Jerome Delhommelle receives NSF CAREER Award

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University of North Dakota


Jerome Delhommelle, a University of North Dakota assistant professor of chemistry, recently received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award is NSF's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

Delhommelle has received $425,000 over five years to study the crystallization process in semiconductor, metal and molecular systems.

“This is one of the long-standing challenges in solid-state chemistry,” said Delhommelle, a native of France.

The crystallization mechanisms from the liquid are highly complex. This phenomenon often involves a series of phase changes, between the liquid and various crystalline phases, also known as polymorphs.

“Crystallization is difficult to observe directly in experiments since it generally occurs on very short time and length scales,” Delhommelle said. “Molecular simulations are often the only tool to shed light on these mechanisms.”

Delhommelle is a leading researcher in the molecular simulation of crystallization. He has more than 60 research papers published in the field. Among those, six papers have been featured in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Physical Review Letters. He will also serve as discussion leader for the “Chemistry and Physics of Liquids” Gordon Research Conference this summer. He is the U.S. editor of the international research journal Molecular Simulation, which covers all aspects of research related to molecular modelling and simulation.

Delhommelle’s award was given by the Division of Materials Research for his proposal “Unraveling the interplay between thermodynamics and kinetics during the nucleation and growth of semiconductor, metal and molecular nanoparticles.”

The project will investigate the crystallization process in such systems. Applications of these findings will contribute to better understand and control polymorphism.

“This phenomenon has broad practical implications for a number of industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals to textiles and defense,” Delhommelle said.

Delhommelle’s award also will also support education of Ph.D. students, the design of interdisciplinary courses and development of outreach activities, including scientific workshops, and educational materials for high-school students in rural Upper Midwest school districts.