Ben Ocko is a soft-matter physicist. He has pioneered the use of surface x-ray scattering to study liquid, soft, and soft interfaces using surface x-ray scattering methods. He has contributed to the understanding of the phase behavior of surfaces under temperature, electrochemical, and pressure. With Moshe Deutsch, he discovered surface freezing at the vapor interface in alkane and alkane derivative molecules where a single or bilayer forms at the vapor surface where the underlying liquid remains molten. His team discovered surface layering in liquids metals and the role of capillary waves in setting the roughness of liquid surfaces. More recently he has turned his attention to ordering at liquid/liquid surfaces. Ben has also contributed to our understanding of nanowetting on nanostructured substrates, the structure of electrode surfaces under potential control, self-assembled monolayers, block copolymer thin films, organic photovoltaic materials under confinement, ionic liquids, and Langmuir films on mercury.
Together with Peter Pershan (Harvard University) they developed the X22B liquid surface spectrometer (LSS) at NSLS. Ben also developed the LSS at ID10 at the APS. Ben was the PI on the proposal to build the Soft Matter Interfaces Beamline at NSLS II and served as the chair of the Beam Line Advisory Committee. Ben joined NSLS II in 2015 where he is helping to develop new soft-matter beamlines. Currently he is leading the effort for the Processing and Liquids Surface (PLS) beamline at NSLS II. This facility will include state-of-the-art instruments for liquid surface studies and operando polymer processing. Ben has published over 250 papers and has an H-index of 58 (2016).