Dear Foundry Community,
As Spring turns to Summer, there are many exciting opportunities and initiatives blooming at the Molecular Foundry. Collaborating with our User community is one of the most satisfying parts of our work and the Foundry, and we are excited to welcome new and returning users to the Foundry following our successful Spring Call for standard proposals with our Proposal Review Board Meetings on May 4-5. With the help of 53 external reviewers, we determined proposal outcomes for 293 proposals. Proposals were accepted from a broad range of research groups representing 86 different institutions. We look forward to working together with new and returning researchers on these projects!
As I happily shared last quarter, our final budgetary authorization for FY23 was quite positive, and we have been able to pursue many long-deferred efforts to recapitalize aging equipment and expand our staff to pursue new research and operational directions to more optimally serve our user community and scientific mission. Procurements are currently underway for 2 Focused Ion Beam instruments in our NCEM and Nanofabrication Facilities, 2 Scanning Electron Microscopes in our Imaging and Nanofabrication Facilities, an upgrade to x-ray diffraction capabilities in our Inorganic Facility, and a Fluorimeter measuring photophysical properties of organic molecules, quantum dots, and more. We are also proud to announce that the first of three planned instruments for the Foundry has been ordered through the multi-institutional NSRC-Recapitalization Major Items of Equipment (MIE) project. This Robotic Cluster Tool in the Inorganic Facility will be capable of multiple gas-phase deposition processes to synthesize layered nanostructures with controlled interfaces between “Hard” inorganics and “Soft” van der Waals materials with autonomous, AI-driven optimization of synthetic processes. This capability will advance our strategic priorities to accelerate the pace of material through closed-loop synthesis.
We have also had the opportunity to welcome two new staff members to the Foundry community this quarter. Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack is a new staff scientist in the Foundry’s Nanofabrication Facility. He is a Quantum Information and Condensed Matter Physicist by training that has subsequently led biological assay development and genomic sequencing pipelines to develop bacteriophage into FDA approved antibiotic agents. His research and user program at the Foundry will bridge the capabilities of the Nanofabrication facility and Biological Nanostructures facility focusing on the fabrication of nano-fluidic integrated circuits and digital microfluidic devices that enable the resonant optical and electrical characterization of biological entities on the single particle scale. In addition, Nancy Singh has joined our operations team and will be working to support the Foundry on a variety of administrative duties. Nancy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA, loves learning new languages, and enjoys being outdoors in her free time.
The Foundry also has several searches underway for a Quantum Instrumentation Scientist to continue driving the scientific portfolio of our QSPLEEM instrumentation, a Scientific Software Engineer supporting the Foundry’s new Data Analytics Group, and a Research Associate in support of our Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures facility. We also anticipate additional openings coming for 2 technical staff to support ultrafast optics and scanning probe workflows, in addition to an Operations Manager to guide and support the Foundry’s many dynamic operational needs.
We are very excited for the opportunity to see and grow collaborations with you further as we host our hybrid User Meeting on August 10-11, 2023. Our plenary sessions will feature keynote talks from Carolyn Bertozzi and Nathalie de Leon, plus user highlight talks from a cross-section of our technical facilities. Teams of users, postdocs, and staff are building multiple symposia and workshops on topics featuring a range of materials discovery approaches, advanced characterization methods, and data analysis techniques. We’ll also take a close look at opportunities to build bridges among National Labs and Minority Serving Institutions and celebrate the outstanding career of our recently retired staff scientist, Frank Ogletree. Our call for poster abstracts is open through June 5, and the poster slam and reception are sure to be a good time! We also invite nominations for our awards program to recognize outstanding student-led research papers. Registration, abstract submission, award nomination, and technical session details can be found here.
All the Best,