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Chemical & Materials Engineering
Phone: (208) 885-7572
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: (208) 885-7462
Email: che@uidaho.edu

Buchanan Engineering (BEL)
Room 306

875 Perimeter Drive MS 1021
Moscow, ID 83844-1021


Contact Denise Engebrecht
Phone: (208) 364-6123 
Fax: (208) 364-3160 
Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Idaho Water Center 
322 E. Front Street 
Boise, ID 83702

Idaho Falls

Contact Debbie Caudle
Phone: (208) 282-7983 
Fax: (208) 282-7929 
Email: debrac@uidaho.edu

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Distance Education

Engineering Outreach
Phone: (208) 885-6373 
Toll-free: (800) 824-2889 
Fax: (208) 885-9249 
E-mail: outreach@uidaho.edu


D. Eric Aston

D. Eric Aston, Ph.D.

Office: McClure Hall 403B
Phone: 208-885-6953
Email: aston@uidaho.edu
Mailing Address: c/o Department of Chemical & Materials Science Engineering
PO Box 441021
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1021

College of Engineering
Department of Chemical & Materials Science Engineering
Department Chair

Campus Locations: Moscow

  • Biography
    After joining the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of Idaho in the summer of 2001, Dr. Eric Aston branched out into various areas of colloids, thin films, polymeric and magnetic materials, nanotechnology and nanomechanics using atomic force microscopy (AFM), Langmuir-Blodgett deposition, and other complimentary techniques.  He teaches ChE Thermodynamics and Separation Processes, as well as special topics courses each year--usually related to interfacial science, nanotechnology, materials science and physics. In 2006, Dr. Aston joined colleagues in the Biological Applications of Nanotechnology (BANTech) group to collaborate in highly-interdisciplinary research and team-teaching on uses of nanomaterials for biomolecular engineering.  His personal attentions are currently focused toward  polymeric and nanomaterials studies that combine direct analysis of chemical structure and morphology using confocal Raman spectroscopy and the Digital Pulsed Force Mode (WITec, Germany) of atomic force microscopy. Both mapping techniques provide local information about chemistry, mechanical properties and other materials behavior at the microscale and down to the nanoscale.

    Technical Specialties

    Colloids and Interfacial Phenomena: Scanning Probe Microscopy, Nanowires, Adhesion and Thin Films, Microfluidics and Chemical Sensors, Polymers and Composites, Nanotechnology

