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Peter Pauzauskie

Materials Sciences
Joint Appointment
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Peter Pauzauskie has a joint appointment between the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington (UW). At the university, he is an assistant professor in the Materials Science & Engineering Department. At PNNL, he is a chief scientist and a co-investigator on materials research with Dr. James De Yoreo.

Pauzauskie completed a Ph.D. in experimental physical chemistry with Dr. Peidong Yang at the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. His dissertation focused on the synthesis, characterization, and optoelectronic integration of inorganic nanowires. After graduating he started a postdoctoral fellowship in the Chemical Sciences Division of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a DOE Lawrence Fellow under the direction of Dr. Joe H. Satcher, Jr. At LLNL, he conducted research into novel diamond- and graphene-based carbon aerogel materials that are currently being considered for applications in capacitive energy storage and small molecule drug delivery. In 2010, Pauzauskie became an assistant professor in the UW's Materials Science & Engineering Department.

Pauzauskie's research focus is centered on the synthesis, characterization, and numerical modeling of nanoscale optoelectronic materials with well-defined point-defect microstructure for applications in the laser refrigeration of solids. His group is designing rare-earth point-defects within crystalline host materials that absorb near-infrared laser radiation and then emit up-converted/blue-shifted photoluminescence that refrigerates both the host crystal's lattice, and also the ambient environment. Recently, Pauzauskie's group demonstrated it is possible to refrigerate liquid water surrounding LiYF4 nanocrystals, and observe for the first time the cold Brownian motion of colloidal nanocrystals.

Research Interests

  • Optically active point-defect engineering in solid-state materials: the synthesis and processing of optically-active point defects in semiconducting and insulating crystals, including the negatively-charged nitrogen-vacancy center in diamond and rare-earth point defects in laser gain crystals; chemical vapor deposition, ion-implantation, pulsed laser deposition, hydrothermal/autoclave reactors, atmospheric pressure plasma reactors, sol-gel chemical reactions, and laser-heated diamond anvil cells.
  • Laser refrigeration of solid-state materials: development of synthetic methods to prepare inorganic dielectrics and semiconductors that can be cooled through a process of optical up-conversion/anti-Stokes photoluminescence.
  • Advanced materials characterization using synchrotron radiation/scanning transmission X-ray absorption, neutron activation analysis, atom-probe tomography, scanning transmission electron microscopy, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, time-resolved single photon counting, and single-beam laser trapping.
  • Computational electromagnetics simulations of the interaction of optical radiation with nanoscale materials using the discrete dipole approximation, finite-element modelling, and the finite-difference time domain method.

Education and Credentials

  • E.O. Lawrence postdoctoral fellowship, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2007-2010)
  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley (2007)
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Kansas State University (2002)
  • B.S., Chemistry and Mathematics, Kansas State University (2002)

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Member, Materials Research Society
  • Member, American Chemical Society
  • Co-organizer, SPIE Optical Trapping Applications Symposium, Vancouver, B.C. (2015)
  • Co-organizer, ACS 3rd International Symposium on Graphene for Energy and Fuels, San Francisco, CA (2014)

Awards and Recognitions

  • National Academy of Engineering’s US-German FOE symposium participant (2015)
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (2012)
  • University of Cambridge Oppenheimer postdoctoral fellowship (2007, declined)
  • MRS Graduate Student Gold Award (2006)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (2002)
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, 2 years (1999)
  • Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award (1997)

PNNL Publications


  • Wang H., Q. Mu, R. Revia, K. Wang, X. Zhou, P. Pauzauskie, and S. Zhou, et al. 2017. "Chitosan-Gated Magnetic-Responsive Nanocarrier for Dual-Modal Optical Imaging, Switchable Drug Release, and Synergistic Therapy." Advanced Healthcare Materials 6, no. 6:Article No. 1601080. PNNL-SA-126395. doi:10.1002/adhm.201601080

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