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Sarah Tolbert, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, Physical Chemistry
Member, NanoElectronics, Photonics, Architectonics, NanoMechanical and Nanofluidic Systems, California NanoSystems Institute
Researcher, Inorganic, Nanoscience and Materials, Physical

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1995 -
B.S., Yale University, 1990

Academic Experience:
1995 - 1997 NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Santa Barbara

Professional Societies:
Materials Research Society
American Chemical Society

Contact Information:
Email Address:
Work Email Address:
Laboratory Address: Young Hall 4107
Mail Code: 156905
Work Address: Young Hall 3045A
Mail Code: 156905
ARR Papers:
Home Page:
Fax Number: (310) 206-4038
Lab Number: 1 (310) 794-6618
Work Phone Number: 1 (310) 206-4767
Additional Information:

In addition to her research work, Tolbert also directs the CNSI high school nanoscience program aimed at bringing related nano-concepts to high school students in the greater LA area. Professor Tolbert is the recipient of a number of awards including the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, a Beckman Young Investigator Award, and a Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship.

Selected Publications:

Brezesinski K, Haetge J, Wang J, Mascotto S, Reitz C, Rein A, Tolbert SH, Perlich J, Dunn B, Brezesinski T, Ordered mesoporous ?-Fe2O3 (hematite) thin-film electrodes for application in high rate rechargeable lithium batteries, Small, 2011, 7 (3), 407-14.
Torsten Brezesinski, John Wang, Robert Senter, Kirstin Brezesinski, Bruce Dunn and Sarah H. Tolbert, On the Correlation between Mechanical Flexibility, Nanoscale Structure, and Charge Storage in Periodic Mesoporous CeO2 Thin Films, ACS Nano, 2010, 4 (2), 967-77.
Quickel TE, Le VH, Brezesinski T, Tolbert SH, On the correlation between nanoscale structure and magnetic properties in ordered mesoporous cobalt ferrite (CoFe2O4) thin films, Nano Lett, 2010, 10 (8), 2982-8.
Torsten Brezesinski, John Wang, Sarah H. Tolbert & Bruce Dunn, Ordered Mesoporous α-MoO3 with Iso-Oriented Nanocrystalline Grains for Next Generation Thin Film Pseudocapacitors, Nature Materials, 2010, 9, 146 - 151.
, Second-harmonic generation in conjugated polymer films: A sensitive probe of how bulk polymer crystallinity changes with spin speed, J Chem Phys, 2010, 133 (4), 044901.
X. Chen, B.L. Kirsch, R. Senter, S.H. Tolbert, and V. Gupta, Tensile Testing of Thin Films Supported on Compliant Substrates, Mechanics of Materials, 2010, 41 (7), 839-848 .
Yang J, Kickhoefer VA, Ng BC, Gopal A, Bentolila LA, John S, Tolbert SH, Rome LH, Vaults are dynamically unconstrained cytoplasmic nanoparticles capable of half vault exchange, ACS Nano, 2010, 4 (12), 7229-40.
Brezesinski, K., Wang, J., Haetge, J., Reitz, C., Steinmueller, S.O., Tolbert, S.H., Smarsly, B.M., Dunn, B. and Brezesinski, T., Pseudocapacitive Contributions to Charge Storage in Highly Ordered Mesoporous Group V Transition Metal Oxides with Iso-Oriented Layered Nanocrystalline Domains, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2010, 132 (20), 6982-90.
J.B. Levine, S.H. Tolbert, R.B. Kaner, Advances in the Search for Superhard Ultra-Incompressible Metal Borides, Advanced Functional Materials, 2009, 19 (22), 3519 - 3533.
S.D. Korlann, A.E. Riley, B.S. Mun, and S.H. Tolbert, Chemical Tuning of the Electronic Properties of Nanostructured Semiconductor Films formed through Surfactant Templating of Zintl Cluster, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2009, 113 (18), 7697–7705.
