Russell Thompson

Professor, Physics and Astronomy

Research interests: nanocomposite materials; self-assembly, soft condensed matter physics


Professor Russell Thompson’s group conducts research with the aim of gaining understanding of the rules of self-assembly in soft matter systems. These rules of self-assembly operate on a length scale of one-billionth of a metre: the length scale of nanoscience.

Thompson joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo in 2004, continuing his theoretical focus on nanoscale self-assembly. His research has benefited from strong collaboration with other members of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.

Thompson earned his PhD from the Joint Programme for Theoretical Physics of the University of Western Ontario and then assumed a post-doctorial fellowship at the University of Reading in England where his present interest in self-assembling nanoscale systems began. Thompson pursued his interest in block copolymers and their self-assembly in Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, where he developed novel theory for self- assembling nanocomposite materials. These are systems that are under study for use in, for example, photonic band-gap materials, nanoporous materials and high density memory elements. His work continued at Los Alamos National Laboratory where Thompson developed theory to predict the mechanical response of both block copolymer nanocomposites and traditional copolymer systems.


  • PhD, University of Western Ontario
  • MSc, University of Regina
  • BSc, University of Ottawa

Russell Thompson

    University of Waterloo