About Lauren Mason

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So far Lauren Mason has created 55 blog entries.

“Determining Atomic Structures from Digitally Defined Regions of Nanocrystals” and “High resolution imaging through scattering media”

Determining Atomic Structures from Digitally Defined Regions of Nanocrystals

Presented by Marcus Gallagher-Jones, postdoc, Jose Rodriguez group, UCLA


The ability of molecules to form ordered assemblies is a crucial first step in preparing samples for structural characterization with atomic-level detail. For many complex molecules, the length scales to which this order extends is limited, thus hampering efforts to solve their structures. In our current work we attempt to overcome these challenges by extending recent developments in 4D-STEM. By combining 4D-STEM data collection with tomography we demonstrate that atomic structures of macromolecules can be solved from specific regions of polymer nanocrystals. In this method, scanning nanobeam electron diffraction tomography (nanoEDT), peptide nanocrystals are rotated about a tilt axis in one-degree steps.  At each tilt angle a direct electron detector captures thousands of sparse diffraction patterns mapped to specific locations within a single crystal. The use of direct electron detection, in combination with data collection at cryogenic temperatures and a hybrid counting algorithm, allows even weak signals from high-resolution Bragg peaks to be accurately recorded from radiation sensitive crystals. NanoEDT breaks new ground in nanocrystallography by allowing atomic structures to be determined from any region of a nanocrystal through the use of virtual, selected-area apertures, potentially leading to the determination of atomic structures from heterogeneous or polycrystalline nanoassemblies.

High resolution imaging through scattering media

Presented by Sakshi Singh & Evolene Premillieu, graduate students, Rafael Piestun group, CU Boulder


Imaging through scattering media is a critical area with impact in biological and biomedical research. While most current research focuses on achieving the highest possible resolution, in practice, scattering is often the main limitation. Scattering diffuses light, leading to a reduction in contrast and signal-to-noise ratio, which makes imaging impractical. The implications of this study span all imaging modalities from visible light to electron beam. One approach to deal with scattering involves characterizing the medium by measuring its transmission Matrix (TM). Once the TM is acquired, imaging and focusing inside the medium become feasible. Here we present two critical advances in this field. The first involves TM measurement using fluorescence (namely incoherent light) as feedback, allowing to focus light on an extended field of view behind a scatterer. Secondly, we demonstrate a huge step up in the imaging speed with the help of a grating light valve (GLV) that enables rapid and continuous focusing through scattering media at a record speed.

What to Know if You’re Teaching Physics Labs Remotely

The coronavirus pandemic upended schools in the spring of 2020, sending students and faculty home. This rapidly changed how instructors handled laboratory physics courses. With a NSF RAPID grant, JILA Fellow Heather Lewandowski asked instructors what worked—and what didn’t—as they moved their lab courses online.

New electron microscope at CU Boulder enables groundbreaking research across disciplines—and from a distance

Capable of achieving spatial resolutions of 70 pm—smaller than the size of an atom—the Thermo Scientific Titan Themis S/TEM, located in the newly-launched CU Facility for Electron Microscopy of Materials (CU FEMM), is now the highest-resolution electron microscope in Colorado.

Taller than a person and equipped with multiple cameras and detectors, this state-of-the-art, aberration-corrected electron microscopy platform makes groundbreaking research possible in a wide range of fields, including catalysis, advanced imaging, quantum information, energy conversion, biomaterials, battery research, geology, materials development and even archaeology. A team from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is even exploring a potential COVID-19 study using the microscope to inspect the salt from dried saliva droplets.

Congrats to Jose Rodriguez for Being Recognized as One of the Most Inspiring Hispanic/Latinx Scientists in the United States by Cell Press

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re showcasing 100 of the most inspiring Hispanic/Latinx scientists working in the United States. This list—selected based on scholarly achievements, mentoring excellence, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—represents only a subset of the scientific role models in the community. Our aim in assembling these names is to put an end to the harmful myth that there are not enough diverse scientists to give seminars, serve as panelists, or fill scientific positions. We highlight scientists encompassing careers within academia, government, and biotech and showcase individuals committed to serving diverse student populations at Hispanic-serving institutions. Although we understand this list is not fully representative of the Hispanic/Latinx scientific community, we hope it will help to change the perception of what a scientist looks like and makes our collective image more representative of society at large.

World’s Smallest ‘Refrigerator’

Thermoelectric devices represent a potentially transformative technology, one that could revolutionize power generation and temperature control.  While they are robust, compact, noiseless, and have no moving parts, thermoelectric devices are implemented only in a few niche applications because of their low efficiency compared to conventional, compression-based heat engines. According to well-grounded theoretical considerations, thermoelectric materials might be made more efficient than their bulk counterparts via tailored nanostructuring.  Given the large upside, even small improvements in thermoelectric materials might bring us to a tipping point where thermoelectric devices are routinely employed for recovering waste heat and refrigerating food.