    Professional Experience
    2013 — present -- Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Idaho
    2007 - 2013 -- Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Idaho
    2001 — 2007 -- Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Idaho
    2002 — present -- Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Idaho
    2000 — Adjunct Professor, Division of Natural and Social Science, Northwest University, Kirkland, WA 
    1995 — Resident Associate, Argonne National Laboratories — West, Idaho Falls, ID
    1994 — Research Assistant, School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Selected Publications
    • Weakley, Andrew T.; Warwick, P.C. Temple; Bitterwolf, Thomas E.; Aston, D. Eric “Multivariate analysis of micro-Raman spectra of thermoplastic polyurethane blends using principal component analysis and principal components regression.” Applied Spectroscopy, accepted 7 Aug 2012 (MS No. 12-06588R1).
    • Lu, Xiaonan; Weakley, Andrew; Aston, D. Eric; Rasco, Barbara; Wang, Shuo; and Konkel, Michael “Examination of nanoparticle inactivation of Campylobacter jejuni biofilms using infrared and Raman spectroscopies.” J. Appl. Microbiol. 113(4): 952-963 (2012); doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05373.x.
    • Lu, Xiaonan; Huang, Qian; Miller, William; Aston, D. Eric; Xu, Jie; Xue, Feng; Zhang, Hongwei; Rasco, Barbara; Wang, Shuo; and Konkel, Michael “Comprehensive Detection and Discrimination of Campylobacter Species Using Confocal Micro-Raman Spectroscopy and Multilocus Sequence Typing.” J. Clin. Microbiol. 50(9): 2932-2946 (2012); doi: 10.1128/JCM.01144-12.
    • Aston, D.E., C.A. Berven, B.C. Williams, and A. Basu, “Mathematical Analysis of Effects on the Electrostatic Double Layer of Nanoscale Surfaces in Microfluidic Channels.” The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 90(4): 1059-1065 (2012); doi: 10.1002/cjce.20475.
    • Weakley, Andrew T., Griffiths, Peter R., and Aston, D. Eric, “Automatic baseline subtraction of vibrational spectra using minima identification and discrimination via adaptive, least-squares thresholding.” Applied Spectroscopy 66(5): 519-29 (2012); doi: 10.1366/110-06526.
    • Oriero, Dennis A., Weakley, Andrew T., and Aston, D. Eric, “Rheological and micro-Raman time-series characterization of enzyme sol-gel solution toward morphological control of electrospun fibers.” Science and Technology of Advanced Materials 13(2): 025008 (2012); doi:10.1088/1468-6996/13/2/025008.
    • Rastogi, Shiva K.; Gibson, CharLene M.; Branen, Josh R.; Aston, D. Eric; Branen, A. Larry; Hrdlicka, Patrick J. “DNA Detection on Lateral Flow Test Strips: Enhanced Signal Sensitivity Using LNA-conjugated Gold Nanoparticles.” Chem. Comm. 48(62): 7714-7716 (2012). doi: 10.1039/c2cc33430e.
    • Rastogi, Shiva K., Jamie M. F. Jabal, Huijin Zhang, Charlene M. Gibson, Kevin J. Haler, You Qiang, D. Eric Aston and A. Larry Branen. “Antibody@silica coated Iron Oxide nanoparticles: Synthesis, capture of E. coli and SERS titration of biomolecules with antibacterial silver colloid.” J. Nanomedic. Nanotechnol. 2(7): 1000121 (2011). ISSN: 2157-7439.
    • Rastogi, Shiva K., Jamie Jabal, Huijin Zhang, Kevin J. Haler, Charlene M. Gibson, You Qiang, D. Eric Aston, A. Larry Branen, “Silica-coated Magnetic Nanoparticles (SMNPs): Capture and Identification of Escherichia coli Cells Using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy.” NSTI Nanotech 3: 68-71 (2011), www.nsti.org, ISBN 978-1-4398-7138-6.
    • Lu, Xiaonan, Barbara A. Rasco, Jamie M.F. Jabal, D. Eric Aston, Mengshi Lin, and Michael E. Konkel, “Investigating Antibacterial Mechanisms of Garlic (Allium sativum) Concentrate and Garlic-derived Organosulfur Compounds on Campylobacter jejuni Using FT-IR Spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy and Electron Microscope.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77(15): 5257-69 (2011); doi: 10.1128/AEM.02845-10.
    • Dennis A. Oriero, Jamie M. F. Jabal, Lee Deobald, Andrew T. Weakley, D. Eric Aston, “A Potential Enzyme-Encapsulating, Ultrafine Fiber for Phenol Detection.” React. Funct. Polym. 71(8): 870-80 (2011); doi: 10.1016/j.reactfunctpolym.2011.05.004.
    • Timalsina, Y.P.; Branen, J.; Aston, D.E.; Noren, K.; Corti, G.; Schumacher, R.; McIlroy, D.N. “Alternating Current Impedance Spectroscopic Analysis of Biofuntionalized Vertically-Aligned Silica Nanospring Surface for Biosensor Applications.” J. Appl. Phys. 110(1): (2011); doi: 10.1063/1.3601521
    • Xiaonan Lu; Rasco, Barbara; Kang, Dong-Hyun; Jabal, Jamie Marie; Aston, D. Eric; Konkel, Michael, “Infrared and Raman Spectroscopic Studies of the Antimicrobial Effects of Garlic Concentrates and Diallyl Constituents on Foodborne Pathogens.” Anal. Chem. 83(11): 4137-4146 (2011); doi: 10.1021/ac2001498.
    • I. Francis Cheng, Yuqun Xie, R. Allen Gonzales, Przemyslaw R. Brejna, Jency Pricilla Sundararajan, B.A. Fouetio Kengne, D. Eric Aston, David N. McIlroy, Jeremy D. Foutch and Peter R. Griffiths, “Synthesis of Graphene Paper from Pyrolyzed Asphalt.” Carbon 49(8): 2852-2861 (2011); doi: 10.1016/j.carbon.2011.03.020.
    • Shiva K. Rastogi, Parul Pal, D. Eric Aston, Thomas E. Bitterwolf, A. Larry Branen, “8-Aminoquinoline Functionalized Silica Nanoparticles: A Fluorescent Nanosensor for Detection of Divalent Zinc in Aqueous and in Yeast Cell Suspension.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 3(2): 279-86 (2011); doi: 10.1021/am2002394.
    • Parul Pal, Shiva K. Rastogi, Charlene M. Gibson, D. Eric Aston, A. Larry Branen, and Thomas E. Bitterwolf, “Fluorescence Sensing of Zn(II) Using Ordered Mesoporous Silica Materials (MCM-41) Functionalized with N-(Quinolin-8-yl)-2-(3-(triethoxysilyl)propylamino)acetamide.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 3(2): 279-86 (2011), doi: 10.1021/am100923x.
    • Sai, Vemulakonda Venkata R.; Gangadean, Devananda; Jabal, Jamie M.F.; Niraula, Ishwar; Corti, Giancarlo; McIlroy, D.N.; Aston, D. Eric; Branen, Josh R.; Hrdlicka, Patrick J. “Silica Nanosprings Coated with Noble Metal Nanoparticles: Highly Active SERS Substrates.” J. Phys. Chem. C 115(2): 453-59 (2011), 13 Dec 2010 (ASAP), doi: 10.1021/jp109586f.
    • Jabal, Jamie M.F., Laurel McGarry, Abigail Sobczyk, and D. Eric Aston, “Substrate Effects on the Wettability of Electrospun Titania-Poly(vinylpyrrolidone) Fiber Mats.” Langmuir 26(16): 13550-55 (2010), doi: 10.1021/la1017399.
    • Timalsina, Yukta P., Dennis Oriero, Timothy Cantrell, Tej Prakash, Joshua Branen, D. Eric Aston, Kenneth Noren, James J. Nagler, Shiva Rastogi, David N. McIlroy, and Giancarlo Corti, “Characterization of a Vertically Aligned Silica Nanospring-based Sensor by Alternating Current Impedance Spectroscopy.” J. Micromech. Microeng. 20(9): 095005 (2010), doi:10.1088/0960-1317/20/9/095005.
    • Gangadean, D., David N. McIlroy, Brian E. Faulkner, and D. Eric Aston, “Winkler Boundary Conditions for Three-point Bending Tests on 1D nanomaterials.” Nanotechnology 21: 225704 (2010); doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/22/225704.
    • Jabal, Jamie M.F., Laurel McGarry, Abigail Sobczyk, and D. Eric Aston, “Wettability of Electrospun Poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-Titania Fiber Mats on Glass and ITO Substrates in Aqueous Media.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 1(10): 2325-31 (2009); doi: 10.1021/am900481d.
    • Corti, Giancarlo, L. Wang, D. Major, J. Branen, J. Jabal, L. Branen, J. Nagler, E. Aston, G. Norton, and D. McIlroy, “Nanospring-Based Biosensors for Electrical DNA Microarrays.” In Functional Materials for Chemical and Biochemical Sensors, edited by E. Comini, P.-I. Gouma, V. Guidi, X.-D. Guidi, X.D. Zhang, Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 1010E: (2007), 1010-V05-03.
    • Chen, Y., B.L. Dorgan, Jr., D.N. McIlroy, and D.E. Aston, “On the Importance of Boundary Conditions on Nanomechanical Bending Behavior and Elastic Modulus Determination of Silver Nanowires.” J. Appl. Phys.100(10): 104301-7 (2006).
    • Withers, J.R. and D.E. Aston, “Nanomechanical Measurements with AFM in the Elastic Limit.” Adv. Colloid Interface Sci.120: 57-67 (2006).
    • Shanmugham, S, A. Alkhateeb, J. Jeong, D.E. Aston, “Polymer Nanowire Elastic Moduli Measured with Digital Pulsed Force Mode AFM.” Langmuir 21(22): 10214-18 (2005). Invited Contribution to Bob Rowell Festschrift special issue.
    • McIlroy, D.N., A. Alkhateeb, D. Zhang, D.E. Aston, A.C. Marcy, and M. Grant Norton, “Nanospring Formation: Unexpected Catalyst Mediated Growth.” J. Phys. Condensed Matter 16(12): R415-R440 (2004). Invited Review Article.
    • D.E. Aston, J.C. Berg, “Quantitative Analysis of Fluid Interface-Atomic Force Microscopy (FI-AFM).”J. Colloid Interface Sci. 235(1): 162-69 (2001).
    • M. He, A. Szuchmacher-Blum, D.E. Aston,, C. Buenviaje, R.M. Overney, R. Luginbuhl, “Critical Phenomena of Water Bridges in Nanoasperity Contacts.”J. Chem. Phys.114(3): 1355-60 (2001).


