Chemistry Department
Professor Michael Hagerman faculty photograph.

Michael E. Hagerman

Job Title
Professor of Chemistry
ISEC 281
Chemistry, ESPE, SMTC

Research interests

Inorganic and materials chemistry applied to the synthesis of inorganic and organic nanocomposites.

My general research interests focus on inorganic and materials chemistry applied to the synthesis and extensive characterization of inorganic/organic nanocomposites for applications in heterogeneous catalysis, chemical sensing, conductive assemblies, interconnects, photonics and solar cells. Our research group explores the chemical factors that control the inner architecture of solids and exploits these factors to rationally design and fabricate advanced nanomaterials. Of particular interest are the inclusion of organic nonlinear optical dyes, laser dyes, and polymers within hectorite and Laponite clay thin films and mesoporous hosts such as MCM-41. Laponite nanoparticles provide versatile inorganic scaffolds as robust, transparent films can be coated onto various substrates through facile self-assembly from the aqueous phase. The inner architectures of these advanced materials can be selectively tuned using embedded cationic surfactants to optimize the inclusion, aggregation and organization of semiconductor nanoclusters (tailored CdSe nanoparticles) and/or organic chromophores such as rhodamine 6G leading to advanced nanocomposites with novel photophysical properties. Characterization methods have included: uv/vis, infrared and fluorescence spectroscopies, thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, scanning electron microscopy, optical microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, powder X-ray diffraction, Nd:YAG laser second harmonic generation studies, electron paramagnetic spectroscopy and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Teaching interests

CHM 101 Introductory Chemistry I

CHM 101 Introductory Chemistry I Lab
CHM 102 Introductory Chemistry II
CHM 102 Introductory Chemistry II Lab
CHM 224 Frontiers of Nanotechnology & Nano Materials
CHM 260 Inorganic Chemistry
CHM 260 Inorganic Chemistry Lab
CHM 360 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry: Materials
ESC 324 Advanced Topics in Nanoscience: Microscopy of Self-Assembled Nanostructures


(refereed journal articles; * indicates undergraduate coauthor(s))

  • “Tris(2,2’-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) cations as photoprobes of clay tactoid architecture within hectorite and laponite films.” Michael E. Hagerman, Samuel J. Salamone*, Robert W. Herbst*, and Amy L. Payeur*, Chemistry of Materials, 2003, 15, 443–450.
  • “Catalytic hydrolysis of 4-nitrophenyl phosphate by lanthanum(III)-hectorite.” Steven T. Frey, Benjamin M. Hutchins*, Brian J. Anderson*, Teresa K. Schreiber*, and Michael E. Hagerman, Langmuir, 2003, 19, 2188-2192.

  • “Directed Self-Assembly in Laponite/CdSe/Polyaniline Nanocomposites.” Joanne D. Kehlbeck, Michael E. Hagerman, Brian D. Cohen, Jennifer Eliseo*, Melissa Fox*, William Hoek*, David Karlin*, Evan Leibner*, Emily Nagle, Ian Schaefer*, Alexandra Toney*, Michael Topka*, Richard Uluski*, and Charles Wood* Langmuir, 2008, 24, 9727-9738.

  • "Atomic Force Microscopy Examination of Polymeric Nanocomposite Layers," Bernadette Peace, Michael Topka, Ursula Williams, Kenneth Skorenko*, Adam Kowalski*, Michael Hagerman, and Rebecca Cortez, Materials Letters, 2011, 65, 3208-3211.

  • “NanoGrande: Electron Microscopy Education and Outreach Through a Collaboration of Scientists and Artists,” P. Catravas, K. Bubriski, M. D. Frey, M. E. Hagerman, B. Cohen, J. J. McGee, and S. S. Bowser, Microscopy Today, 2013, 24, 42-46.

