Kimberly (Bolduc) Pereira Receives PPG Fellowship and Donald Kuhn Graduate Fellowship Award

graduate student Kimberly Bolduc Pereira

Kimberly (Bolduc) Pereira (Walsh group) received the PPG Fellowship for outstanding research in the area of materials chemistry, and the Donald Kuhn Graduate Fellowship Award for outstanding research and an interest in pursuing a career in research or teaching. Research: The development of methods to enable the recovery of metastable high-pressure phases to ambient conditions remains an outstanding challenge in materials science. One route that remains unexplored is the use of shockwaves to rapidly decompress samples, analogous to the temperature quenching methods used to recover metastable high-temperature phases in steel processing. In our research, we use in situ X-ray diffraction to explore the impact that dynamic compression and decompression has on the location of phase boundaries in simple systems, with the goal of detecting and quantifying the kinetic effects that influence the phase transformations. We are specifically interested in transition metals, alloys, and binary oxide and carbide materials. These materials, while relatively straightforward stoichiometrically-speaking, are not well understood in terms of their phase transformations under extreme conditions. In addition, noticeable differences exist between the phases observed under static compression and the phases observed under dynamic compression. Quantifying the crystal structure in the dynamic compression regime could inform fundamental understanding of atomic bonding, and could also offer insight into planetary processes as well as the makeup of our earth’s interior. To reach these conditions and perform our experiments, we travel to some of the brightest and most powerful light sources in the world including synchrotrons and XFELs, and collaborate with scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.