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Dr. Robert O’Brien is an internationally recognized Principal Nuclear Scientist/Engineer who has focused his career on the development of advanced materials and energy systems in addition to the manufacturing processes to produce materials for harsh environments Dr. O’Brien received a PhD in the nuclear engineering and physics of radioisotope and nuclear power / propulsion systems for space exploration from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Under his PhD research project, Dr. O’Brien proposed the use of americium-based radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) and developed Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) Electric Field Assisted Sintering Techniques (EFAST) for the encapsulation of nuclear materials for both RTGs and nuclear reactor fuels. Dr. O’Brien also received a Masters degree in Physics with Space Science and technology from the University of Leicester. Dr. O’Brien’s research and programmatic management experience in advanced manufacturing of harsh environment materials, space systems and instrumentation design/development, defense systems, nuclear fuel performance, nuclear instrumentation, nuclear safety, irradiation testing, radioisotope source design, and nuclear power system design and development.
Dr. O’Brien currently serves as the Director of Advanced Manufacturing for the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Under this role, Dr O’Brien’s leadership extends across all of the Directorates of the laboratory; Energy & Environment Science & Technology, Nuclear Science & Technology, National & Homeland Security, Materials & Fuels Complex, Advanced Test Reactor, and Industry Engagement.
Dr. Sujit Bidhar graduated with his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Tokyo in 2012 specializing in fatigue, fracture mechanics, and finite element modelling in aluminium die cast. He is currently working at Fermilab where he is involved in new target material research and development, developing material models for future high energy beam target materials subjected to thermal shock, and nuclear irradiation damage to predict target lifetime. Dr. Bidhar has set up a lab-scale electrospinning unit and successfully fabricated different ceramic, metallic, and polymeric nanofibers; he is currently designing micromechanical experiments to evaluate single nanofiber mechanical properties using SEM, FIB, and AFM techniques. In the past, he has worked at the University of Tokyo as a researcher in the field of impact analysis on jet engine turbine blade made up of FRP composites, large scale finite element simulation on super computers using LS-DYNA. He has research interest and experience in computational mechanics, solid mechanics, structural analysis, fatigue and fracture, stress analysis, very large scale finite element simulations, image Based Finite Element Method using ANSYS,VOXELCON,LS-DYNA,ABAQUS, FrontISTR,HYPERMESH, MATLAB, Fatigue testing, X-ray CT. He also has experience in conducting experiments at high temperature and pressure environment, various metallurgical laboratory works, SEM micrographs, EDX, RAMAN spectroscopy, Slow strain rate tests.
Rick Stevens is Argonne’s Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences.
Stevens has been at Argonne since 1982, and has served as director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division and also as Acting Associate Laboratory Director for Physical, Biological and Computing Sciences. He is currently leader of Argonne’s Exascale Computing Initiative, and a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago Physical Sciences Collegiate Division. From 2000-2004, Stevens served as Director of the National Science Foundation’s TeraGrid Project and from 1997-2001 as Chief Architect for the National Computational Science Alliance.
Stevens is interested in the development of innovative tools and techniques that enable computational scientists to solve important large-scale problems effectively on advanced scientific computers. Specifically, his research focuses on three principal areas: advanced collaboration and visualization environments, high-performance computer architectures (including Grids) and computational problems in the life sciences. In addition to his research work, Stevens teaches courses on computer architecture, collaboration technology, virtual reality, parallel computing and computational science.
Jeff Elam leads Argonne National Laboratory’s Functional Coatings Group in the Applied Materials division. The group develops coating technologies for a diverse range of applications including energy storage, photodetectors, and water purification. He has won five R&D 100 Awards and holds numerous patents.
Awards, Honors, and Memberships
- R&D 100 Award, GreenTech Gold Award, and Editor’s Choice Award (2017) “Oleo Sponge”
- R&D 100 Award (2014) “SIS Lithography”
- R&D 100 Award (2013) “Charge Drain Coatings”
- R&D 100 Award (2012) “Large Area Microchannel Plates”
- R&D 100 Award (2008) “UNCD Mechanical Seals”
- ALD Innovation Award, 2017
- AVS Fellow, 2018
- Argonne Center for Electrical Energy Storage (CEES); Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems (AMEWS) Center; Northwestern Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering (NAISE)
Kris Pupek is the Group Leader for Process R&D and Scale Up in the Applied Materials Division of Argonne National Laboratory.
The group of over 20 scientists, engineers and supporting stuff evaluates emerging synthesis techniques and develops scalable processes for manufacturing of advanced materials including organic, inorganic, polymers, nano and bio-based materials to support basic research, prototyping and industrial evaluation. The group focuses on materials for energy storage and conversion, water purification and catalysis.
Kris earned his PhD in Organic Chemistry and Technology in 1993 from Institute of Organic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences. He gained his experience working for nearly 20 years for various contract research and manufacturing organizations leading efforts for developing new chemistry routes and feasible processes for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and specialty chemicals. In 2010 Kris joined Argonne National Laboratory as Principal Process R&D Chemist in Material Engineering Research Facility. He has co-authored over 20 publications, 15 issued patents, numerous invention disclosures, technical reports and presentations.