M.B. Weinberger, J.B. Levine, H.-Y. Chung, R.W. Cumberland, H.I. Rasool, J.-M. Yang, R.B. Kaner, and S.H. Tolbert, Incompressibility and Hardness of Solid Solution Transition Metal Diborides: Ru1-xOsxB2, Chem. Mater, 2009, 21 (9), 1915–1921.
Brezesinski, T. Wang, J. Polleux, J. Dunn, B. Tolbert, S. H., Templated nanocrystal-based porous TiO(2) films for next-generation electrochemical capacitors, J Am Chem Soc, 2009, 131 (5), 1802-9.
Kennedy, R. D. Ayzner, A. L. Wanger, D. D. Day, C. T. Halim, M. Khan, S. I. Tolbert, S. H. Schwartz, B. J. Rubin, Y., Self-assembling fullerenes for improved bulk-heterojunction photovoltaic devices, J Am Chem Soc, 2008, 130 (51), 17290-2.
H.-Y. Chung, J.-M. Yang, S.H. Tolbert and R.B. Kaner, Anisotropic Mechanical Properties Of Ultra-Incompressible, Hard Osmium Diboride, J. Mater, 2008, 23 (6), 1797-1801.
S. Virji, B.H. Weiller, J. Huang, H. Shepherd, T. Faltens, P.C. Haussmann, R. Blair, R.B. Kaner, and S.H. Tolbert, Construction of a Polyaniline Nanofiber Gas Sensor, J. Chem. Ed, 2008, 85 (8), 1102-1104.
H.Y.Chung, M.B. Weinberger, J.M. Yang, S.H. Tolbert, and R. B. Kaner, Correlation Between Hardness And Elastic Moduli Of The Ultraincompressible Transition Metal Diborides RuB2, OsB2, and ReB2, Appl. Phys. Lett, 2008, 92 (26), 261904 - 261904-3 .
Ng, B. C. Yu, M. Gopal, A. Rome, L. H. Monbouquette, H. G. Tolbert, S. H., Encapsulation of semiconducting polymers in vault protein cages, Nano Lett, 2008, 8 (10), 3503-9.
X. Chen, E.K. Richman, B.L. Kirsch, R. Senter, S.H. Tolbert, and V. Gupta, Measurement of anisotropic fracture energies in periodic templated silica/polymer composite coatings, J. Appl. Phys, 2008, 104, 083515.
Richman, E. K. Kang, C. B. Brezesinski, T. Tolbert, S. H., Ordered mesoporous silicon through magnesium reduction of polymer templated silica thin films, Nano Lett, 2008, 8 (9), 3075-9.
M. Yu, B.C. Ng, L.H. Rome, S.H. Tolbert, H.G. Monbouquette, Reversible pH Lability of Crosslinked Vault Nanocapsules, Nano Lett, 2008, 8 (10), 3510-3515.
A.L. Ayzner, D.D. Wanger, C.J. Tassone, S.H. Tolbert and B.J. Schwartz, Room to Improve Conjugated Polymer-Based Solar Cells: Understanding how Thermal Annealing Affects the Fullerene Component of a Bulk Heterojunction Photovoltaic Device, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2008, 112 (48), 18711-18716.
E.K. Richman, T. Brezesinski, and S.H. Tolbert, Vertically Oriented Hexagonal Mesoporous Films Formed through Nanometer Scale Epitaxy, Nature Mater, 2008, 7, 712-717.
Weinberger, M. B. Tolbert, S. H. Kavner, A., Osmium metal studied under high pressure and nonhydrostatic stress, Phys Rev Lett, 2008, 100 (4), 045506.
Martini, I. B. Craig, I. M. Molenkamp, W. C. Miyata, H. Tolbert, S. H. Schwartz, B. J., Controlling optical gain in semiconducting polymers with nanoscale chain positioning and alignment, Nat Nanotechnol, 2007, 2 (10), 647-52.
A.E. Riley and S.H. Tolbert, Synthesis and Characterization of Tin Telluride Inorganic/Organic Composite materials with Nanoscale Periodicity through Solution Phase Self-Assembly: A New Class of Composite Materials Based on Zintl Cluster Self-Oligomerization, Res. Chem. Intermed, 2007, 33 (1-2), 111-124.
