diamond and metal so that coating adhesion is improved to the level needed for these applications. This includes studying interfacial nitrides, oxides, carbides, and more recently borides that can provide effective diffusion barriers and improve interfacial bonding.

Molecular Detection:
A sensitive and rapid detection method is needed in the form of portable sensor arrays that will result in molecule-specific reporting. The importance of the scanning probe lithography direct-write technique is to enable a novel sensor platform with extremely high spatial resolution and precise/repeatable control of array element size, position, and composition. We can create sensor array platforms with individual sensor features as large as 10 µm and as small as 15 nm. Biosensor arrays for molecular detection have the potential for convenient and immediate diagnosis characteristic of “Point-Of-Care-Treatment” (POCT) devices, whereby the medical test is done at or near the site of patient care. We are developing a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) as a synthetic receptor, directly written as array elements using the scanning probe lithography technique. Fluorescent nanodiamond probes embedded in the MIP elements act as “reporters” of adsorbed molecules, whose fluorescence intensity is concentration-dependent.

Recent Courses

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See a complete list of Dr. Catledge's publications on his Google Scholar page.

Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships

  • Nominated, UAB President’s Award for Teaching Excellence, 2015
  • Current Membership: Materials Research Society