This award is for the Best Paper Published in Applied Spectroscopy on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

2021 Recipients 

Daniel Diaz, Alejandro Molino Ochoa, David Hahn

Daniel Diaz

Daniel Diaz holds a Postdoctoral position at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Arizona where he participates in various research efforts at the Laser-based Diagnostics Laboratory since 2020. He is a mechanical engineer from Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Sede Medellin, and obtained his Ph.D. in Engineering from the same university in 2017. Dr. Diaz did a post-doctorate between 2017 and 2020 at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida where he performed research related to laser ablation, and the analysis of solids and aerosols with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. His experience is in thermal sciences, materials engineering, laser-based diagnostic tools, and laboratory and industrial heating systems. Currently, he contributes to research projects related to the characterization of high-temperature environments in molten salt reactors and battery fires with laser-based diagnostic tools, as wells as modeling the transport and fate of gases and aerosols. Dr. Diaz teaches undergraduate heat transfer.

Alejandro Molino Ochoa 

Alejandro Molina is professor in Departamento de Procesos y Energía de la Facultad de Minas de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Medellín. He is a chemical engineer from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana and obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical and Fuel Engineering from the University of Utah in 2002. He did a post-doctorate between 2003 and 2006 at the Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California where he conducted research related to laser diagnostics, coal combustion in oxygen-enriched environments, and glass production. In 2006 he became an associate professor at the Faculty of Mines where he is currently a tenured professor. His research areas revolve around the analysis of reactive flows using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and laser diagnostics. He is a member of the Bioprocesses and Reactive Flows research group where he contributes to different fields of research that seek to improve the performance of the local industry. He has directed projects in the areas of oil exploration and refining, characterization of soils through laser induced breakdown spectroscopy, virtual laboratories for teaching chemical engineering, and CFD analysis applied to the improvement of industrial processes. Currently he is part of research projects related to the prevention of accidents due to fires and explosions and the optimization of plants to recycle spent lead-acid batteries. He is in charge of the undergraduate courses in Chemical Reaction Engineering and Introduction to Chemical Engineering. At graduate level he teaches different courses such as CFD, Process Intensification and Fire Dynamics.

David Hahn 

David W. Hahn is the Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering, and Professor and Eminent Scholar at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Arizona. He has more than two decades of experience in higher education and with national agencies and laboratories, and he is a champion of diversity in engineering. Dr. Hahn joined the University of Arizona after a 20-year career at the University of Florida, where he served most recently as chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Under his leadership, the university built a 4,000-square-foot student design center, his department grew to the largest on campus in terms of student enrollment, and the female student population in mechanical and aerospace engineering increased to 20%, about 50% above the national average. He was the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering 2007-2008 Teacher/Scholar of the Year and 2009-2010 Advisor/Mentor of the Year, and he received the UF Society of Women Engineers 2016-2017 Outstanding Support of Women in Engineering Award. Dr. Hahn is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Optical Society and Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Dr. Hahn began his research career as an NRC postdoctoral associate in the electro-optics branch of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health. He then spent four years at Sandia National Laboratories, first as a postdoctoral researcher and then as a member of the technical staff. He studied mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1986 and a doctorate in 1992. In 2014 he received the Alumni Achievement Award from his home department.


Anupam K. Misra, Tayro E. Acosta-Maeda, John N. Porter, Genesis Berlanga, Dalton Muchow, Shiv K. Sharma, and Brian Chee

“A Two Components Approach for Long Range Remote Raman and Laser-Induced Breakdown (LIBS) Spectroscopy Using Low Laser Pulse Energy”

Applied Spectroscopy, Vol. 73, 3

Anupam K. Misra

Anupam Misra is a Researcher at the Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai’i. He has been developing active remote

sensing technologies (Remote Raman + LIBS + Fluorescence) for detecting chemicals, minerals and biological materials in daylight for IED detection,

terrestrial applications and applications suitable for NASA’s “Search for Life” mission goal. Recently, remote Raman detection capabilities were

successfully tested during afternoon sunlight from 1752 m target distance with 1-30 s integration time, making a new world record. A new sensitive

instrument called “Standoff Biofinder” was also developed to locate fossils and other biological materials in a large geological area operating at video

speed. Anupam has a wide range of experience in various fields of physics and material science.

Tayro E. Acosta-Maeda

Tayro E. Acosta-Maeda is assistant researcher at the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology of the University of Hawai‘i, where he has been

a faculty member since 2018. Tayro has a bachelors degree in physics and he obtained his PhD by the University of Hawai‘i with a dissertation titled

‘Raman Spectroscopy for planetary geology’. Tayro has over 15 years of experience advancing active laser induced remote sensing for long-distance

field applications. His experience is extensive in remote Raman and fluorescence spectroscopies and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)

systems fabrication, data acquisition, data processing and analysis. The same applies to micro-Raman systems’ data acquisition, processing and analysis.