Chung, H. Y. Weinberger, M. B. Levine, J. B. Cumberland, R. W. Kavner, A. Yang, J. M. Tolbert, S. H. Kaner, R. B., Synthesis of ultra-incompressible superhard rhenium diboride at ambient pressure, Science, 2007, 316 (5823), 436-9.
Clark, A. P. Cadby, A. J. Shen, C. K. Rubin, Y. Tolbert, S. H., Synthesis and self-assembly of an amphiphilic poly(phenylene ethynylene) ionomer, J Phys Chem B, 2006, 110 (44), 22088-96.
L. Huang, E.K. Richman, B.L. Kirsch, and S.H. Tolbert, Controlling Thickness in Hexagonal Polymer Templated Mesoporous Silica Films, Microporous Mesoporous Mater, 2006, 96 (1-3), 341-349.
D. Sun, A.E. Riley, A.J. Cadby, E.K. Richman, S.D. Korlann, and S.H. Tolbert, Hexagonal Nanoporous Germanium through Surfactant-Driven Self-Assembly of Zintl Clusters, Nature, 2006, 441, 1126-1130.
A.E. Riley, S.D. Korlann, E.K. Richman, and S.H. Tolbert, Synthesis of Semiconducting Thin Films with Nanometer Scale Periodicity by Solution Phase Co-Assembly of Zintl Clusters with Surfactants, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed, 2006, 45 (2), 235-241 .
Riley, A. E. Korlann, S. D. Richman, E. K. Tolbert, S. H., Synthesis of semiconducting thin films with nanometer-scale periodicity by solution-phase coassembly of zintl clusters with surfactants, Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 2005, 45 (2), 235-41.
Cadby, A. J. Tolbert, S. H., Controlling optical properties and interchain interactions in semiconducting polymers by encapsulation in periodic nanoporous silicas with different pore sizes, J Phys Chem B, 2005, 109 (38), 17879-86.
Korlann, S. D. Riley, A. E. Kirsch, B. L. Mun, B. S. Tolbert, S. H., Chemical tuning of the electronic properties in a periodic surfactant-templated nanostructured semiconductor, J Am Chem Soc, 2005, 127 (36), 12516-27.
Clark, A. P. Shen, K. F. Rubin, Y. F. Tolbert, S. H., An amphiphilic poly(phenylene ethynylene) as the structure-directing agent for periodic nanoscale silica composite materials, Nano Lett, 2005, 5 (9), 1647-52.
O. Trofymluk, A.A. Levchenko, S.H. Tolbert, A. Navrotsky, Energetics of Mesoporous Silica: Investigation into Pore Size and Symmetry, Chem. Mater. , 2005, 17 (14), 3772-3783 .
R.B. Kaner, J.J. Gilman, and S.H. Tolbert, Materials science – Designing Superhard Materials, Science, 2005, 308, 1268.
Cumberland, RW Weinberger, MB Gilman, JJ Clark, SM Tolbert, SH Kaner, RB, Osmium diboride, an ultra-incompressible, hard material, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2005, 127 (20), 7264-5.
B.L. Kirsch, X. Chen, E.K. Richman, V. Gupta, and S.H. Tolbert, Probing the Effects of Nanoscale Architecture on the Mechanical Properties of Hexagonal Silica/Polymer Composite Thin Films, Adv. Func. Mater. , 2005, 15 (8), 1319-1327.
Kaner, R. B. Gilman, J. J. Tolbert, S. H., Materials science. Designing superhard materials, Science, 2005, 308 (5726), 1268-9.
Rugge, A. Park, J. S. Gordon, R. G. Tolbert, S. H., Tantalum(V) nitride inverse opals as photonic structures for visible wavelengths, J Phys Chem B, 2005, 109 (9), 3764-71.
Lapena, A. M. Gross, A. F. Tolbert, S. H., Examining the role of surfactant packing in phase transformations of periodic templated silica/surfactant composites, Langmuir, 2005, 21 (1), 470-80.
Kirsch, B. L. Riley, A. E. Gross, A. F. Tolbert, S. H., Probing the effects of interfacial chemistry on the kinetics of phase transitions in amorphous and tetragonal zirconia nanocrystals, Langmuir, 2004, 20 (25), 11247-54.
