Four MSE students win Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships

The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards granted by Rackham Graduate School.
Four MSE students win Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships

Vishwas Goel (Thornton group), Duncan Greeley (Allison group), Julia Lenef (Dasgupta group), and Suk Hyun Sung (Hovden group).

MSE is proud to announce that four Ph.D. students – Vishwas Goel, Duncan Greeley, Julia Lenef, and Suk Hyun Sung – have received Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships for the 2022-23 academic year.

The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards granted by Rackham Graduate School. Each department (university-wide) can nominate up to four doctoral candidates, who are judged on the strength and quality of their dissertation abstract, publications and presentations, and recommendations.

“The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship is an extremely competitive and highly coveted award,” said MSE graduate program advisor Renee Hilgendorf. “Having all four of our nominees selected is a true testament to the extraordinary caliber of our students.”

Each of the winner's research is described below:

Vishwas Goel (Thornton group): My research aims to build better electrochemical devices such as Li-ion batteries and fuel cells. I combine state-of-the-art approaches such as continuum-scale modeling, parallel computing, and machine learning to understand mechanisms that underlie the operation of such devices. The insights generated then enable their optimization. My recent work includes theoretical studies and optimization of electrode architectures that enable 10-min charging in high-energy-density Li-ion batteries without Li plating. Such batteries are particularly desirable for electric vehicle applications. Furthermore, I also focus on reducing the cost of the computational methods by developing surrogate models and semi-analytical methods to enable high-throughput calculations. Through my dissertation, I aim to closely integrate the experimental data, computational tools, and data science – the three aspects of the Materials Genome Initiative – for accelerating the research and development of electrochemical devices. 

Duncan Greeley (Allison group): Magnesium-Rare-Earth (RE) alloys are promising materials for lightweighting in the transportation industries due to their formability and high strength-to-weight ratio, but increased use in structural parts requires a more detailed understanding of deformation behavior during loading conditions experienced in-service. To address this, the goal of my research is to leverage in-situ X-ray synchrotron characterization tools to develop a deeper mechanistic understanding of the impact of RE-modified texture, slip activity, and twinning-detwinning on grain-resolved cyclic deformation in Mg. The results from these studies can be used to validate and expedite development of simulation tools modelling Mg deformation and help identify novel non-RE Mg alloys with similar beneficial properties.

Julia Lenef (Dasgupta group): Among the current global challenges, strategies to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to stabilize the climate are of critical importance. Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into multi-carbon products using catalysts presents the opportunity to directly recycle CO2, while simultaneously reducing demand for petroleum inputs into manufactured products. In my research, we are exploring electrocatalyst synthesis by atomic layer deposition for CO2 recycling as it is a scalable manufacturing process that enables atomically-precise control of deposition.

Suk Hyun Sung (Hovden group):  New materials are needed to unlock next generation computational capabilities that will fuel solutions spanning all areas of science—from medicine to clean-energy. Harnessing exotic quantum materials is among the most promising areas for progress; however extrinsic and thermal disorder degrade quantum behavior. Our work shows room temperature access to spatially coherent quantum states (e.g., charge density waves) and clean two-dimensional (2D) atomic confinement that can enable a paradigm shift in device logic and quantum computing. 

Congratulations to Vishwas, Duncan, Julia, and Suk Hyun!