Newswise — Awards recognize achievements in basic and applied sciences. 

Nine postdoctoral appointees at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory received 2022 Outstanding Postdoctoral Performance Awards. The awards were established by Argonne to recognize postdoctoral researchers who have made significant contributions to their research field, shown ingenuity in problem solving, demonstrated collaborative and leadership ability, made a significant impact on Argonne and DOE missions, and demonstrated Argonne’s core values through their work.

“Congratulations to this year’s awardees, who are pushing the frontiers of basic and applied research. They reflect the diverse expertise among Argonne’s world-class community of talent,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. ​“Their success supports our mission to accelerate the science and technology that drive U.S. prosperity and security.”

Postdoctoral Performance Award in Applied and Engineering Research

Five postdocs received the Postdoctoral Performance Award in Applied and Engineering Research for their work seeking solutions to problems through the development of new materials and methods, creating and designing solutions to real-world problems, implementing process improvements and improving final products. They are:

Anakha BabuX-ray Science Division

Babu is involved in developing deep-learning-accelerated data compression and analysis techniques at the edge of X-ray detectors for the upgrade to the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science user facility. Babu led the development of a real-time, streaming ptychographic imaging framework using deep learning at the edge (edgePtychoNN). Her framework for Artificial Intelligence on Edge computing devices (AI@Edge) is being adapted by other APS beamlines as well.

Kathleen Beilsmith, Data Science and Learning division

Beilsmith developed tools for the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) and enabled the cross-disciplinary use of genetic data for the Environmental Systems Science Data Infrastructure for a Virtual Ecosystem. She developed a reporting format that makes microbial data available to researchers and modelers who do not have the bioinformatics expertise to process the raw data.

Samuel Kazmouz, Transportation and Power Systems division

Kazmouz helped further the development of advanced and predictive computational models for spark-ignition processes in engines, in particular the development of the Lagrangian-Eulerian Spark-Ignition (LESI) model. LESI was initially developed at Argonne in 2017 and had shown to be capable of significantly improving the way computational codes predict the behavior of the spark channel during spark-ignition processes in engines. The work done by Kazmouz significantly improved the LESI formulation and significantly pushed the state-of-the-art in ignition modeling forward.

Yanqi (Grace) Luo, X-ray Science Division

Luo is an expert in synchrotron methodologies and correlative microscopy development. She has developed a feature-based registration approach to analyze multi-scale images and built a novel software package to enable interactive data acquisition and visualization. The software has greatly advanced experiment automation and significantly increased the beamtime efficiency. She also carried out multi-scale tomography enabled by secondary sample preparation with a focused ion beam.

Sean Sullivan, Materials Science Division

Sullivan led a broad and diverse effort in the development of solid-state quantum systems for applications in quantum communication and sensing. He focused on four areas: 1) exploring new materials as hosts for quantum defects, 2) integrating these new material platforms with nanophotonic devices, 3) integrating quantum defects with magnetic materials, and 4) developing a real-world implementation of the quantum internet based on quantum-secure communications. All these efforts are closely tied to the development of the Argonne-based quantum communication testbed for the generation and transmission of optically entangled pulses (photons) through two 26-mile fiber loops.

Postdoctoral Performance Award in Basic Research

Four postdocs received the Postdoctoral Performance Award in Basic Research for fundamental, theoretical and discovery science that seeks understanding of systems and the creation of new knowledge. They are:

Xiuquan Zhou, Materials Science Division

Zhou has explored a generic synthetic method for multiple heterolayered materials that are quantum, electronic and magnetic materials or superconductors. This method is unique and will define future synthetic pathways leading to novel functional inorganic materials that cannot be made by conventional approaches. His groundbreaking rational synthetic scheme uses mixed hydroxide/halide fluxes with tunable basicity and solubility. He synthesized over 70 new heterolayered oxychalcogenides and metal chalcogenides (metal sulfides, selenides and tellurides).

Claus Mueller-Gatermann, Physics division

Mueller-Gatermann played an essential role in an experimental program using Argonne’s GRETINA, a gamma-ray spectrometer used to study the structure and properties of atomic nuclei. He oversaw the status of the detectors, which included keeping them continually at very low temperatures, the smooth operation of the data acquisition system and the integration of other devices with the array. He was the point person in charge of interacting with users who participated in the experiments, including defining the procedures and training that enabled users to remotely participate.

Sarah Elliott, Chemical Sciences and Engineering division

Elliott focused on the development of a fully automated procedure for predicting the thermochemical and kinetic properties of different combustion mechanisms. Typically, these mechanisms consist of 1,000 species and 10,000 reactions. She was also part of a key effort to combine modeling, experiment and theory to unearth new aspects of the oxidation of acetone, commonly used as a solvent in manufacturing industrial products. She was also instrumental in helping to develop the AutoMech code, which enables first-principles mapping of kinetics and thermochemistry for whole combustion mechanisms.

Xi Yan, Materials Science Division

Yan is an expert at many of the unique tools available at the APS, such as X-ray magnetic circular dichroism, molecular beam epitaxy and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. She published work concerning the origin of 2D electron gas on the surface of SrTiO3. Her study was the first to show that point defects, such as oxygen vacancies and layer defects (including the titanium dioxide double layer at a surface), are wholly responsible for the 2D electron gas, which is a one-nanometer-thick conducting layer lying at the surface of the most commonly used oxide known in the complex oxide community. Due to the popularity of this substrate, this discovery has a large number of ramifications concerning the electronic properties of complex oxide surfaces and interfaces.

The Postdoctoral Performance Awards were established by the Argonne Leadership Institute to recognize the significant contributions Postdoctoral Appointees make to Argonne and DOE missions. The categories acknowledge the diverse expertise of Argonne’s postdoctoral community and the value of postdoctoral appointees’ contributions to the laboratory’s mission of accelerating science and technology that drive U.S. prosperity and security.

Awards were presented at a hybrid ceremony on Oct. 26, 2022 at the Annual Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium.

About the Advanced Photon Source

The U. S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the world’s most productive X-ray light source facilities. The APS provides high-brightness X-ray beams to a diverse community of researchers in materials science, chemistry, condensed matter physics, the life and environmental sciences, and applied research. These X-rays are ideally suited for explorations of materials and biological structures; elemental distribution; chemical, magnetic, electronic states; and a wide range of technologically important engineering systems from batteries to fuel injector sprays, all of which are the foundations of our nation’s economic, technological, and physical well-being. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers use the APS to produce over 2,000 publications detailing impactful discoveries, and solve more vital biological protein structures than users of any other X-ray light source research facility. APS scientists and engineers innovate technology that is at the heart of advancing accelerator and light-source operations. This includes the insertion devices that produce extreme-brightness X-rays prized by researchers, lenses that focus the X-rays down to a few nanometers, instrumentation that maximizes the way the X-rays interact with samples being studied, and software that gathers and manages the massive quantity of data resulting from discovery research at the APS.

This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.