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Oscar Vilches

Professor Emeritus

Contact Information

B424, B025
Office Hours: 
By appointment, send e-mail


I came to UW as an assistant professor in July, 1968, and retired at the end of June, 2006. I did my undergraduate studies in Argentina (U of La Plata and Bariloche Physics Institute), and my graduate work in Bariloche and in the United States (Illinois). My doctoral degree is from the University of Cuyo, a regional university to which the Instituto de Física de Bariloche belongs academically. I was a post doctoral researcher at both U. of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and at UC San Diego. Initially in my career I worked on problems related to the production of very low temperatures in the laboratory, participating in the development of magnetic cooling and dilution refrigerators. After arriving to UW I designed and built a dilution refrigerator capable of working continuously down to 0.015 Kelvin and embarked on projects measuring the properties of helium, hydrogen and oxygen single and multilayer atomic/molecular films deposited on uniform surfaces. The local thermodynamic measurements were supplemented with neutron scattering experiments performed in collaboration with a French group based in Marseille. In recent years I have collaborated with Cobden's group on the study of physisorption on individual carbon nanotubes and on suspended graphene sheets. In addition, I have collaborated with Prof. Charles Campbell's group in the UW Chemistry Department on the study of physisorption on metal-organic frameworks (MOF). I am currently assisting in the installation of a new dilution refrigerator with optic capabilities, to be utilized in the study of properties of new materials at low temperatures.

Since retirement I have taught physics at the UW Transition School (part of the Robinson Center for Young Scholars, 4 years, and a few other courses on a part time basis. I don't have my own research group anymore.