My chemistry lab experience led to current graduate research at UCLA

Mai-Anh Ha ’13

Mai-Anh Ha ’13

Mai-Anh Ha ’13

Graduate Student at UCLA

Academic focus: English and chemistry double major

Research group: Gomez Lab

Graduate program: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA

As a graduate student at UCLA, I'm under the specialty of "Theory and Computation." I do modeling of bimetallic clusters on oxide supports.  I've published a paper in ACS Catalysis on Pt-Pd Clusters on a rutile support, analyzing the stability of subnanoclusters from a statistical mechanical point of view amongst other factors.

Currently, I'm working with other supports such as alpha-alumina and anatase and doping Pt clusters with other metals and nonmetals for resistance against sintering and for catalytic reactions such as dehydrogenation of hydrocarbons. I use simulation packages such as VASP and Quantum Espresso for periodic calculations; Gaussian and Turbomole for cluster calculations.

My chemistry background at Mount Holyoke directly led me to specialize in theoretical and computational chemistry. My year in physical chemistry with professor Maria Gomez became the subject of my chemistry application. Professor Gomez's exams highlighted research papers and gave me a hint of what research in physical chemistry would be like. 

Once I joined the Gomez research group and attended her Fuel Cell Seminar, I was introduced to working with a terminal, using text editors like vi (I do all of my coding and scripting in this now) and exploring the limits of Mathematica and computational packages such as LAMMPS.