Intros of Incoming 2011 UEC


Chair: Mark Dadmun

Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee and jointly appointed in the Chemical Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He earned his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and M.S. and degrees in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. Prof. Dadmun joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate. Dr. Dadmun’s current research interests include the examination of methods to improve the properties of polymer blends and nanocomposites by molecular level control of the structure of the two components.

Dadmun has extensive experience in Large User Facilities, having completed experiments at CNMS as well as neutron experiments for over 20 years at the National Center for Neutron Research at NIST, the High Flux Isotope Reactor at ORNL, the KFA in Jülich, Germany, the ILL, Grenoble, France, and the SNS. He has over 80 publications in refereed journals, eight books, journals and invited articles, and 92 invited presentations. Prof. Dadmun states, “My view of the CNMS User Group executive committee is to serve as the voice for all users in discussions with the scientists at the CNMS. From my many years of experience at large user facilities, I believe that this relationship must be solid and one where communication flows both ways in order for the facility to succeed. In particular, it is important that the user community has input on any expansion of areas of expertise and equipment and that the user community remain active in convincing our politicians of the benefits of their investment in user facilities across the country.”


Vice-Chair: Martyn McLachlan

Royal Academy of Engineering/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Research Fellow in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London and a member of the London Centre for Nanotechnology.

My research is focused on correlating structure-performance-processing relationships in functional materials. This covers a wide range of applications ranging from hybrid photovoltaics, nanostructured ferroelectrics, photonic structures and recently Li ion batteries. I have been able to carry out research at the CNMS which otherwise would not have been possible and have had the opportunity to use unique facilities and work alongside internationally leading researchers. I served on the UEC last year as an at-large member and was pleased to see the committee engage the user community by soliciting feedback, distributing our newsletter and help put together an amazing user week. As vice-chair I would like to ensure we build on the progress made last year by engaging current users and promoting the CNMS facility, both nationally and internationally, in order to ensure continued growth and development of the world-leading centre of excellence for nanoscience.


Secretary: Tony Hmelo

Research Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University and the Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE).

Professor Hmelo has spent the majority of his career designing, managing, directing or working in shared-research facilities with vast experience both as a customer of, and a provider of laboratory services. His shared-laboratory resume reveals he is the original designer of the Synchrotron Topography beamline X-19C at the National Synchrotron Light Sources (1988), which was managed as a PRT but serviced many external users. He has been co-PI on three flight experiments which have flown aboard the space shuttle Columbia, and has provided both ground and flight support for the USML (1992, 1995) and the MSL (1997) missions, and qualified to work in collaborative environments such as the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC), and the Payload Crew Training Complex (PCTC) at the Marshall Space Flight Center. At VINSE he provides and/or facilitates nanofabrication and material characterization services for a diverse community of 350 internal and external customers, and coordinates VINSE outreach efforts throughout the middle Tennessee region. Through these experiences, Prof. Hmelo has learned to balance the competing interests of various users of shared facilities with the goal of maximizing publishable results. His research focuses on the physics of the solid-liquid interface, and how that interface can be engineered for the realization of new devices and nano-materials. His current projects address the physics of fluid transport and bubble formation in nano-confined structures. In the laboratory he employs a variety of chemical as well as optical, electron and focused ion beam (FIB) lithographic techniques for the fabrication of micro- and nano-fluidic devices, and develops novel applications for thin-film planar heterostructures based on nano- crystalline diamond (NCD) and diamond-like carbon (DLC). He has served with distinction as a member-at-large on the CNMS User Executive Committee (UEC) continuously since 2008, and offers to continue sharing his wealth of experience working in user facilities with the UEC to improve the user experience at both the CNMS and at VINSE.


At-Large Members:

Nina Balke (ORNL/CNMS)

I am currently a research staff member at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at ORNL. I received my PhD in Germany in Materials Science followed by a postdoctoral position in Berkeley. My expertise is in the field of ferroelectric ceramics and thin films and scanning probe microscopy which I recently applied to Li-ion battery materials to investigate local electrochemical functionality to derive structure-property relationships for battery improvements. During my postdoctoral time in Berkeley, I came to CNMS as a user and had such a good experience that I decided to continue my postdoc at ORNL which finally resulted in a research staff member position. Here at ORNL I work with users and have user projects of my own, so I know every aspect of the user program from different points of view. This will help me to make valuable contributions to the user program.