  • Awards and Honors
    • Alumni Award for Excellence, University of Idaho, 2008 and 2011 
    • Outstanding Researcher, College of Engineering, University of Idaho, 2007-08
    • NSF MRI: “Acquisition of Confocal Raman, Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) System for Wet and Dry Materials and Devices,” PI D.E. Aston, CoPIs: P. Griffiths, M.-P. Laborie, A. McDonald, D.N. McIlroy, DMR-0619310, 09/01/06-08/31/07
    • NSF NER: “Polymer Nanowire Chemical Sensors for Aqueous Media,” PI D.E. Aston, 7/15/05-6/30/07, BES-0507921.
    • Outstanding Young Faculty, College of Engineering, University of Idaho, 2004-05
    • W.M. Keck Foundation Engineering & Science Grant (w/ McIlroy et al.) 2003-06
    • Victor K. LaMer Award Nomination, 2002, 2003, 2004
    • Intel Foundation Fellow, 1998-99
    • Weyerhaeuser Fisken Fellowship, 1996-97
    • Alumni Award For Excellence, University of Idaho, 1994
    • National Academy for Nuclear Training Scholar 1994-95
    • Potlatch Foundation Scholar, 1991-95
"Nothing unreal exists!"--Spock (Star Trek), quoting an axiom of metaphysics.

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