A STROBE team led by Chris Regan (UCLA) has developed new imaging techniques for characterizing thermoelectric devices at the nanoscale, and has demonstrated these techniques on the smallest refrigerator ever constructed.  Their thermoelectric refrigerator has an active volume of about 1 cubic micrometer, which is too small to be seen with the naked eye.   Viewed in a microscope, it demonstrates its cooling abilities by forming a single dewdrop instantaneously when electrical power is applied. This work is continuing in collaboration with researchers at the STROBE/PEAQS partner institutions Fort Lewis College and Norfolk State University.

University of Colorado Boulder: Tenure Track Openings in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

University of Colorado Boulder: Tenure Track Openings in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

For the 2020-2021 search cycle, the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder is conducting two tenure track searches.

1) Multiple Open-Discipline Faculty Positions in Engineering and Applied Science

As part of our commitment to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive academic culture in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) at the University of Colorado Boulder, we are launching a new college-wide search for multiple tenured/tenure track faculty positions rostered among any/all of the six departments and six interdisciplinary programs in the college. We anticipate hiring at the assistant and associate professor levels, although qualified candidates will be considered at the full professor rank.

This search is motivated by the four core values of the college’s strategic vision: accelerate our research impact to produce advances in technology and benefits to society, embrace our public education mission including expanding access and participation of diverse and underrepresented communities in engineering and computer science, increase our global engagement, and enrich our professional environment.


2) Faculty Position in Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

The Department of Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder seeks well-qualified candidates for a Tenure-Track Faculty position in the areas of machine learning (distributed, explainable, secure, etc.), signal processing (statistical, sparse, distributed, high-dimensional data, etc.), network science, and/or information/communication theory (5G and beyond). Such candidates would have demonstrated, or potential for future, excellence in research in the theory, algorithms, and emerging applications of these disciplines. Synergistic and interdisciplinary research that cuts across them is a plus. Excellent candidates at the early Associate professor level with tenure will also be considered.


The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Postdoc positions available at UC Berkeley in EECS and/or Vision Science

Postdoc positions available at UC Berkeley in EECS and/or Vision Science

First application deadline: November 1st, 2020

Adaptive optics imaging, computational imaging, basic vision science, future display technology

Available postdoc positions are interdisciplinary between Berkeley’s department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS), and the Vision Science (VS) program in the School of Optometry.  Postdocs may be appointed in either division or jointly in both.  Hires in both disciplines are intended.The project faculty are Ren Ng (EECS), Austin Roorda (VS) and William Tuten (VS).  The project, called Oz Vision, conducts fundamental research in computational imaging systems directed at the emerging area of retinal stimulation at the level of individual photoreceptors, and associated applications in basic vision science and future-looking display technology. Representative research questions include: can we see colors beyond the natural human color gamut?  Can we help a color-blind person perceive “full” color?  Can we create a new class of display technology that fundamentally extends human vision by building visual percepts photoreceptor-by-photoreceptor?

The project includes multiple parts with high mobility and cross-disciplinary opportunity for motivated candidates. Representative project parts include:
– Apply machine learning in imaging the retina, classifying its cells, and predicting its perpetual motion.

– Design and build a next-generation retina stimulation device involving adaptive optics with one-photon and two-photon imaging/stimulation.
– Conduct human vision experiments to establish colorimetry for novel, out-of-gamut colors.
– Develop low-latency software control to prototype next-generation color displays by stimulating the retina at the level of individual photoreceptors.
– Design and implement experiments to study the potential to boost the dimensionality of human color perception.

The positions require a PhD in Computer Science, Optical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Vision Science or closely related fields. Deep experience with some, but not all, of the following topics is necessary (not in order of priority): optical engineering, imaging systems design, low-latency software engineering, computer vision, computer graphics, visual psychophysics, precision engineering, low-latency software, GPU programming, optimization, machine learning. Ideal candidates will possess outstanding communication skills, and talent for collaborating in and leading an intellectually diverse team.

Multiple positions are funded for two years with a possibility of renewal for a third year. The positions are available now and will be filled when a suitable candidate is found. The first rolling deadline is November 1st, 2020.

Interested candidates can send informal inquiries to Ren Ng (ren@berkeley.edu), or submit an application including CV, statement of research experience and interests, and contact information for three references.

The University of California is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Announcement with images: https://tinyurl.com/oz-postdocs

UCLA scientists create world’s smallest ‘refrigerator’

How do you keep the world’s tiniest soda cold? UCLA scientists may have the answer.

A team led by UCLA physics professor Chris Regan has succeeded in creating thermoelectric coolers that are only 100 nanometers thick — roughly one ten-millionth of a meter — and have developed an innovative new technique for measuring their cooling performance.

“We have made the world’s smallest refrigerator,” said Regan, the lead author of a paper on the research published recently in the journal ACS Nano.

To be clear, these miniscule devices aren’t refrigerators in the everyday sense — there are no doors or crisper drawers. But at larger scales, the same technology is used to cool computers and other electronic devices, to regulate temperature in fiber-optic networks, and to reduce image “noise” in high-end telescopes and digital cameras.

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