Group Photo, August '23

Our research

We are a materials chemistry group studying novel synthesis routes under extreme compression. We use cutting-edge techniques to subject samples to pressures on the order of millions of atmospheres, allowing us to access exotic states of matter and synthesize previously undiscovered solid-state compounds. We also use first-principles calculations to explore high-pressure phase space in silico, and to study the bulk properties of newly discovered phases.

X-ray Diffraction | Solid-State Synthesis

High-Pressure Synthesis

High pressure represents a vastly unexplored phase space where novel compounds can be synthesized and recovered back to ambient conditions. We use experimental high-pressure synthesis techniques to discover completely new solid-state compounds that could underpin future advances in technology.

Density Functional Theory | High-Throughput Computation

Structure Prediction

Modern first-principles methods can be used to accurately calculate the formation enthalpy of any given structure. We use random structure searching tools to perform high-throughput DFT calculations in search of undiscovered high-pressure phases. We also use machine learning methods to investigate how pressure can influence chemical disorder in the solid state.

Dynamic Compression | X-ray Diffraction | Modelling

Shockwave Chemistry

Shockwaves subject materials to very high pressures over extremely short timescales, potentially offering a route toward the kinetic control of solid-state transformations. We use cutting-edge in situ X-ray diffraction methods to examine phase transformations under dynamic compression.

Magnetism | Spectroscopy | X-ray Diffraction

Novel Quantum Materials

Systems that exhibit magnetic frustration are a direct route to exotic new states of matter dominated by quantum fluctuations. Control over these delicate quantum states is an outstanding challenge in chemistry and physics. We are using high pressures to target novel quantum phases in geometrically frustrated systems.

Meet the Group

Scott Ambos

Fourth Year Graduate Student

B.Sc., Union College, 2019

John Arigbede

Second Year Graduate Student

B.Tech., OAUSTECH, Nigeria, 2020

Liz Cote

Second Year Graduate Student

B.Sc., M.S., University of New Haven, 2022

Nick Manganaro

Fifth Year Graduate Student

B.Sc., University of New Haven, 2019

Scott Thiel

Fifth Year Graduate Student

B.Sc., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2019

Zeynep Alptekin

Undergraduate Student

B.Sc., UMass Amherst (expected 2024)

Wyatt Mitchell

Undergraduate Student

B.Sc., UMass Amherst (expected 2024)

Chris Walsh

Undergraduate Student

B.Sc., UMass Amherst (expected 2024)


Walsh Lab
Freedman Lab

Group News


Kim travels to SLAC for shockwave beamtime2023-OCT-15

Kim performed shockwave experiments across two systems on the Matter in Extreme Conditions Instrument at the LCLS in the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Thank you to the Livermore team for making these experiments possible! [Photo]

Nick's first day of teaching2023-SEP-05

Nick Manganaro has started teaching his First Year Seminar course on game theory. This is a course that Nick designed from scratch as part of his CNS Teaching Fellowship. Good luck, Nick!

Kim wins the DEPS award2023-AUG-08

The Directed Energy Professional Society has awarded Kim a $10,000 research grant to support her collaborative work with LLNL on laser shock compression. Congratulations, Kim!

Collaboration work with the Roy Research Group now in print2023-AUG-07

Work performed in collaboration with the Roy Research Group studying CrSBr under pressure was published in Advanced Physics Research. Check it out here!

California Reunion2023-JUN-27

James visited Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California to deliver a seminar in the Materials Science Division. While there, he caught up with Kim and Zeynep, who are both interning at the lab over the summer and doing great science!

John joins the Walsh Lab2023-JUN-13

After passing his qualifying exam with flying colors, John Arigbede is now officially a PhD candidate in the Walsh Lab! He will work on studying our newly discovered electron-rich transition metal carbides as heterogeneous catalysts.

The Walsh Lab receives funding from the ACS PRF2023-MAY-24

The Walsh Lab has been awarded a grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund to study our novel transition metal carbides as heterogeneous catalysts! We are very grateful to the Petroleum Research Fund for their support.

Wyatt and Zeynep win department awards2023-MAY-12

The Walsh Lab was well represented at the Chemistry Department Awards Dinner, with Wyatt receiving the John A. Chandler Memorial Scholarship and Zeynep taking home the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Award. Well done to both!

Nick and Scott attend the CONUSS workshop2023-MAY-10

Nick and Scott traveled to the Advanced Photon Source to learn how to work up synchrotron Mössbauer data during an intensive three-day workshop. Thank you to the organizers for putting on a fantastic workshop!

Carbides subgroup visits XPD at NSLS-II2023-MAR-24

Liz Cote, Scott Thiel, and Paul Marshall carried out some high-pressure synthesis reactions on the large volume press at beamline 28-ID-2 at the NSLS-II. Thank you to Matt Whitaker for being a fantastic host! [Photo]

Scott and Nick are back at PX^22023-MAR-16

Scott Ambos and Nick Manganaro were back at the APS to collect some high-pressure single crystal diffraction data. Thank you as always to Dongzhou Zhang and Phuong Nguyen for their support. [Photo]

Kim earns a HEDS internship2023-FEB-28

Kim will be spending the summer as a High Energy Density Science Center (HEDS) Grad Student at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She will participate in experiments across Omega, MEC, JLF, and DiPOLE. [Photo]

Zeynep earns a SULI internship2023-FEB-23

The DOE Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program will support Zeynep for a summer internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she will help to prepare and study a new class of thermal barrier coatings.