David Bucknall (Georgia Tech)
Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology He gained his PhD at Imperial College, London, under the guidance of Dame Professor Julia Higgins in the area of polymer interfaces. He subsequently undertook postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. He returned to the UK as a senior instrument scientist at the UK National Neutron Facility (ISIS) within the Large Scale Structures Group in charge of one of the neutron reflectometers and its international user program. After 7 years at the ISIS Facility, he joined the Department of Materials, University of Oxford as a University Lecturer and after 6 years was appointed to the faculty of GT and is now a Professor and co-chair of the graduate committee in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. He is an expert in neutron reflectivity and aspects of polymer physics, and has research interests that covers surface and interface modification, inorganic-polymer nanocomposites, fullerene-based quantum information processing, stimuli-responsive copolymers, polymer based nanolithography including block copolymer nanopatterning and copolymer hydrogels for maxillofacial reconstructive surgery. He currently has funding and grants from several sources which involve both national and international collaborations including CNMS User Projects. He is committed to the support and development of National User Facilities and has previously served on a number of user committees in this support role (including a past and current committee member of the CNMS UEC), and welcomes the opportunity to further serve on the CNMS community via the UEC to help in the continued growth of this facility.



Marco Buongiorno Nardelli
(North Carolina State U.)
Full Professor in the Department of Physics at North Carolina State University where he holds a Joint Faculty Appointment with the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At NCSU, he currently leads a vibrant research group where the main research focus is the design of novel materials for 21st century applications in energy, environment, nano-electronics and devices using high-performance simulation techniques. He has been a pioneer in a number of fields, among which are: mechanical and electronic properties of nanotubes and nanostructures, functional oxides, wide-band semiconductors and interface materials, nano-catalysis, materials for energy storage and advanced theoretical and computational techniques for molecular electronics applications. His work has been highlighted both in the professional and popular press, including focus or invited articles on Nature News and Views, Science, Physical Review Letter Focus, Scientific American and a number of materials-oriented web-zines. His research is intrinsically inter- and multi-disciplinary, combining together materials science and engineering, nanoscience, solid state and molecular physics, chemistry, computer science and high-performance computing and it reflects with great clarity the highly synergistic role that computational materials science needs to play to address and resolve the great challenges of energy, environment, nanospintronics and molecular and photonic devices for the 21st century. Finally, he is an active participant to the communal effort for higher education in energy, nanotechnology and nanophase sciences and materials through the organization of specialized workshops, lectures, articles in the popular press and his research group web-site: He has been involved with the activities of the CNMS from its inception, both as a member of the Proposal Review Committee and as a user. He states: “I believe that CNMS is an outstanding research capability that fosters to the highest degree interdisciplinary and synergistic investigations. The foremost mission of the UEC is in guaranteeing that these resources are not only sustained but enhanced and that more and more investigators can find open doors for great discoveries. Serving as member-at-large in the UEC is a commitment that I will take with dedication and enthusiasm.”



Michael Hickner (Penn State U.)
Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State. I received my Ph.D. from James E. McGrath at Virginia Tech in 2003, and I have previous experience with the National Labs as a student at LANL and as a postdoc and staff member at Sandia. My expertise is in polymers with emphasis on ion-containing membranes for fuel cells, water treatment, and other applications where the heterogeneous nanophase structure of the material and its transport properties are tightly coupled. In our current work, my group employs the tools of polymer chemistry, spectroscopy, structural characterization (microscopy and scattering), and transport measurements to understand the mechanisms of ion and water transport in polymers. I have been collaborating with CNMS since the Fall of 2007 in the synthesis of new surface-tethered polymers and in the structural, optical, and electrical characterization of polymer/carbon nanotube composites. As an at-large member of the UEC, I hope to bring my experience of working in materials research that is focused on critical problems related to energy applications. Additionally, I feel a great affinity for the National Labs and with national user facilities, in general, as I have had great experiences at these places. I want to be a promoter of the exciting things happening at CNMS and Oak Ridge facilities. As a member of the UEC, I will ensure the procedures are in place to maintain a dynamic user group with cutting-edge projects and position CNMS as a world-leader in materials research. I'm particularly interested in getting early-career researchers, postdocs, and students more involved in the work at CNMS.



Ron Jones (NIST)
Currently serving as Director of the newly formed industrial consortium “nSoft” at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a collaboration of the NIST Polymers Division, the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), and the Center for Neutron Science at the University of Delaware. In 2002, I received a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and was later hired as a permanent staff member in the Polymers Division of NIST. My research has focused on advancing technologies for manufacturing of nanoscale and nanostructured materials, including research in photolithography, nanoimprint, nanoporous low-k dielectrics, and directed self-assembly. I believe that my experience on both ends of the user facility experience makes me an excellent candidate to continue serving the needs of the CNMS user community. These experiences include serving as a member-at-large for the past year on the user executive committee (UEC), productive collaborations as a user at CNMS, NCNR, Advanced Photon Source (APS), and the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, and alternatively as a member of an APS proposal review panel. I feel that the CNMS UEC has made real impact in the relationship of the CNMS and its users of the last year, and I look forward to seeing many of our ideas through to completion. As a long time user of the CNMS, I see the CNMS as a critical scientific resource for the 21st century, and will work hard to support the vision of the Chair, enhance communication between users and the UEC, and advocate on behalf of user’s needs.



