Chemist, IDREAM Early Career Network
Chemist, IDREAM Early Career Network


Emily Nienhuis joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in May 2020 as a postdoctoral researcher in the geochemistry group with interests in characterization of solutions and amorphous materials and their structures leading to crystallization. From 2020 to 2023, she led the Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) Early Career Network, helping to build the benches of scientists and engineers as they grow their careers.

Before joining PNNL, Emily specialized in structural characterization of glasses and glass-forming liquids through X-ray and neutron total scattering, specifically those made of ionic materials. Since joining PNNL as a chemist, she has focused on synthesis and characterization of highly concentrated, low-water, alkaline solutions with the goal of understanding how solute–solvent interactions and solution organizational structures affect crystallization propensity, reaction pathways, and resulting products. At PNNL, Emily uses Fourier transform infrared and Raman spectroscopies to understand local solution structures. Emily has also participated in multiple beamtime campaigns at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source and Spallation Neutron Source.

Research Interest

  • Aluminosilicate glasses and minerals
  • Salt melts and glasses
  • Concentrated salt solutions with low water
  • In situ characterization of materials under extreme conditions

Disciplines and Skills

  • X-ray total scattering
  • Neutron total scattering
  • Pair distribution function analysis
  • Powder X-ray diffraction
  • Raman spectroscopy


  • PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Washington State University
  • BA, Chemistry, Northwestern College

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2019 Roy G. Post Foundation Scholarship Recipient, Waste Management Symposia



  • Riley B.J., S. Chong, J. Schmid, J. Marcial, E.T. Nienhuis-Marcial, M. Bera, and S. Lee, et al. 2022. "Role of Zeolite Structural Properties toward Iodine Capture: A Head-to-head Evaluation of Framework Type and Chemical Composition." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 14, no. 16:18439-18452. PNNL-SA-163213. doi:10.1021/acsami.2c01179


  • Graham T.R., M. Dembowski, H. Wang, S.T. Mergelsberg, E.T. Nienhuis-Marcial, J.G. Reynolds, and C.H. Delegard, et al. 2021. "Hydroxide promotes ion pairing in the NaNO2-NaOH-H2O system." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 23, no. 1:112-122. PNNL-SA-156222. doi:10.1039/D0CP04799F
  • Young L., E.T. Nienhuis-Marcial, D. Koulentianos, G. Doumy, A.M. March, S.H. Southworth, and S.B. Clark, et al. 2021. "Photon-in/photon-out x-ray free-electron laser studies of radiolysis." Applied Sciences 11, no. 2:Article No. 701. PNNL-SA-158913. doi:10.3390/app11020701