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Elke Arenholz, PhD

Physical Sciences Division Director

Elke Arenholz, PhD

Physical Sciences Division Director


Elke Arenholz earned her reputation in science as an expert in magnetism and magnetic materials as well as quantum materials. Her name appears as a co-author of nearly 400 publications. But Arenholz has expanded her scientific spectrum at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

“What I really like about the Physical Sciences Division is that it is so diverse,” said Arenholz, who arrived at PNNL in her new role in June 2022. “It has chemistry, catalysis, materials science, and geosciences.

“I’m working with researchers exploring clean energy, carbon capture, new methods to generate energy, developing better catalysts, and making new materials. I’m excited to be part of this talented team of scientists.”

Arenholz began her scientific career in Germany. “I have a brother who’s a physicist and a sister who’s a chemist. That helped,” she said. “The logic of science really appealed to me.”

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in condensed matter physics from the University of Regensburg and her doctoral degree from the Freie Universität Berlin.

During her 19-year career at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, she pioneered the development of new and unique research tools to characterize magnetic phenomena using synchrotron radiation, such as a novel magnet system that generates magnetic fields in arbitrary directions, providing ultimate flexibility for experimental configurations.

She also developed novel capabilities in X-ray scattering, imaging, and dynamics measurements while growing the Advanced Light Source magnetism user base. Arenholz then served as the associate director of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source at Cornell University, and most recently, she served as co-director of the Interconnected Science Ecosystem initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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