John Robert Salasin finished his Ph.D. in the department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), and he has been partially supported by the CMP since August 2014. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physics with a nano-manufacturing concentration from Shippensburg University. Mr. Salasin also completed a certification in nano-manufacturing and fabrication from Penn State University in 2012.
Dr. Salasin became acquainted with the MSE department during the summer of 2013 while participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and hosted by the MSE department. The REU site was directed towards projects fitting within the areas related to the synthesis and characterization of advanced functional materials, and Dr. Salasin’s research focused on synthesizing layered double hydroxides for magnetic applications. The next summer, Dr. Salasin participated in the Higher Education Research Experience (HERE) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), learning how to collect and analyze low-temperature, single-crystal neutron and x-ray data for determining structural details of thermoelectric materials derived from natural analogs. Data were collected on instruments at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR).
Dr. Salasin’s broad research interests include energy materials, focusing on synthesis of novel thermoelectrics, battery materials, and anion-exchange media. He actively served as a mentor for some of the Research and Instructional Strategies in Engineering Retention (RISER) program’s Undergraduate Research Assistants (URAs) and MSE undergraduate students performing research supported by the CMP. His mentoring ranged from supervising them in the laboratory to helping them prepare poster presentations of their research. Together with the undergraduate students, Dr. Salasin explored synthesizing doped calcium aluminate nanocages via sol-gel and hydrothermal processes in an attempt to increase electrical conductivity through induced cage disorder. At the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM) Diffraction Facility, he pioneered kinetic investigations of phase transformations using rapid high-temperature X-ray diffraction. Dr. Salasin culminated his Ph.D. with three first-author papers that are currently under review. He is also the first author on a review manuscriptpublished in a special issue of Crystalsthat focuses on the crystallography of functional materials, bringing his total scientific contribution to four first-author papers while funded by the CMP.
In addition to his research and mentoring responsibilities, Dr. Salasin operated as the manager of the CMP laboratory, where he designed and implemented a materials process and synthesis laboratory in the JIAM. He also worked to procure, install, and train students on equipment in the CMP processing laboratory. This included new characterization equipment to analyze and process starting reactants before densification and to measure density after processing. His research demanded that he use high-density samples for physical property measurements, so he actively used a uniaxial high-pressure/high-temperature press for consolidation of samples.