Heske Group University of Nevada Las Vegas

Current Heske Group Members


Clemens Heske (Professor)

       Clemens Heske uses lab- and synchrotron-based soft x-rays to study surfaces and interfaces in a wide variety of material systems for energy conversion. With the expertise and technical skills of his group, he teams up with a large number of national and international partners in academia, national labs, and industry to investigate and improve thin film solar cells, materials for hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, fuel cells, light-emitting devices, nuclear fuel, and other systems that involve interfaces and require a deeper understanding of their electronic and chemical properties to optimize the performance and stability of the final device.

       He thoroughly enjoys spending time with and teaching Physical Chemistry to the students at UNLV and being among his colleagues in the UNLV Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Lothar Weinhardt (Adjunct Associate Professor)

       Lothar is working on applying electron and x-ray spectroscopies for the investigation of surfaces and interfaces in applied material systems. In particular, he is focussing on the development of specialized instrumentation to study such systems in in-situ and operando environments. This also motivates his intense interest in using soft x-ray spectroscopies to study the electronic structure of liquids and gases, which includes salts and molecules in solutions relevant for biological questions.
Moni Blum (Assistant Research Professor)

       My primary research interest is the study of the electronic and chemical properties of solids, solutions, and interfaces using x-ray and electron spectroscopies. During my Ph.D. I focused on applying soft x-ray spectroscopies to the study of liquids and solutions addressing fundamental questions of bio materials. Since then my interest moved toward more applied fields, in particular to the study of materials used in renewable energy conversion applications such as thin film solar cells and hydrogen generation. Also here my focus lies on in-situ studies and how to make x-ray and electron spectroscopic operando measurements possible.
Timo Hofmann (Adjunct Assistant Professor)

       My research revolves around the creative combination of surface analysis and -technology to specifically tailor material properties for applied applications. I have a strong background in the characterization of surfaces and interfaces in devices and materials related to renewable energies (organic and thin film solar cells, solid oxide electrolysis cells, fuel cell catalysts). Currently, I am focusing my efforts on deliberately tuning surface morphology and chemistry to the specific needs of the desired application.
Michelle Mezher (Post-doc)

       Michelle successfully defended her dissertation in June. Her research focuses on the chemical and electronic structure of chalcopyrite thin-film photovoltaic surfaces and interfaces using x-ray spectroscopy: XPS, UPS, IPES, XES, XAS. Most notably, her research focuses on Zn(O,S)/CIGSe devices and alkali PDT CIGSe absorbers. As an undergrad, Michelle did research utilizing XPS and AES for the analysis of complex sulfur compounds upon a stoichiometric and defected titanium catalyst in order to pursue effective desulfurization of petroleum.
Erki Kärber (Post-doc)

       Erki enjoys the vibrant atmosphere in the Heske group as a fellow of the Research Scholar program of the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). His 2016-17 fall-to-fall stay as a trainee in UNLV brings him invaluable knowledge, including the generation of an ultra-high -vacuum (UHV) enviroment as well as maintenance of UHV equipment and instrumentation. A UHV system allows for the measurement of characteristic electrons and photons emitted from materials of his interest targeted for next-generation solar cells. With a PhD from Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, Erki already has a wide range of techniques in his backpack for characterization of semiconductor layers and solid state extremely thin inorganic absorber solar cells. Erki is also a graduate and a member of the International Society for Engineering Education (IGIP).
Lynette Kogler (PhD student)

       Lynette Kogler is currently a PhD candidate working on the characterization of solution-processed metal oxide and organic thin films and inorganic/organic interfaces.
James Carter (PhD student)

       James Carter is a second year graduate student. He utilizes XPS, UPS, and IPES to look at the surface/interface of PEC cells. James is excited to teach Physical Chemistry lab in the fall.
Chase Aldridge (Post-Bac)

       Chase just recently graduated from UNLV with his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry while completing a minor in mathematics. His research involves the utilization of spectroscopic methods to probe the surfaces and interfaces of materials for alternative forms of energy. Currently he is working with materials pertinent for hydrogen production and the catalytic reduction of methanol via direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC’s). Chase plans to take a year off before applying to graduate school.
Bridget Elizan (Post-Bac)

       After receiving her Bachelors of Science in biochemistry from St. Edward's University in Austin, TX, Bridget is now working as a post-baccalaureate research assistant studying earth-based thin film solar cells. At St. Edward's, her undergraduate research focused on the identification and quantification of flavor-relevant volatile organic compounds in fruits. With previous research in analytical chemistry and biochemistry, she is excited to learn more and understand the physics and electronic structure of solar cells.
Amandee Hua (Post-Bac)

       Amandee is a recent graduate of the University of Washington with a bachelors in Chemistry. She's excited to learn more about using various techniques to analyze solar cell materials - further understanding its surface chemistry. With a passion for the environment, she hopes to contribute a solution to the need for renewable energy.
Evan Misak (Undergraduate Researcher)

       Evan is a fourth year electrical engineering student with minors in chemistry and mathematics. He is interested in a variety of topics including photovoltaics, semiconductor physics, material science, and IC design. Current focus within the lab involves programming in LabView for more efficient hardware operation.
James Maslow (Undergraduate Researcher)

       James is a third year undergraduate in Chemistry. He is interested in physical chemistry and alternative energy.
Mary Blankenship (Undergraduate Researcher)

       Mary is a freshman pursuing a double major in mathematics and economics. She is interested in physical chemistry, renewable energy and its application in our economy