The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Elianna Isaac, a first-year graduate student, has been named an honorable mention by the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), a highly competitive fellowship program administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF). As well, two department alumni currently in Ph.D. programs—Robert Lusi ’15 and Drew Morrill ’13—have received fellowships.
Elianna Isaac joined our Ph.D. program in Fall 2017 from the University of Sioux Falls. She works in the laboratory of Professor Christoph Rose-Petruck, and is currently researching lithium dendrite (crystal) growth in lithium metal batteries. While Li-metal batteries are cycling, dendrites—which short the battery and cause it to catch on fire—can form. In order to implement commercial Li-metal batteries, which have a higher theoretical capacity than Li-ion batteries, the problem of dendrite growth needs to be solved. In order to understand the processes occurring in an operating Li-metal battery, Elianna uses x-ray spectroscopy to capture images of the entire electrode. From these images, she extracts information on what is occurring inside the battery while it cycles.
Robert Lusi concentrated in Chemistry. He completed a research project in the laboratory of Professor Amit Basu, receiving his Sc.B. in 2015. After graduation, he spent two years at AstraZeneca in the IMED Graduate Program. Now, he is a first-year Ph.D. student at U.C. Berkeley in the laboratory of Professor Richmond Sarpong. As part of the Sarpong Group, he is working towards the total synthesis of alkaloid and terpenoid natural products.
Drew Morrill concentrated in Chemical Physics, receiving his Sc.B. in 2013, and is currently a graduate student in the Kapteyn-Murnane Group at the University of Colorado Boulder. He uses sophisticated tabletop laser systems to probe the structure and temporal dynamics of a variety of materials. In particular, he is interested in magnetic materials and an exotic state of matter known as warm dense matter. He is also interested in the fundamental light science which enables us to see very small nanoscale structures and witness events the femtosecond scale. His research group utilizes a non-linear optical process known as high-harmonic generation to convert visible pulses of light to ultrafast bursts of coherent short wavelength radiation. This novel light source is a window into a host of incompletely understood systems.
Congratulations to Elianna, Robert, and Drew on these accomplishments!