Prof. Michael Urbakh

Emeritus in School of Chemistry
Department of Geophysics
ביה"ס לכימיה אמריטוס
Prof. Michael Urbakh
Phone: 03-6408324
Fax: 03-6409293
Office: Ornstein - Chemistry, 208


  • Nanotribology
    The focus is on a molecular level description of processes occurring between interacting surfaces in relative motion, which is needed to first understand, and later manipulate friction. Novel methods for controlling friction using mechanical and chemical approaches have been introduced. 

  • Single molecular force spectroscopy
    To both explore the results of force spectroscopy experiments and to reveal a molecular scale energy landscapes, we established relationships between equilibrium properties of the biomolecules and the characteristic features measured under non-equilibrium conditions. 

  • Molecular motors
    A new approach to build microscopic engines on the microscopic and mesoscopic scales has been introduced that allows an efficient transformation of the fed energy to directed motion. These engines move translationally or rotationally on surfaces and can perform useful functions such as pulling of a cargo.

  • Theoretical description of quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) response in liquids
    The main question, which was addressed, is what information on the properties of the solid-liquid interface and adsorbed molecules can be extracted from the QCM experiments.

  • Theory of interfaces of immiscible electrolytic solutions
    The main focus is on electrical properties, structure, kinetics and functionalization of ITIES with applications to electrical, optical and frictional properties and electrode kinetics.

  • Theory of electrowetting with two immiscible electrolytic solutions
    A comprehensive theory of electrowetting in which the polarization at all three interfaces (electrode-electrolytes and electrolyte-electrolyte interfaces) is taken into account has been developed. The theory resulted in a development of low-voltage electrotunable lenses.

  • Electrochemical electrovariable nanoplasmonics
    He introduced a new direction of research, electrically tunable optics based on interfaces between two immisible electrolyte solutions. In particular, we focused on (i) variable mirrors based on reversible adsorption of metal nanoparticles on droplets, and (2) optical filters based on quantum dots localized at ITIES. 



  • B.S., Mathematics and Physics, Moscow State University, Russia, 1971

  • M.S., Mathematics and Physics, Moscow State University, Russia, 1973

  • Ph.D., Chemical Physics, Moscow Physical University, Russia, 1978

  • Habilitation, Chemical Physics, Moscow Institute of Chemical Physics, Russia, 1985

Academic Appointments

  • Research Fellow, A.N. Frumkin Institute of Electrochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, 1973-1984

  • Senior Research Fellow, A.N. Frumkin Institute of Electrochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, 1984-1987

  • Leading Research Fellow, A.N. Frumkin Institute of Electrochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, 1987-1990

  • Visiting Professor, School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1990-1991

  • Senior Lecturer, School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1991-1992

  • Associate Professor, School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1992-1998

  • Professor, School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1998-Present

Awards and Prizes

  • "Guastella" fellowship for outstanding scientists, Rashi" Foundation, Israel, 1991

  • Alexander Kuznetzov Prize for Theoretical Electrochemistry, International Society of Electrochemistry, 2010

  • XIN Fellow, Tel Aviv-Tsinghua Universities, 2013

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