Ph.D., Chemistry and Physics (minor), California Institute of Technology, 2015
A.B. Hamilton College, 2008
Fulbright Scholar, Heinrich-Heine Univ, 2009
929 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637 USA
Chemistry happens at interfaces. Whether at the interface of solute and solvent, layers in a solar cell, or at a phospholipid bilayer differences in structure and dynamics at the interface will determine the outcome of chemical processes. My research aims to understand these differences and to use what we learn to control chemical outcomes. To observe molecular and excitonic dynamics on their native timescales (femtoseconds to picoseconds), we use ultrafast lasers that can resolve these events in time. For example, photosynthetic organisms transfer energy from photons absorbed in an antenna complex to a reaction center on a femtosecond time scale. However, in the presence of too much sunlight, plants absorb more photons than they can use and must dissipate this energy before it can damage the cell. Using ultrafast 2D electronic spectroscopy, we are working to understand these photoprotective processes in living cultures of cyanobacteria and green algae.
Some questions cannot be answered with existing techniques, and some aspects of my research have focused on technique development to provide these answers. One such example is resolving the dynamics of exactions at grain boundaries in solar cells. To correlate the structure with dynamics of materials on the meso- and nanoscale, I have been working to develop Optical Resonance Imaging (ORI) to provide sub-diffraction-limited, wide-field, ultrafast imaging. ORI maps space to time using temporal gradients in an analogous way to how MRI maps space to energy using magnetic-field gradients. With this technique, we will be able to visualize energy flow through a material and directly correlate dynamics with structure.
Born: 9/8/1986, New Hartford, NY, USA.
M.A. Allodi, P.D. Dahlberg, R.J. Mazuski, H.C. Davis, J.P. Otto, and G.S. Engel, "Optical resonance imaging: An optical analog to MRI with sub-diffraction-limited capabilities" ACS Photonics 3, 2445–2452 2016.