Dr. Acosta-Maeda has been actively developing remote Raman spectroscopy and fluorescence techniques for planetary exploration providing concepts

and data essential for future planetary landers and rovers. His earlier work contributed to the development of the RLS instrument of the ExoMars mission.

His experience also touches on infrared spectroscopy, synchrotron X-Ray diffraction, and electron probe microanalysis and high-pressure research.

John N. Porter

John Porter's work has focused on passive and active environmental measurements. This includes aerosol optics, lidar measurements, remote Raman

(and LIBS) measurements, radiative transfer calculations, satellite aerosol algorithms, stereo camera measurements, and SO2 thermal Infrared inversion algorithms. 

Genesis Berlanga

Genesis Berlanga is a research associate at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science at NASA Ames Research Center and a Ph D candidate in the Earth

and Planetary Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. He got his Masters in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa

and his BA in Astronomy at Mount Holyoke College. Genesis works with Raman, XRD/XRF, and IR spectroscopy and instrumentation to develop

diagnostic tools for interpretation of rock and mineral spectra from Mars rovers such NASA's Curiosity and Perseverance. He collects systematic

laboratory datasets modeling Mars and Moon surface processes and conditions and implements statistical and machine learning techniques to better understand underlying patterns in the spectra. The goal is to develop databases that provide a better understanding of what rock and mineral spectra

look like on Mars so that we can readily identify any potential superimposed biogenic signatures or active aqueous alteration processes on the surface.

Genesis also devotes time to mentoring and connecting underrepresented students to STEM pipelines and promoting a sense of positive identity and

             belonging within scientific communities.

Dalton Muchow

Dalton Muchow is an Active Duty Army Aviation Officer and currently a Masters student of Systems Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Mr. Muchow worked in the University of Hawaii’s Raman Spectroscopy lab as an undergraduate researcher until his graduation in 2017. Mr. Muchow

has been acknowledged in multiple publications for his assistance in the data collection and analysis of research conducted by Dr. Misra and his team.

In his free time, Mr. Muchow competes in triathlon and goes surfing with his girlfriend.

Shiv K. Sharma

Shiv Sharma received his Ph. D. (Physics) degree in 1973 from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India. He joined the University of Hawaii in April 1980. Currently, he is a tenured Professor in the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, and on the Graduate Faculty of both the Department of

Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering, and the Department of Geology and Geophysics in the School of Ocean Earth Science and Technology.

He is Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, India, Fellow of Mineralogical Society of America, Fellow of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, Senior

Member of Optical Society of America and SPIE, and Life Member of AGU and PACON International. He is also a member of the National Academy of

Inventors' Hawaii Chapter and holds three US Patents. He has authored or coauthored over 200 research papers, mostly in the field of spectroscopy

including Raman and IR spectroscopy at ambient and high pressures, SERS, lidars, LIBS, and laser-induced fluorescence (LIF). In recent years, he and his colleagues in the Raman spectroscopy Laboratory, that was established in 1980 at the University of Hawaii, have pioneered development of standoff

Raman, LIF and LIBS techniques for planetary exploration. Currently, he is serving as one of the Co-Investigators with Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory for SuperCam Instrument on NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Mission, and with Fernando Rull of University of Valladolid, Spain, for Laser Raman spectrograph on ESA's ExoMars Mission.

Brian Chee

Brian J.S. Chee lives in Kaneohe, Hawaii. With a background in teaching Physics and Computer Science, Brian became the first Netware instructor in

Hawaii in addition to working as inside sales for PC distribution, and outside sales of data communications test equipment. He served on the Coalition

for Competitive Communications which achieved destruction of the Hawaiian Telephone monopoly a full year before the federal deregulation of the

intraLATA communications market nationwide. Other jobs included a stop with Xerox as an interfacing specialist, a stint as Senior Computer Scientist

for the General Services Administration-Office of Information Security. Currently serving as a communications researcher at the University of Hawaii

School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). Serving as a Senior Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, Brian and his lab has been

home of the biggest InfoWorld (and previously Internet Week) comparative reviews in history. Also both a host and producer for This Week in Enterprise Technology on  Publications included two titles on cloud computing from CRC Press.

Past RecipientS

2019 Ammon Williams and Supathorn Phongikaroon, "Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) Measurement of Uranium in Molten Salt"Applied Spectroscopy. 2018 Jul; Vol 72 (7): pp 1029-1039.

2018 S. Michael Angel, Patrick D. Barnett, and Nirmal Lamsal, “Standoff Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) Using a Miniature Wide Field of View Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer with Sub-Microsteradian Collection Optics”  Applied Spectroscopy, Vol. 71 (4): pp 583-590.

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