Ngoc Bui, Fadji Maina and Sneha Jani
Words Christin Lives By: “No blame, No guilt, No excuses!” ~ Jean-luc Doumont
Yearning to continuously explore fundamental science, Christin joined Berkeley Lab as a Feodor-Lynen Postdoctoral Fellow in January 2018, after earning a PhD in fundamental surface science at the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society (Berlin, Germany). Her current work focuses on leveraging cutting-edge characterization techniques offered at the Advanced Light Source (e.g. ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) to elucidate behaviors of molecules at the membrane – water interface. Understanding these phenomena at atomistic levels can later shed light on water transport, contaminant rejection, and fouling mechanisms in desalination systems.
…seriously, more about Christin’s research at the Lab?
Well, membrane-based desalination is a technology that has been globally exploited at large scale for quite some time to produce freshwater from seawater. However, little is known about the molecular characteristics of desalination membranes. In her novel approach, by using ultrathin samples (~1nm) for the high-resolution spectroscopy, Christin has strived to have an atomic view of membrane materials and understand how they interact with different molecules in water streams. Passionate about the fundamental approaches, Christin said: “if I can have a detailed picture of the atomic structure of the molecule and its surroundings, I will be able to predict how it behaves”. The challenge, however, is mainly related to data analysis which involves intensive modeling work. Fortunately, she has worked with a master student who is extremely helpful in this aspect.
What’s her next steps?
Christin wants to continue exploring the atomic structures of molecules involved in water treatment and energy storage at extremely fine resolutions. She likes working at Berkeley Lab and would like to become a staff scientist. Berkeley Lab, she said, is a unique place where all scientists and staffs are very passionate about their work, willing to help each other and very open to collaboration, which we cannot agree with her more.
…and a hope for the future of the World? A kinder and more respectful society!
Interviewed and written by Ngoc Bui, Fadji Maina and Sneha Jani – On behalf of BLPA