B.F. Kirsch, E.K. Richman, A.E. Riley, and S.H. Tolbert, In-Situ X-Ray Diffraction Study of The Crystallization Kinetics Of Mesoporous Titania Films, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2004, 108, 12698-12706.
D. Sun, C.W. Kwon, G. Baure, E.K. Richman, J. MacLean, B. Dunn, and S.H. Tolbert., The Relationship between Nanoscale Structure and Electrochemical Properties of Vanadium Oxide Nanorolls, Adv. Func. Mater, 2004, 14 (12), 1197-1204.
Molenkamp, W. C. Watanabe, M. Miyata, H. Tolbert, S. H., Highly polarized luminescence from optical quality films of a semiconducting polymer aligned within oriented mesoporous silica, J Am Chem Soc, 2004, 126 (14), 4476-7.
A.F. Gross, M.R. Diehl, K.C. Beverly, E. Richman, and S.H. Tolbert, Controlling Magnetic Coupling between Cobalt Nanoparticles through Nanoscale Confinement in Hexagonal Mesoporous Silica, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2003, 107 (23), 5475-5482.
A. Rugge, W.T. Ford, and S.H. Tolbert, From a Colloidal Crystal to an Interconnected Colloidal Array: a Mechanism for a Spontaneous Rearrangement, Langmuir, 2003, 19 (19), 7852-7861.
A.F. Gross, S.Yang, A. Navrotsky, and S.H. Tolbert, In-Situ Calorimetric Study of the Hexagonal-to-Lamellar Phase Transformation in a Silica/Surfactant Composite, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2003, 107 (12), 2709-2718.
A.E. Riley, G.W. Mitchell, P.A. Koutentis, M. Bendikov, P. Kaszynki, F. Wudl, and S.H. Tolbert, Liquid Crystalline Phase Behavior in a Zwitterionic Tetraazapentacene, Adv. Func. Mater. , 2003, 13 (7), 531-540.
B.L. Kirsch and S.H. Tolbert, Stabilization of Isolated Hydrous Amorphous and Tetragonal Zirconia Nanoparticles Through the Formation of a Passivating Alumina Shell, Adv. Func. Mater, 2003, 13 (4), 281-288.
A. Rugge, J.S. Becker, R.G. Gordon, and S.H. Tolbert, Tungsten Nitride Inverse Opals by Atomic Layer Deposition, Nano Lett, 2003, 3 (9), 1293-1297.
Riley, A. E. Tolbert, S. H., Synthesis of periodic hexagonal surfactant templated platinum tin tellurides: narrow band gap inorganic/organic composites, J Am Chem Soc, 2003, 125 (15), 4551-9.
A.F. Gross, V.H. Le, B.L. Kirsch, and S.H. Tolbert, Chemical Control of Phase Transformation Kinetics in Periodic Silica/Surfactant Composites, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2002, 124 (14), 3713-3724.
J. Wu, L. Zhao, E.L. Chronister, and S.H. Tolbert, Elasticity through Nanoscale Distortions in Periodic Surfactant Templated Porous Silica under High Pressure, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2002, 106 (22), 5613-5621.
A. Rugge and S.H. Tolbert, The Effect Of Electrostatic Interactions On Crystallization In Binary Colloidal Films, Langmuir, 2002, 18 (18), 7057-7065.
A.M. Lapena, J.J. Wu, A.F. Gross, and S.H. Tolbert, Using High Pressure Phase Stability to Determine the Internal Pressure of Silica/Surfactant Composites, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2002, 106 (45), 11720-11724.
T.-Q. Nguyen, J. Wu, S. H. Tolbert, B. J. Schwartz, Control of Energy Transport in Conjugated Polymers using an Ordered Mesoporous Silica Matrix, Adv. Mater, 2001, 13, 609-611, 542.
A.F. Gross, V.H. Le, B.L. Kirsch, A.E. Riley, and S.H. Tolbert, Correlations Between Silica Chemistry and Structural Changes in Hydrothermally Treated Hexagonal Silica/Surfactant Composites Examined by In-Situ X-ray Diffraction, Chem. Mater, 2001, 13, 3571-3579.