  • "Comparative AFM Studies of Water Processable Polyaniline Films: Influence of Reaction Time on Nanomorphology and Conductivity." Jared S. Mondschein*, Adam Kowalski*, Joanne D. Kehlbeck, Michael E. Hagerman, and Rebecca Cortez, Materials Letters, 2014, 131, 262-265.

  • “Water Processable Laponite/Polyaniline/Graphene Oxide Nanocomposites for Energy Applications,” Isaac A. Ramphal* and Michael E. Hagerman, Langmuir, 2015, 31, 1505-1515.

  • “Cobalt-alumina sol gels: Effects of heat treatment on structure and catalytic ability,” Ryan M. Bouck*, Ann M. Anderson, Chetna Prasad*, Michael E. Hagerman, and Mary K. Carroll, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 2016, 453, 94-102.

  • “Improving conductivity in carbon nanotube percolating networks through inclusion of Laponite nanoparticles,” Lukas Valdman*, Don Dobbs, and Rebecca Cortez, and Michael E. Hagerman, Materials Letters, 2018, 217, 88-91.
  • “Nanoscale morphology, tribology and electrical properties of polyaniline/graphene oxide/LAPONITE composites investigated using atomic force microscopy,” Isaac A. Ramphal and Michael E. Hagerman, Nanoscale, 2019, 11, 20876-20883.

Additional media


Co-Director of the Union College Nanotechnology Program


Recent Funding

  • “Building Bridges Between the Engineering Classroom and the Research Laboratory: Nanoscience at Union College.” P. Catravas, M. Hagerman, B. Cohen, R. Cortez and S. Amanuel. NSF NUE (EEC 0939322), April 2009. Funded at $200,000.
  • “Acquisition of Micro-Raman and Micro-IR Spectrometers for a Multi-disciplinary Spectroscopy Laboratory at Union College.” D. Hayes, M. Vineyard, S. Amanuel, M. Hagerman, and J. Garver. NSF NUE (DMR 0959272), August 2009. Funded at $299,638
  • “Engaging Evidence: Improving Student Learning at Union College.” T. McCarty, D. Klein, L. Cox, M. Hagerman, B. Cohen and B. Raymond. Teagle Foundation Planning Grant, April 2011. Funded at $70,000.
  • “Engaging Evidence: Implementation Grant for Improving Student Learning at Gettysburg College, Union College, and Washington & Lee University.” T. McCarty, D. Klein, L. Cox, M. Hagerman, B. Cohen and B. Raymond. Teagle Foundation Implementation Grant, June 2012. Funded at $230,000.
  • “Acquisition of an Inverted Optical Microscope to Enable Interdisciplinary Research that Unites Five Departments within the Union College Nanoscience Program.” S. Amanuel, M. Hagerman, R. Cortez, P. Catravas, and B. Cohen. NSF MRI (DMR 1229142), September 2012. Funded at $308,323.
  • “Photoconductivity Characterization of Polymeric Nanocomposites.” R. Cortez and M. Hagerman. NSF EAGER (CMMI 1342577), July 2013. Funded at $99,962.
  • “Union’s Beckman Scholars Program.” W. Sternberg, C. Anderson-Hanley, M. K. Carroll, L. Fleishman, K. Fox, M. Hagerman, A. Huisman, J. Kehlbeck, S. Kirkton, L. MacManus-Spencer, R. Yukilevich. Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, December 2017. Funded at $104,000.
  • “SUCCESS-LEADERS: Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM.” J. Kehlbeck, David Cotter, M. Hagerman, L. MacManus-Spencer, R. Cortez, S.Amanuel, P. Catravas, R. Bucinell, and H. Frey. NSF Scholarships in STEM Track 2 (DUE-1742407), September 2018. Funded at $996,275.
  • “Acquisition of PXRD System at Union College.” M. Hagerman, S. Amanuel, A. Anderson, J. Kehlbeck, and H. Watson. NSF MRI (CHM 1828144), August 2018. Funded at $327,398.

Academic credentials

B.S., North Central College; M.S., Northwestern University; Ph.D., Northwestern University