Vivek Prabhu (NIST)
Staff-member in the Polymers Division of the Materials Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD where I lead a project on Nanoparticle Assembly in Complex Fluids. Before joining NIST, I completed my Ph.D. in 2001 in Polymer Science and Engineering from UMass-Amherst with Professor M. Muthukumar on the topic of critical phenomena in polyelectrolyte solutions. Neutron scattering was crucial to my research and involved close collaborations with Drs. Yuri Melnichenko and George Wignall at ORNL High Flux Isotope Reactor. As an NRC postdoc Fellow with Dr. Wen-li Wu at NIST, I expanded my research into polymers at surfaces and interfaces using neutron and X-ray specular and off-specular reflectivity methods, as well as polyelectrolyte dynamics as probed by neutron spin-echo spectroscopy. I’ve learned how crucial it is to design and execute experiments, but also how important it is to have sufficient resources and expertise. The CNMS research staff and facilities can contribute to solving the most important nanoscale materials problems. While the CNMS has the potential to reduce barriers to research that use neutron scattering, it also has vast nanofabrication, high-resolution microscopy and scanning-probe methods to name a few. As a member of the UEC, I will support and foster the research of National need to resolve rich and challenging scientific questions. A specific goal I have is to bring to light the broader-based capabilities available at CNMS, which includes the depth of the growing CNMS scientific staff.



Colin Wolden
(Colorado School of Mines)
Weaver Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines (CSM). He gained his Ph.D. at MIT, Cambridge, under the guidance of Professor Karen Gleason in the area of chemical vapor deposition. He subsequently undertook postdoctoral studies as an ARO/NRC fellow at in the Materials Science Department at North Carolina State University. In 1997 he began his academic appointment at CSM, creating a research program focused on the synthesis and processing of thin films and nanostructures used in a range of applications including optoelectronics, catalysis, membranes, and photovoltaics. He has published over 65 papers, 2 book chapters, and holds 2 patents. Selected honors include the 3M Untenured Faculty Award (2000), the NSF Career award (2001), and an E.T.S. Walton Visiting Fellowship (2010). He serves as the CSM site director for the Center of Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion, an industrial consortium based in Colorado. In addition, he serves as the industrial liaison for the Renewable Energy Materials Research at Engineering Center (REMRSEC) based at CSM. He currently has funding and grants from several sources including DOE and NSF which involve both national and international collaborations including CNMS User Projects. He is committed to the support and development of National User Facilities, and welcomes the opportunity to further serve on the CNMS UEC to help in the continued growth of this facility.



Past Chair, ex officio member
Venkatraman Gopalan
(Penn State U.)
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. (Materials Science and Engineering) from Cornell University in 1995, and held subsequent postdoctoral appointments at Carnegie Mellon University (1995-1996) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (1996-1998). He joined Penn State in 1999 as an assistant professor. His research interest is in light-matter interactions, particularly in nonlinear optical spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy of multiferroics, laser ceramics, and biological matter, and in the theory, fabrication and demonstration of optical metamaterial concepts. He has published over 140 papers, 3 review articles, and holds 4 patents. Two of his patents have led to a successful company (OXIDE, with $20 million assets). He has served on the technical board of advisors for Collinear, another startup company in the Bay Area. He has received the NSF Career award (2000), ACerS Robert R. Coble Award (2002), Corning Faculty Fellowship (2004), NRC Faculty Fellowship (2004), Wilson Award for Excellence in Research (Penn State, 2004), Eschbach Faculty Fellowship (Northwestern U., 2007), and the ACerS Richard M. Fulrath Award (2009). He has organized over 15 conferences as well as conceived and organized two workshops on Infrared Materials and Technologies at Penn State, and is currently serving a second term on the editorial board of the Annual Reviews of Materials Research. He is the associate director of the Center for Optical Technologies, a joint center between Penn State and Lehigh universities and is the leader of the interdisciplinary research group (IRG) titled “Strain-enabled multiferroics” in the NSF-MRSEC Center for Nanoscale Science at Penn State.