Group Members

David McCamant

Professor David McCamant, Principal Investigator

Professor McCamant received his BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and then his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2004, working with Professor Richard Mathies to develop femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy as a new method to collect high-resolution vibrational spectra of ultrafast photochemical events. From 2004-06, he worked with Prof. Michael Wasielewski as a postdoc at Northwestern University, studying photoinduced charge-transfer compounds. He started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester in 2006 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012. Dave is interested in light-matter interactions and how those interactions allow us to understand how things at the molecular scale move around and exchange energy.


Steven Diaz, Graduate Student

As our group tries to discern the dynamics associated with solar hydrogen production on both the ultrafast (sub-picosecond) and long-term (hours) time scales, accurately measuring the processes involved, such as electron transfer within a molecular-semiconductor system, is critical. To aid in this goal, I am augmenting current spectroscopic methods including femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (FSRS) to be able to obtain spectra of transient species in opaque and scattering samples like those used in solar hydrogen production studies in order to measure electron transfer at the molecular-semiconductor interface. When not in lab, I enjoy playing classic video games, watching movies, and browsing dog-related twitter profiles.

Joohyun Lee

Joohyun Lee, Graduate Student

I am studying the ultrafast relaxation dynamics of DNA bases after they absorb ultraviolet light. This has important implications for human health since UV light exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. We are using ultrafast transient absorption and anisotropy, along with FSRS to probe the rates and mechanisms of the ultrafast dynamics in photoexcited DNA.

Zak Piontkowski

Zak Piontkowski, Graduate Student

I am currently studying vibrational dynamics in chromophores relevant to solar Hydrogen production by dye-sensitization using steady-state and time-resolved resonance Raman techniques, particularly FSRS and femtosecond impulsive vibrational spectroscopy (IVS). Upon photoexcitation, molecules are subjected to a driving force towards a new equilibrium. My goal is to combine the experimental Raman spectra with modelling techniques to describe the excited-state evolution following photoexcitation, but preceding electron transfer, in the sensitizing chromophores. This work aims to clarify the structural role of bridges typically used to prevent back-electron transfer in donor-bridge-acceptor complexes.

 Juan Sandoval

Juan Sandoval, Graduate Student

Molecular ggregation can have a dramatic effect on light-harvesting systems, but its effect is still debated in the literature. A better fundamental understanding of the fast quantum-mechanical mixing that occurs following optical excitation of molecular aggregates is still required. Our goal is to investigate the role of vibrational-electronic coupling in exciton-coupled dimers, for this purpose different experimental techniques (Resonance Raman, transient absorption), computational and theoretical modeling is employed.

Likun Cai, Masters Student in Materials Science

Brendan Courtsal, Undergraduate Student

Zhenhuan Rick Qiu, Undergraduate Student


Graduate students

Michael F. Mark, (2013-2018)
Thesis: "Excited State Dynamics of Organic Chromophores Used in Solar Hydrogen Production"
Currently: PD with Hergen Eilers in the Applied Sciences Laboratory at Washington State University, Spokane, WA

Zhi Wu, (2016-2018)
Visiting Graduate Student from Xiamen University, P.R.C.

Randy Pat Sabatini, (2009-2015, joint with Rich Eisenberg)
National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellow
Thesis: "Ultrafast electronic dynamics leading to solar hydrogen production"
Currently: PD with Ted Sargent, University of Toronto

Barbara Dunlap, (2009-2014)
Thesis: "Fifth and Seventh order Raman spectroscopy implemented with femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy"
Currently: PD with Claudia Turro, the Ohio State University

Kristina Wilson, (2006-2014)
Thesis: "An Attempt at Direct Observation of Anharmonic Vibrational Coupling Constants with Two-Dimensional Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy"
Currently: Chemistry Instructor, UCLA

Justin Rhinehart, (2006-2011)
Thesis: "Ultrafast dynamics of Dimethylaminobenzonitrile (DMABN)"
Currently: Systems Engineer, Abbott Laboratories, Irving, TX

5th year MS program

Brendon Lyons (MS, 2009)
Currently: Universal Oil Products, Des Plaines, IL

Master’s degrees

Daniel Mark
Emily Hillenbrand

Einstein Ofotsu Djabeng

Leila Shahri

Postdoctoral Scholars

Guocan Li, August 2016-August 2018
Currently: Senior Scientist at Versum Materials

Dr. A. Collins Nganou Assonkeng, June 2013-May 2015
Currently: PD with Martin Mkandawire, Technical University of Berlin, Germany

Dr. Jagannadha Reddy Challa, November 2009-September 2012
Currently: Abbott Labs, Texas

Dr. Yong Du, January 2009-October 2010
Currently: Assistant Professor, China Jiliang University, Hangzhou, P.R.C.

Dr. Soohyun Lee, June 2007-September 2008
Currently: Materials Analyst, Cheil Industries, Inc. (division of Samsung), Korea

Undergraduate students

Zhihao Wu (U. Minnesota, 2019)
Ekam Singh Gill
(U. Penn Chem. Eng., 2019)
Sabin Kim
(Summer research, 2018)
Melissa Marx (Alfred University, REU 2017)
Fredrik Valgeborg (Upsalla University, Sweden, International REU 2017)
Jessica Freeze (Independent and senior research 2015-2017, currently at Yale University)
Bailey Bowers (Summer REU student, 2016)
Sarah Pristash (Senior research, 2015-2016, currently at University of Washington)
Dylan Bleier (Senior research, 2015-2016)
Amanda Carr (Senior/summer research, 2015-2016, currently at SUNY Stony Brook)
Ge Song (Summer, 2015)
Danielle Barnett (Independent, summer, and senior research, 2014-2015)
Clayton Stumpf (Independent, summer, and senior research, 2014-2015)
Christa Catalfamo (REU student from SUNY Geneseo, summer 2014)
Yuji Wakimoto (Independent study, spring and fall 2013)
Joseph Colaruotolo (Summer and senior research, 2011-2013)
Micah Brown (Senior research, 2012-2013)
Rachel Kozlowski (REU student from Campbell Univiversity, NC, 2012)
Ian Pershing, (REU summer student 2011)
Peter Richter, (Summer and senior research 2011-2012)
Colin Kinz-Thompson, (senior research 2009-2010)
Randy Mehlenbacher, (REU summer student 2008, continuing research 2008-2010)
Brendon Lyons, (Senior research 2007-2008, BS 2008, cont’d in MS program)