Ph.D. students awarded national lab research opportunities

Danielle Yahne, Chris Rom, and Derek Doyle

Danielle Yahne, Derek Doyle, and Christopher Rom, all Ph.D. candidates in the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University, have been awarded research opportunities at Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories through the Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSR).

The opportunity to conduct research in a DOE facility allows graduate students to advance their doctoral thesis while having access to the expertise and resources found at the facility.

Danielle Yahne’s magnetic research

Yahne, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics at CSU, is researching the quantum effects found in magnetic materials.

“I specifically study ‘frustrated’ magnets where the interactions between the magnetic atoms compete, which can give rise to exotic phenomena,” she said. Exotic phenomena are states and behaviors in materials that are uncommon, which “can help us better understand how quantum physics behaves in magnetic materials by comparing experimental results with theoretical models,” Yahne said.

Yahne is currently conducting her research through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennesee. She aims to become a beamline scientist at a neutron scattering facility, like ORNL, to continue her study of magnetism using analysis techniques learned through this program and new neutron scattering techniques.

“I am honored to receive this award and am excited for the opportunity to have access to world-class instrumentation that will help further my research and hopefully impact the neutron scattering community,” Yahne said.

Derek Doyle studies interactions in universal particles

Doyle, also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics, is researching “the interaction rates of the subatomic particle called the neutrino and how we can improve the computational efficiency of such measurements using High-Performance Computing,” he said.

Doyle is performing his research at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab in Batavia, Illinois. Through his research, Doyle hopes to make meaningful contributions to the way scientists understand neutrino particles and how they help to shape the universe.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award,” said Doyle. “It means I get to work in close collaboration with researchers working on cutting-edge scientific computing whose insight will be invaluable to my project.”

Chris Rom helping to improve renewable tech

Rom is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, with a specialization in materials chemistry. Rom focuses on making nitrides, a type of ceramic material, to improve renewable energy technology. Nitrides are a combination of nitrogen atoms and atoms from various types of metals. While many of the materials have been predicted to work through computational methods, Rom notes that they are difficult to make in real life.

“My experiments try to answer the fundamental question: how can we get the right atoms to combine in the right way?”

While renewable energy technology is an increasingly relevant field, Rom maintains motivation from a much more public stance.

“My big dream is for my research to ultimately help people live happier, healthier lives,” Rom said. Through the SCGSR Award, Rom has had the opportunity to continue his research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. The NREL has among the best equipment available to assist in renewable energy research.