2020 challenged us all but we made it! We worked remotely, gave online talks and redesigned outreach activities to run over Zoom. The hardest part was not being able to go out as a group but we managed to sneak in a socially distanced get-together complete with a game of catch!
Here are our highlights:
WE MOVED! Yes, finally. We are all settled in the new space at AIM Photonics LEAP alongside our collaborators from Pratap Rao’s Nanoenergy Lab, Doug Petkie’s THz & MM Wave Lab, and Shawn Liu’s Optomechanics Lab. We love our new space and look forward to doing science there. We even have a view! (well, we’d need to open blackout blinds or step out to the hallway to enjoy it).
We published four papers, two of them on properties and applications of MXenes in collaboration with Drexel University’s Michel Barsoum’s group (1 and 2, which is featured as an inside cover of Advanced Photonics Research), one on carrier dynamics across topological to band insulator transition in collaboration with Stepanie Law’s group at U of Delaware, and one on a new promising solar material in collaboration with Pratap Rao’s Nanoenergy Lab at WPI. Lyubov also published a book chapter in collaboration with Ron Grimm (WPI) and Ben Fregoso (Kent State).
We have received multiple awards that will fund our work over the next few years: NSF MRI award will fund the purchase of a new spectroscopy system, a CCDC Soldier Center grant on Electromagnetic Interference Shielding with MXenes in collaboration with Michel Barsoum (Drexel) and Josh Uzarski (CCDC SC). Lyubov is also on a WPI team that was awarded an NSF Research Traineeship Grant: Data-Driven Sustainable Engineering for a Circular Economy.
Katy has been awarded funding for a 6 month internship at Natick Soldier Center lab, looking at 2D semiconductor-based sensors.
Erika received WRAMP (Women’s Research and Mentorship Program) grant from WPI Women’s Impact Network, and used it to mentor a team of an undergraduate student and two high school students and introduce them to optics and spectroscopy.
We gave lots of talks at national and international conferences (really, lots!). Katy, Teng and Guangjiang gave talks at SPIE Photonics West. Guangjiang and Erika gave talks at IRMMW-THz 2020, and Lyuba gave a keynote talk at the same conference. Lyuba also gave invited talks at SPIE Europe, SPIE Defense Applications, MXenes 2020. More to come in 2021!
Dr. Teng Shi completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in our group, and moved to Los Alamos National Lab. Andrew Mendizabal graduated with an MS Degree in 09/2020.We will miss them and wish them all the best.
Finally, Erika has successfully passed her Comprehensive Written Exam, and Guangjiang has successfully passed his Candidacy Exam, making him officially a PhD candidate. Congratulations, we are proud of you!