David Leitner

My current research interests include theoretical and computational studies of energy flow in molecules, particularly in biological systems, and its influence on chemical reaction kinetics and thermal transport. Other research interests include theoretical approaches to address thermal conduction in nanoscale systems, and computational studies of terahertz spectroscopy and dynamics of solvated biomolecules.

Dean Smith

As a career diamond anvil cell enthusiast, my research primarily concerns the pursuit of the new structures of materials and chemical compounds emergent under extreme pressures, as well as new methods to measure properties of samples exposed to extreme pressures and temperatures. I began my research in the UK, studying for a Ph.D. with Dr. John Proctor at the University of Salford, and moved to the US as a postdoctoral scholar at UNLV. From there, I spent two years working at HPCAT (Sector 16 of the Advanced Photon Source) – a group of synchrotron beamlines dedicated to the advancement of high-pressure experiments.

Much of my career has been spent developing and refining optical instruments for diamond anvil cell experiments, particularly instruments which interface with synchrotron beamlines. As a postdoc at UNLV, I helped to design and construct a mid-infrared laser heating instrument for experiments at the HPCAT diffraction beamline, facilitating laser-heated DAC experiments on materials spanning semiconductors, ceramics, covalent crystals, and minerals. However, I am a passionate proponent of in-house experiments, and hope to ensure that NEXCL laboratories generate data with the same pace and quality as the large-scale user facilities.

Craig Schwartz

We use X-ray sources around the world around the world to understand disordered materials, particularly at interfaces, using large international laser facilities such as those in Italy and Japan. This includes materials such as liquids to better understand fundamental phenomena like how evaporation occurs. It also includes solar cells where we try to make ever more efficient devices.

Jared Bruce

Photochemistry is central to many aspects of energy conversion, atmospheric chemistry, corrosion, and catalysis. The ability to drive chemical reactions selectively and efficiently on surfaces with light remains a significant challenge, as these transformations are often dependent on the structure and chemical nature of the material surface. Furthermore, as more complex, multi-component materials are used in photochemical applications, robust model systems are needed to understand how synergistic properties impact these transformations.

The Bruce Group focuses on processes related to the conversion of light to drive chemical reactions at different interfaces. Our group are world experts in surface chemistry using ultrahigh vacuum, near ambient pressure, and operando spectroscopy/microscopy techniques. This, coupled with electrochemical and photoelectrochemical characterization, enables a unique insight into photochemical conversions at gas-liquid, liquid-solid, and solid-gas interfaces.

Laina Geary

developing strategies to synthesize complex organic molecules and biologically relevant structures from the simplest precursors, and understanding the mechanistic details. Essentially, we are interested in developing highly chemoselective reactions to minimize substrate preactivation and waste generation and maximize functional group compatibility.

Students will get training in organic synthesis, organometallic chemistry, and asymmetric catalysis within the broad goal of simplicity to complexity via C-C bond formation.