Leopoldo Mejía Wins an ACS Graduate Award for Theoretical Chemistry
March 23, 2022
Leopoldo Mejía, a Ph.D. student in the Franco Group at the University of Rochester, received the 2021 ACS Graduate Award in Theoretical Chemistry! The award is sponsored by the ACS Physical Chemistry subdivision and The Journal of Physical Chemistry, and recognizes excellence in graduate research. Dr. Mejía defended his doctoral work in the Fall 2021 and is now a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, working in the Rabani Group.
During his Ph.D., Leopoldo advanced the theory and simulation of molecular junction experiments. This class of experiments are used to investigate chemistry and physics at the single molecule limit. In particular, Leopoldo clarified how chemical reactivity changes in these nanoconfined environments, developed a theory of the conductance histograms that marries the theory of force spectroscopy with molecular conductance, isolated regimes that can sustain coherent and incoherent electron transport, and established the information content of the conductance during pulling of molecular junctions. These theoretical advances directly impact how this key class of experiments are interpreted and modeled, and augments the information content that can be extracted from them.
The Franco Group tackles emerging problems at the interface between Chemistry and Physics, Optics and Nanoscience, encompassing the development of new theories and simulation methods, the efficient implementation of these methods on high-performance computers, and the application of the resulting tools to identify new phenomenology and understand problems of fundamental and technological interest in physical chemistry.