Eugene P. Wigner Fellow
Dr. Nouamane “Numan” Laanait is the Eugene P. Wigner fellow and staff member at the Center for Nanophase Materials Science at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His current research focuses on investigating the organizing principles by which correlated systems (e.g. multiferroics, metal-insulator transitions) operate at the mesoscale using multimodal imaging techniques, in particular scanning probe microscopy and scattering-based microscopy. In conjunction with these experimental imaging efforts, Dr. Laanait is actively developing and implementing advanced methodology from the fields of machine learning, computer vision and high-performance computing to analyze and interpret the multidimensional imaging data. Dr. Laanait is also actively involved in the divisional research thrust in modeling and understanding dissipative processes in systems driven away from equilibrium by nanobeams, and how they could be utilized in directing nanoscale transformations. Dr. Laanait received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois, Chicago. His doctoral thesis presented a new framework to describe electrostatics at charged soft-matter interfaces such as liquid/liquid interfaces and biomolecules such as DNA. He Investigated ion correlations at liquid/liquid interfaces using nonlocal density functional theories, synchrotron x-ray measurements and computer simulations. Developed hybrid density functional theories and associated numerical codes to predict ion distributions at liquid interfaces, liquid interfacial structure and nonlocal correlation effects.Dr. Laanait did his postdoctoral training at Argonne National Laboratory, where he designed and developed a novel type of X-ray microscopy to probe the nano-scale response of the structure of hard-condensed matter systems subjected to varying external potentials and uniquely suited to study buried phenomena at solid/solid and solid/liquid interfaces. The X-ray microscope developed by Dr. Laanait is currently hosted at the Advanced Photon Source synchrotron and is a worldwide unique instrument.