Nick and Scott visit Sector 32023-FEB-18

Nick Manganaro and Scott Ambos spent four days collecting high-pressure synchrotron Mössbauer at Sector 3 of the APS. Thank you to Barbara Lavina and Ercan Alp for helping us collect some great data! [Photo]


Liz joins the Walsh Lab2022-DEC-19

We are excited to welcome Liz Cote to the Walsh Lab! Liz joins us from the University of New Haven, where she worked with the group of Prof. Dequan Xiao on the design of molecular catalysts for polymer degradations. Liz will join the carbides subgroup.

The Walsh Lab receives an NSF CAREER award2022-DEC-07

The Walsh Lab has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant to fund our work on the development of novel methods for high-pressure synthesis! We are very grateful to the Division of Materials Research for their support.

Kim wins two department awards2022-NOV-26

Kim was the recipient of not one but two chemistry graduate fellowships awarded through the department. She received both the Donald Kuhn Graduate Fellowship Award and the PPG Fellowship. Congratulations, Kim!

Paul and Scott attend to pressing matters2022-NOV-08

Paul Marshall and Scott Thiel set sail for Long Island to perform large volume press synthesis experiments at beamline 28-ID-2 of the NSLS-II. Here is a photograph of the Lab's first Kawai assembly. Thank you to Matt Whitaker for making the experiments a success!

Nick and Scott take their crystals to the extreme2022-OCT-07

Nick Manganaro and Scott Ambos visited the Partnership for Extreme Crystallography beamline at the Advanced Photon Source in Chicago to perform high-pressure X-ray crystallography experiments. Thank you to Dongzhou Zhang and Phuong Nguyen for training and assistance!. [Photo]

Kim wins a poster award at ResearchFest 20222022-AUG-30

Kim won a first-place award for her poster presentation at the UMass Chemistry Department's ResearchFest 2022. Here she is receiving her award certificate from department head Rick Metz. [Photo]

Scott's zirconium carbide paper is published2022-AUG-19

Scott's paper reporting on the use of cluster expansion to study the effect of pressure on vacancies in zirconium carbide has been published in Advanced Theory and Simulations. Nice work, Scott!

Kim returns to the Dynamic Compression Sector2022-JUL-24

Kim was back at the Advanced Photon Source to perform experiments at the Dynamic Compression Sector. Thank you to the excellent support team for making the experiments a success!

Kim wins a poster award at the High Pressure GRC2022-JUL-21

Kim won an award for her poster presentation of her shockwave work at the 2022 Research at High Pressure GRC. Her prize was a copy of Sergei Stishov's book The ABCs of High Pressure. [Photo]

Wyatt wins the Roger G. Bates Fund for summer research2022-APR-28

Wyatt was awarded the Roger G. Bates Fund to support his research in our lab over the summer. He will continue his work on the high-pressure synthesis of novel carbides. [Photo]

Three Walsh Lab members win the department Ambassador Award2022-APR-28

Kim Bolduc, Nick Manganaro, and Scott Thiel each won the Chemistry Department Ambassador Award!

Zeynep wins the UMass Rising Researcher award2022-APR-13

Zeynep was awarded the 2021–2022 UMass Rising Researcher Award for her outstanding achievements in research! Click here to read more about her award. [Photo]

Zeynep wins a poster award at the Undergrad Poster Session2022-APR-08

Zeynep was awarded the Uche Anyanwu Memorial Award for her poster presentation at the Chemistry Undergraduate Poster Session. She presented her work on the high-pressure bulk synthesis of cobalt cementite using the laser-heated diamond anvil cell. [Photo]

Zeynep wins the Goldwater Scholarship2022-APR-04

Zeynep was awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship—one of only three students from UMass to receive the honor! Click here to read more about her award.

Kim calls the shots at the DCS2022-MAR-11

Kim led the Walsh Lab's first laser shock GUP beamtime at the Dynamic Compression Sector at the Advanced Photon Source, collecting our first in situ XRD and VISAR dataset!


Paul's cobalt carbide paper is published2021-OCT-21

Paul's paper reporting the high-pressure bulk synthesis of cobalt cementite in the laser-heated diamond anvil cell has been published in Chemistry of Materials. Great work, Paul!

Kim receives an Honorable Mention in the NSF GRFP2021-MAR-24

Kim was awarded an Honorable Mention in this year's NSF GRFP—one of only two in the department. Congratulations, Kim!

Kim joins experiments at the MEC2021-FEB-23

Kim joined our awesome collaborators at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to perform experiments (remotely) on the Matter in Extreme Conditions endstation at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Scott Ambos joins the Walsh Lab2021-FEB-22

Welcome to Scott Ambos, who is now officially a member of the Walsh Lab! Scott joins us from Union College where he worked with Prof. Michael Hagerman on functionalized CdSe quantum dots for water-processable inkjet printed photovoltaics.


Kim attends the Ultrafast X-ray Summer School 20202020-JUN-15

Kim virtually attended the UXSS held by Stanford University. Thank you to the organizers for a great workshop!

Rigaku Synergy-S installed in the Walsh Lab2020-FEB-07

Our Rigaku Synergy-S single crystal diffractometer was delivered and commissioned in the basement of LGRT. It has a Cu/Ag dual source and is fitted with the HyPix-6000HE hybrid photon counting detector. We are very excited to begin putting it to use!

The Walsh Lab attends the HPCAT Conference2020-JAN-06

The lab spent two days meeting and catching up with other researchers in the high pressure field at the annual HPCAT Conference held at the Advanced Photon Source.

Kim, Nick, Scott, and Paul join the Walsh Lab!2020-JAN-06

Welcome to the first graduate students to join the Walsh Lab: Kimberly Bolduc, Nicholas Manganaro, Paul Marshall, and Scott Thiel. We are excited to get started!