S.H. Tolbert, J. Wu, A.F. Gross, T.-Q. Nguyen, and B.J. Schwartz, Directional Energy Migration in an Oriented Nanometer-Scale Host/Guest Composite: Semiconducting Polymers Threaded into Mesoporous Silica, Microporous Mesoporous Mater, 2001, 44-45, 445-451.
J. Wu, M. Abu-Omar, S.H. Tolbert, Fluorescent Probes of the Molecular Environment within Mesostructured Silica/Surfactant Composites under High Pressure, Nano Lett, 2001, 1, 27-31.
B.J. Schwartz, T.-Q. Nguyen, J. Wu, and S.H. Tolbert, Interchain and Intrachain Exciton Transport in Conjugated Polymers: Ultrafast Studies of Energy Migration in Aligned MEH-PPV/Mesoporous Silica Composites, Synthetic Metals, 2001, 116, 35-40.
C.C. Landry, S.H. Tolbert, K.W. Gallis, A. Monnier, G.D. Stucky, P. Norby, and J.C. Hanson, Phase Transitions in Mesostructured Silica/Surfactant Composites. Mechanisms for Change and Applications to Materials Synthesis, Chem. Mater, 2001, 13, 1600-1608.
A.F. Gross, E.J. Ruiz, V. Le, and S.H. Tolbert, The Role of Silica Chemistry in Controlling Phase Transitions in Silica/Surfactant Composite Materials, Microporous Mesoporous Mater, 2001, 44-45, 785-791.
A.F. Gross, V.H. Le, B.L. Kirsch, S.H. Tolbert, Understanding Phase Stability in Silica/Surfactant Composites through the Study of a Curvature Driven Rectangular Intermediate, Langmuir, 2001, 17, 3496-3504.
T.-Q. Nguyen, J. Wu, V. Doan, B.J. Schwartz, and S.H. Tolbert, Control of Energy Transfer in Oriented Conjugated Polymer-Mesoporous Silica Composites, Science, 2000, 288, 652-656.
A.F. Gross, E.J. Ruiz, and S.H. Tolbert, Effect of Framework Polymerization on the Phase Stability of Periodic Silica/Surfactant Nanostructured Composites, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2000, 104, 5448-5461.
J. Wu, X. Liu, and S.H. Tolbert, High Pressure Stability in Ordered Mesoporous Silicas – Rigidity and Elasticity through Nanometer Scale Arches, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2000, 104, 11837-11841.
J. Wu, A.F. Gross, and S.H. Tolbert, Host Guest Chemistry Using an Oriented Mesoporous Host: Alignment and Isolation of a Semiconducting Polymer in the Nano-Pores of an Ordered Silica Matrix, J. Phys. Chem. B, 1999, 103, 2374-2484.
A.B. Herhold, C.C. Chen, C.S. Johnson, S.H. Tolbert, and A.P. Alivisatos, Structural Transformations and Metastability in Semiconductor Nanocrystals, Phase Transition, 1999, 68, 1-25.
S.H. Tolbert, T.E. Schäffer, J. Feng, P.K. Hansma, and G.D. Stucky, A New Phase of Oriented Mesoporous Silicate Thin Films, Chem. Mater, 1997, 9, 1962-1967.
S.H. Tolbert, P. Sieger, G.D. Stucky, S.M.J. Aubin, C.-C. Wu, and D.N. Hendrickson, Control of Inorganic Layer Thickness in Self-Assembled Iron Oxide/Surfactant Composites, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 1997, 119, 8652-8661.
S.H. Tolbert, A. Firouzi, G.D. Stucky, and B.F. Chmelka, Magnetic Field Alignment of Ordered Silicate-Surfactant Composites and Mesoporous Silica, Science, 1997, 278, 264-268.
Firouzi, D.J. Schaefer, S.H. Tolbert, G.D. Stucky, and B.F. Chmelka, Magnetic-Field-Induced Orientational Ordering of Alkaline Lyotropic Silicate-Surfactant Liquid Crystals, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 1997, 119, 9466-9477.
