Argonne National Laboratory

Nicola Ferrier

Computer Scientist

Nicola Ferrier’s research interests include the use of computer vision (digital images) to control robots, machinery and devices, with applications as diverse as medical systems, manufacturing and projects that facilitate scientific discovery (such as her project using machine vision and robotics for plant phenotype studies). The use of visual feedback to control a robot, process or device is advantageous when precise fixturing (holding things in precise locations) is impractical or impossible.

Ferrier’s work has been applied to visual monitoring of polymer processing, visual control of crystal formation processes and visual monitoring of nano-scale assembly processes.

Previously, Ferrier was a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1996 to 2012.

Awards, Honors and Memberships

  • National Science Foundation Career Award, 1997
  • Vilas Associates Faculty Award, University of Wisconsin, 1999
  • Honored Instructor Award, University of Wisconsin, 2009

Publications and Patents

  • Kim, S-O., Solak, H., Stoykovich, M., Ferrier, N.J., de Pablo, J., Nealey, P., “Epitaxial self assembly of block copolymers on lithographically defined nanopatterned substrates,” Nature 424: 411-414, 2003.
  • Nembhard, H., Ferrier,N.J., Osswald, T., and Sanz-Uribe, J.R., “An Integrated Model for Statistical and Vision Monitoring in Manufacturing Transitions,” Journal of Quality and Reliability Engineering International 19( 6): 461-476, 2003.
  • Lu, C. and Ferrier, N.J., “Automated Analysis of Repetitive Joint Motion,” IEEE Trans. On Information Technology in Biomedicine 7(4): 263 – 273, 2003.
  • Lu, C. and Ferrier, N.J. “Repetitive Motion Analysis: Segmentation, Identification, and Event Detection,” IEEE Trans. on Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence 26(2):258-264, 2004.
  • Lu, C. and Ferrier, N.J., “A Digital Video System for the Automated Measurement of Repetitive Joint Motion,” IEEE Trans. on Information Technology in Biomedicine 8(3): 399 - 404, 2004.
  • Noriega, M., Ferrier, N. and Osswald, T. “In-line Measurement of the Polymer Melting Behavior in Single Screw Extruders,” Journal of Polymer Engineering 24(6): 557-578, 2004.
  • Meltsner, M. Ferrier, N. & Thomadsen, B., “Design and Quantitative Analysis of a Novel Brachytheraphy Robot,” Medical Physics 32(6), 2005.
  • Klein, B.E.K, Hubbard,L., Ferrier,N.J., Klein, R., Klein, D.J., Lee, K.E., Ewen, A., Jensen, K., Evans, M.D., “Detecting Progression of Nuclear Sclerosis: Human Grading Versus Semi-Automated Computer Grading”, Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 46(4): 1155-1162, 2005.
  • Larsen, P.A., Rawlings, J.B. and Ferrier, N.J., “ An algorithm for analyzing noisy, in situ images of high-aspect-ratio crystals to monitor particle size distribution,” Chemical Engineering Science 61(16): 5236-5248, 2006.
  • Mosher A, Klein BEK, Klein R, Knudtson MD, Ferrier NJ, “Comparison of Retinal Vessel Measurements in Digital vs Film Images”, American Journal of Ophthalmology 142(5): 875-878, 2006.
  • Park, S-M., Ravindran, P., La Y-H., Craig, G., Ferrier, N, and Nealey, P. "Combinatorial Generation and Replicating Directed Assembly of Complex and Varied Geometries with Thin Films of Diblock Copolymers", Langmuir 23(17): 9037-9045, 2007.
  • Meltsner, M.A., Ferrier, N.J. and Thomadsen, B. R., Observations on rotating needle insertions using a brachytherapy robot, Physics in Medicine and Biology 52(19): 6027-6037, 2007.
  • Larsen, P.A., Rawlings, J.B. and Ferrier, N.J., “Model-Based Object Recognition to Measure Crystal Size and Shape Distributions from In Situ Video Images”, Chemical Engineering Science 62: 1430-1441, 2007.
  • Park, S-M., Craig, G.S.W.,  Liu, C-C., La, Y-H.,  Ferrier, N.J.,  and Nealey, P.F.,  “Characterization of Cylinder-Forming Block Copolymers Directed to Assemble on Spotted Chemical Patterns,” Macromolecules 41(23): 9118–9123, 2008.
  • Stuen, K., Thomas, C.,  Liu, G., Ferrier,  N.J., Nealey,  P.F, “Dimensional Scaling of Cylinders in Thin Films of Block Copolymer-Homopolymer Ternary Blends,” Macromolecules 42(14): 5139–5145, 2009.
  • Shultz E.F., Cole, E.G., Smith, C.B., Zinn,  M.R.,  Ferrier, N.J.  and Pfefferkorn, F.E.,  “Effect of Compliance and Travel Angle on Friction Stir Welding with Gaps,” ASME Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering 132(4): 041010-19, 2010.
  • Liu,C-C.,  Craig, G.S.W.,  Kang, H.,  Ruiz, R., Nealey, P.F., and Ferrier, N.J., “Practical Implementation of Order Parameter Calculation for Directed Assembly of Block Copolymer Thin Films,” Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics 48(24): 2589–2603, 2010.
  • Fehrenbacher, A.,  Duffie,  N.A., Ferrier, N.J., Pfefferkorn, F.E., Zinn, M.R.,  “Towards Automation of Friction Stir Welding through temperature measurement and closedloop control”, ASME Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering 133(5), 2011.
  • Chandler, C., Hubbard, L.D., Ferrier, N.J., Gangaputra, S., Pauli, T., Peng, Q., Danis, R., “Suboptimal Image Focus Broadens Retinal Vessel Caliber Measurement”, Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, IOVS, 52: 8558-8561, 2011.
  • Shultz, E.F.,  Fehrenbacher, A., Pfefferkorn, F.E.,  Zinn, M.R. and Ferrier, N.J.,  “Shared Control of Friction Stir Welding in the presence of imperfect joint fit-up”, SME Journal of Manufacturing Processes 15: 25—33, 2013.
  • Subramanian, R., Spalding E., and Ferrier,  N.J., “A high throughput robotic system for Plant Phenotype Studies”, Machine Vision and Applications, 2012.
  • Cole,  E.G., Fehrenbacher, A.,  Shultz, E.F.,  Smith, C.B.,  Ferrier, N.J., Zinn, M.R., and Pfefferkorn, F.E.,  “Stability of the Friction Stir Welding Process in Presence of Workpiece Mating Variations” International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 63(5-8): 583-593, 2012.
  • Thomas W. Pauli, T.W., Gangaputra, S., Hubbard, L.D., Thayer, D.W., Chandler, C.S., Peng, Q., Narkar, A.,  Ferrier, N.J.,  and Danis, R.P., “Effect of Image Compression and Resolution on Retinal Vascular Caliber”, Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, IOVS, 53:5117-5123, 2012.
  • U.S. Patent 7,314,363, “Device to visualize in-line and quantify the polymer melting in plasticating screw machines without significantly affecting its thermal regime”
  • U.S. Patent 7,916,935, “Systems and methods for automatically determining 3-dimensional object information and for controlling a process based on automatically-determined 3-dimensional object information”

Selected Professional Activities

  • Member,Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers