Dr. Tiankai Yao, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Idaho National Laboratory

Dr. Tiankai Yao received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Science & Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, in 2017. He also has a Master of Materials Science degree (aging and stress corrosion cracking of aluminum alloy, 2012) and a Bachelor of Metal Science and Engineering (heat treatment and welding, 2009) from Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao, Hebei, China. His research has covered a wide range of topics on nuclear fuel and waste forms, including powder synthesis, spark plasma sintering, thermo-mechanical properties management, and in-situ TEM characterization of heavy ion irradiation damage, such as irradiation-induced grain subdivision, gas bubble formation, and amorphization. As part of  TETI, Dr. Yao will focus on the synthesis of single crystal α-U and ẟ-UZr2 under the guidance of Dr. Jason Harp (previous) and Dr. Michael T. Benson (now). Also, under the supervision of Dr. Lingfeng He, Dr. Yao will characterize intrinsice and irradiation-induced defects in single crystals, such as dislocation loops and voids, using advanced characterization methods. Through a combination of sample synthesis, irradiation experiments, and post irradiation thermal properties measurement and defects characterization, Dr. Yao will investigate the impact of defect structures on electron and phonon scattering mechanisms in oxide and metallic materials.





Dr. Xiaxin Ding, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Idaho National Laboratory 

Dr. Xiaxin Ding is a Glenn T. Seaborg Distinguished Postdoc in the Nuclear Materials Department at the Idaho National Laboratory. He is interested in the structural, transport, magnetic and thermodynamic properties of strongly correlated materials. Within TETI, he mainly focuses on probing the quantum oscillation phenomenon and mapping out the Fermi surface of the delta-phase of uranium in U-Zr compounds. Dr. Ding received a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at Nanjing University in 2015. He worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pulsed Field Facility before joining INL in 2019.


Dr. Matthew Bryan, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Matthew Bryan received his Ph.D. in Physics from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN in 2018. He has a B.S. degree in Physics from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. His research background includes using a variety of inelastic neutron and X-ray scattering techniques to measure bulk liquid helium and the liquid in mesoporous confinement. These measurements include the excitation lifetimes, dispersion, momentum distribution, density of states and liquid structure. Within TETI, Dr. Bryan is studying the phonon density of states, dispersion, and lifetimes with inelastic scattering. In conjunction with transport measurements and simulation results, the inelastic neutron scattering results will further the understanding of the transport and thermodynamic properties of 5f-electron materials.

Dr. Amey Khanolkar, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Idaho National Laboratory


Dr. Amey Khanolkar is a Russell L. Heath Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at INL. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA in 2013, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA in 2018. Prior to joining INL, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California San Diego. His research interests broadly include developing laser ultrasonic techniques to assess defects in material microstructure, study micro- to nano-scale thermal transport, and tailor stress waves with novel phononic structures and metamaterials. Within TETI, Dr. Khanolkar is studying thermal transport and elastic wave propagation in ion-irradiated oxide and metallic materials using a variety of pump-probe optical techniques.



Dr. Cody Dennett, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Idaho National Laboratory

​Dr. Cody A. Dennett is a Russel L. Heath Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Idaho National Laboratory. Dr. Dennett's research focuses on developing laser-based techniques to measure thermomechanical material properties during exposure to extreme conditions such as temperature and radiation. He is using these techniques to study the performance of advanced structural alloys and nuclear fuels and surrogates under these extremes. He earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering in 2019 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During that time, he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2014-2016 and a DOE National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellow from 2016-2019. In addition to his research, Dr. Dennett is passionate about teaching and modeling effective scientific communication, having served as a School of Engineering Communication Fellow at MIT from 2015-2019.



Dr. Kaustubh Bawane, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Idaho National Laboratory

Dr. Kaustubh Bawane received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA in December 2019. He has a Master of Engineering in Materials Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (June 2016) and Bachelor of Technology in Metallurgical Engineering from College of Engineering, Pune (May 2014) in India. He also worked with General Electric India Technology Center as a co-op for 1 year during his Masters focused on additive manufacturing of cobalt based superalloys. His research interests include processing, radiation damage, high temperature corrosion and advanced microstructural characterization of materials for nuclear systems. Within TETI, he will focus on the advanced characterization of irradiation induced damage in oxide fuels. In addition to TETI, he is also part of 'Molten Salt for Extreme Environments (MSEE)' EFRC and supports advanced characterization of molten salt corrosion damage in Ni based alloys. 



​Dr. Hao Ma, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Hao Ma is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University in 2020 and B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Science and Technology of China in 2014. He has a strong background in nanoscale thermal transport based on various materials using both computational and experimental methods. Within TETI, Dr. Ma performs inelastic neutron and x-ray scattering measurements on phonon dispersion and lifetimes in nuclear fuel materials, with and without irradiation/defects​


Maniesha Singh, Graduate Student

Purdue University

Maniesha Singh is a second-year graduate student (Ph.D. candidate) working with Prof. Anter El-Azab at Purdue University. She received her MEng. degree in Materials Science with Nuclear Engineering from Imperial College London in 2018. Her research focuses on the computational modelling of defect disorder in advanced nuclear fuels. Her current work focuses on investigating the off-stoichiometry of unirradiated thorium dioxide and (U,Th) oxide and on developing a cluster dynamics model to model the evolution of defect clusters in irradiated oxides subjected to different dose rates and temperatures.



Amrita Sen, Graduate Student

Purdue University

Amrita Sen is a Materials Engineering Ph.D. graduate student at Purdue University working under the guidance of Dr. Janelle Wharry. She received her B.S. of Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Within TETI, her research focuses on using Atom Probe Tomography (APT) to chemically and spatially quantify irradiation-induced defects and segregation in UxTh1-xO2 and UZr2-x nuclear fuels at the near atomic level. She is currently working on establishing optimal APT conditions for obtaining accurate stoichiometry in ThO2 and looking at compositional variation within δ-UZr2.6





Firoza Kabir, Graduate Student

University of Central Florida

​Firoza Kabir is pursuing her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Central Florida. She is currently a 3rd year graduate student working with her advisor Dr. Madhab Neupane. Her research exploits angle and time-resolved photoemission measurement techniques to unveil momentum-resolved properties of quantum materials with compelling electronic and spin properties. More specifically, her research focuses on advanced spectroscopic characterization of topological, quantum and correlated materials. Firoza has also worked on the thermal, magnetization and transport measurement of quantum materials as a summer intern at the Idaho National Laboratory.




Vinay Chauhan, Graduate Student

The Ohio State University

Vinay Chauhan is a graduate student working with Prof. Marat Khafizov at The Ohio State University. He holds an M.S. degree (2018) from Ohio State and B.S. from BITS, Pilani (India), both in Mechanical Engineering. His research primarily focuses on developing and using laser based techniques for investigation of thermal transport at the micro- and nano-scale. The overall goal of his research is to develop more efficient and effective thermal management solutions for functional components of devices in electronics and energy applications. Within TETI, Vinay is studying the effect of ion-irradiation on thermal transport in sapphire, cerium dioxide and thorium diooxide. His work focuses on understanding the impact of phonon scattering mechanisms due to nano-channels, point defects, dislocation loops and other short- and long-range defects. His role also includes conducting laser based thermoreflectance experiments for measurement of thermal conductivity of thin films or irradiated samples.


Lyuwen Fu, Graduate Student

Columbia University

Lyuwen Fu is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science in Dr. Chris Marianetti's group at Columbia University. Lyuwen's research focuses on phonons and their interactions and materials properties derived from phonon interactions, including development of algorithms for such problems. These algorithms can be applied to various material systems and first-principle computations.



Mark Mathis, Graduate Student

Columbia University

Mark Mathis is a graduate student in Applied Physics in Professor Chris Marianetti's group at Columbia University. Mark's research focuses on using phonons and their interactions to predict the temperature dependence of materials' properties.



Enda Xiao, Graduate Student

Columbia University

Enda Xiao is a graduate student in Chemical Physics program in Dr. Chris Marianetti's group at Columbia University. Enda's research focuses on phonons, anharmonic interactions, and properties related to phonons and their interactions such as phonon lifetime and thermal conductivity. His current work includes development of a new molecular dynamic simulation method with ab initio feature named Order N Ab-initio Molecular Dynamics (ONAIMD).