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Janet Macdonald wins the Bergmann Memorial Award for young scientists

Assistant Professor Janet Macdonald recently travelled to the Israeli Embassy in Washington to accept the Bergmann Memorial Award from the United States-Israel Binational Foundation. The award adds $5,000 to a $75,000 research grant to conduct collaborative research on hybrid nanoparticles with Professor Uri Banin from the Hebrew University who also a previous winner of the Bergmann Award in 1997.

Dr. Macdonald's research focuses on the synthesis of nanoparticles, tiny bits of solids that are only hundreds or thousands of atoms large. Her aim is to solve problems in solar energy capture with nanoparticles that have two or more different types of materials connected on the same particle.

Her research group has been synthesizing nanoparticles of a new material called Wurtzite Copper Indium Disulfide which absorbs sunlight very strongly. The vision is that by adding reactive pieces of metal to the particle, sunlight can be used as energy to drive chemical reactions that make green fuels.

Dr. Macdonald and PhD. student Alice Leach of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Materials Science are excited to be traveling to Jerusalem to Dr. Banin's laboratory in May. Their experiments there will discover the details of how the new nanoparticles absorb light and what happens to that energy.

Janet Macdonald
Dr. Macdonald with Dr. Shlomo Wald (L.) and Dr. Michael P. Crosby (R.), members of the Board of Governors of the US-Israel Binational Foundation.

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