Springer has recently published the Ph.D. thesis of Nouamane (Numan) Laanait, titled “Ion Correlations at Electrified Soft Matter Interfaces”, as part of its “Springer Theses” series that “[recognizes] outstanding Ph.D. research”. Numan, a physics graduate from Prof. Schlossman’s group at the University of Illinois at Chicago, did the majority of his experimental work at ChemMatCars, performing x-ray scattering from liquid/liquid interfaces polarized by an electric field to study ion distributions in the regime of strong electrostatic correlations. The reflectivity signals, measured as a function of increasing correlation strength, displayed the condensation of ions at the interface (J. Chem. Phys. 132 171101 (2010) ). Modeling the ions near the interface as a one-component plasma with interactions with the solvent sampled by computer simulations, Numan showed that ions formed a quasi- 2-dimensional layer that decayed sharply into the bulk, contrary to predictions of mean-field theory, and in excellent agreement with the x-ray reflectivity data (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 109 (50) 20326 (2012) ). “Liquid/Liquid interfaces are an important class of systems that can be used to model and investigate electrostatics in charged soft-matter” says Numan, “Probing their structure at the molecular scale with the reflectometer at ChemMatCars, under the mentorship of Binhua Lin and Mati Meron, was one of the highlights of my graduate research”. Numan Laanait is currently a postdoc at Argonne National Laboratory developing a full-field x-ray microscope to image interfaces.
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