A.V. Kadavanich, A. Mews, S.H. Tolbert, X. Peng, M.C. Schlamp, J.C. Lee, and A.P. Alivisatos; R.W. Collins, P.M. Fauchet, I. Shimizu, and J.-C. Vial, eds., Structural Investigations Of Colloidal Semiconductor Nanocrystal Heterostructures: Faceting And Epitaxy, Advances in Microcrystalline and Nanocrystalline Semiconductors, Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc, 1997, 452, 353-358.
P.F. Feng, X. Bu, S.H. Tolbert, and G.D. Stucky, Synthesis and Characterizations of Chiral Tetrahedral Cobalt Phosphates with Zeolite ABW and Related Frameworks, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 1997, 119, 2497-2504.
A.B. Herhold, S.H. Tolbert, A.A. Guzelian, and A.P. Alivisatos, E. Pilizzetti, Ed., A Comparison of Pressure-Induced Structural Transformations in CdSe, InP, and Si Nanocrystals, Fine Particles Science and Technology From Micro to Nanoparticles, 1996, 331-342.
S.H. Tolbert, A.B. Herhold, L.E. Brus, and A.P. Alivisatos, Pressure Induced Structural Transformations in Silicon Nanocrystals: Surface and Shape Effects, Phys. Rev. Lett, 1996, 76, 4384-4387.
A.M. Belcher, C. Zaremba, Q. Huo, C.C. Landry, S.H. Tolbert, A. Firouzi, M. Janicke, P.K. Hansma, D. E. Morse, B.F. Chmelka, S. Schacht, I.G. Voigt-Martin, F. Schüth, and G.D. Stucky, The Organic/Inorganic Interface and Materials Synthesis in the Nano- to Macroscale Continuum, Chemistry on the Nanometer Scale, the Robert A. Welch Foundation 40th Conference on Chemical Research, 1996, 101-112.
S.H. Tolbert and A.P. Alivisatos, High Pressure Phase Transitions in Semiconductor Nanocrystals, Ann. Rev. Phys. Chem, 1995, 46 (595-625).
S.H. Tolbert, A.P. Alivisatos, The Wurtzite to Rock Salt Structural Transformation in CdSe Nanocrystals under High Pressure, J. Chem. Phys, 1995, 102, 4642-4656.
S.H. Tolbert, A.B. Herhold, C.S. Johnson, and A.P Alivisatos, A Comparison of Quantum Confinement Effects on the Electronic Absorption Spectra of Direct and Indirect Gap Semiconductor Nanocrystals, Phys. Rev. Lett, 1994, 73, 3266-3269.
S.H. Tolbert and A.P Alivisatos, Size Dependence of a First Order Solid-Solid Phase Transition: The Wurtzite to Rock Salt Transformation in CdSe Nanocrystals, Science, 1994, 265, 373-376.
S.H. Tolbert and A.P Alivisatos; G.C. Hadipanayis and R.W. Siegel, eds., Se EXAFS Study of the Elevated Wurtzite to Rock Salt Structural Phase Transition in CdSe Nanocrystals, Nanophase Materials: Synthesis Properties-Applications, 1993, 26, 471-482.
S.H. Tolbert and A.P Alivisatos, Size Dependence of the Solid-Solid Phase Transition in CdSe Nanocrystals, Zeit. Phys. D- Atoms, Molecules, and Clusters, 1993, 26, 56-58.
S.H. Tolbert, A.P. Alivisatos, H.E. Lorenzana, M.B. Kruger, R. Jeanloz, Raman Studies on C60 at High Pressures and Low Temperatures, Chem. Phys. Lett, 1992, 188, 163-167.
J.R Heath, J.M. Hawkins, A.P. Alivisatos, R.J. Saykally, T.A. Lewis, S.D. Loren, A. Meyer, Y. Shibato, S.H. Tolbert, and J.J. Shiang, C60 Research at the University of California at Berkeley, Proc. of the 1990 Materials Research Conference, Boston, MA Nov. 25-29, 1990, 24-29.