Yuepeng Zhang is a materials scientist at the Applied Materials Division of Argonne National Laboratory. She has expertise in thin film deposition, nanomaterials synthesis, and hybrid small-scale devices development. Her research interests include nanofibers and nanocomposites used for solid state batteries, high temperature fuel cells, bio and chemical sensors, and RF devices. Yuepeng leads the effort on electrospinning and printed electronic devices.
Dr. Guarnieri is a research scientist with experience in biochemistry and molecular genetics, biophysics, and structural biology. Dr. Guarnieri's prior research included examining viral secretions and virus-host interactions.
At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Dr. Guarnieri uses a systems biology approach—utilizing functional genomic, molecular, and biophysical techniques to identify, analyze, and engineer pathways involved in algal, bacterial, and fungal hydrocarbon and biochemical production. His current research interests include:
- Biocatalysis of methane to liquid fuels and chemicals,
- Biological upgrading of sugars to value-added chemicals in yeast and bacterial systems,
- Algal omics, protein engineering, and signal transduction,
- Biological deconstruction and upgrading of lignin, and
- Metabolic and protein engineering for enhanced hydrocarbon production.
For more information about Dr. Guarnieri's research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, please see his summary here.
Seth B. Darling is the Director of the Center for Molecular Engineering and a Senior Scientist in the Chemical Sciences & Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory. He also serves as the Director of the Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems (AMEWS) Energy Frontier Research Center. He received his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. His group’s research centers around molecular engineering with a current emphasis on advanced materials for cleaning water, having made previous contributions in fields ranging from self-assembly to advanced lithography to solar energy. He has published over 125 scientific articles, holds a dozen patents, is a co-author of popular books on water and on debunking climate skeptic myths, and lectures widely on topics related to energy, water, and climate.
With colleagues at Argonne, Seth invented a new materials synthesis technique called sequential infiltration synthesis, which has found applications in areas ranging from nanolithography to optical coatings to advanced sorbents and membranes. He led the team that received the Project Excellence Award from Argonne’s Energy & Global Sciences Directorate for its work on the Oleo Sponge, which has garnered extensive media and industry attention and won multiple R&D100 Awards.
Dr. Brunecky is a research scientist with a background in pharmacology, drug discovery, diagnostics, and sensor development.
At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Dr. Brunecky's interests include the novel mechanisms by which newly discovered multimodular cellulase enzymes such as CelA interact with and degrade crystalline cellulose as well as whole biomass with an aim to design and optimize enhanced cellulase systems for overcoming biomass recalcitrance as well as the possible uses of glycoside hydrolase enzymes expressed in-planta to reduce plant cell wall recalcitrance.
For more information about Dr. Brunecky's research interests at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, please find a summary here.
Supratik Guha is senior advisor to the Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate, leading Argonne’s microelectronics and quantum information science strategic efforts. He is also a professor at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Guha led the Center for Nanoscale Materials, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility, from 2015 to 2019. Before joining Argonne and the University of Chicago in 2015, he spent twenty years at IBM Research where he last served as the Director of Physical Sciences. At IBM, Dr. Guha pioneered the materials research that led to IBM’s high dielectric constant metal gate transistor, one of the most significant developments in silicon microelectronics technology. He was also responsible for initiating or significantly expanding IBM’s R&D programs in silicon photonics, quantum computing, sensor based cyberphysical systems and photovoltaics.
Dr. Guha is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Materials Research Society, American Physical Society, a 2018 Department of Defense Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow, and the recipient of the 2015 Prize for Industrial Applications of Physics. He received his Ph.D. in materials science in 1991 from the University of Southern California, and a B.Tech in 1985 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. At the University of Chicago and Argonne, his interests are focused on discovery science in the area of nano-scale materials and epitaxy for energy, sensing and future information processing.
Dr. Peterman is a distinguished staff scientist within the Aqueous Separations and Radiochemistry department at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). He has expertise in nuclear fuel cycle separations, radiation chemistry and f-element solution chemistry. At INL he has developed processes for the separation of fission products from acidic dissolved nuclear fuel, and developed and characterized fluorinated aromatic dithiophosphinic acid extractants. These unusual molecules exhibit remarkable selectivity for trivalent actinides over fission product lanthanides, which is a key unresolved challenge in developing closed nuclear fuel cycles. In the area of radiation chemistry, he designed and commissioned an irradiation test loop for the investigation of gamma radiolytic degradation of solvent extraction process flowsheets. He has numerous publications in the areas of separations chemistry and radiation chemistry, and holds seven US patents. His research teams have been recognized with an R&D 100 Award in 2011, a 2014 Secretary of Energy’s Honor Award for Salt Waste Disposal Technologies and a 2015 US-DOE Certificate of Appreciation for the INL Solvent Degradation and Radiation Chemistry Team.