Kavner, Abby

Short Biography

Professor Kavner ran her first chemistry experiments in the family basement in the Hudson Valley, where she had access to all of the instrumentation she desired. She has never left the lab. She earned her BS in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University a very long time ago, and then attended UC Berkeley for her MS in Materials Engineering, specializing in metallurgy and corrosion. The Loma Prieta earthquake shook her into the Geology building, where she finished her PhD in Geophysics, studying high-pressure mineral physics. She spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow—first at Princeton University’s Geoscience Department, and then at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, before starting at UCLA in 2002 as an assistant professor in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences department. Now newly ensconced in the chemistry department, she aims to combine her backgrounds in geoscience and materials science to help address humanity’s need for energy while preserving a clean environment and developing resilience to the effects of climate change. Some of Professor Kavner’s favorite things include: running experiments at shared user facilities such as synchrotrons, teaching chemistry to UCLA undergraduates, and reading and writing with graduate students.

Research Interests

Research Theme 1:
Properties of materials at extreme conditions

My experimental research program aims to measure physical properties of materials under extreme conditions: at high pressures, high temperatures, and far from equilibrium. Our research group’s studies of phase stability, thermoelasticity, and thermal transport properties of materials has been funded by NSF and the National Nuclear Security Administration of the DOE. Much of our work uses the diamond anvil cell to generate high pressures, and takes advantage of synchrotron-based user facilities such as the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley CA. Currently, we are investigating the high pressure thermoelastic equations of state of transition metals, their oxides, and their carbonates, to build out the thermodynamics of oxidation and carbonate formation to pressures and temperatures corresponding to planetary conditions. Besides understanding planets, this information can inform the design of materials for carbon sequestration.

Research Theme 2:
Isotope Electrochemistry

I have an experimental and theoretical research program which seeks to use metal stable isotopes to elucidate chemical kinetics, especially those associated with electrochemical processes. In the laboratory, we have discovered larger-than-expected isotope fractionation factors that appear to be tunable by varying chemistry and rate, with the largest fractionation factors expressed at the slowest rate. The theory connects the microscopic statistical mechanical behavior of stable isotopes within molecules with nanoscale clusters and mesoscale fluid dynamics in multiphase and multicomponent systems. Potential applications include isotope separation, forensic marking and tracing, and monitoring environmental messes and their cleanup.

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright España Senior Scholar, University of Valencia, Spain, 2020
  • Senior Visiting Faculty Fellowship, University of Valencia, Spain, 2018
  • Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America, 2012
  • COMPRES Distinguished Lecturer, 2011-2012
  • Mineral and Rock Physics Outstanding Student Award, AGU, 1998

Representative Publications

[ Selected Recent Publications ] View the full list here:

*Graduate student author       **Undergraduate student author        +Postdoctoral scholar author

  • S Li, Z Qin, H Wu, M Li, M Kunz, A Alatas, A Kavner, Y Hu (2022). Anomalous thermal transport under high pressure in boron arsenide Nature, 1-6.
  • Pangilinan, L. E., *Hu, S., Turner, C. L., Yan, J., Kavner, A., Mohammadi, R., Tolbert, S., Kavner, A. and Kaner, R. B. (2022). Enhanced Hardening Effects on Molybdenum-Doped WB2 and WB2–SiC/B4C Composites. Chemistry of Materials34(12), 5461-5470.
  • K Sawchuk*, R Kamat**, C McGuire*, A Kavner, An X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopic study of the high-pressure behavior of gaspéite Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 48 (1), 1-10, 2021
  • Arias, J. Tesar, A. Kavner, T. Sikola, S. Kodambaka, In Situ Variable-Temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Studies of Graphene Growth Using Benzene on Pd (111), ACS nano 14 (1), 1141-1147, 2019
  • *Sawchuk, K., O’Bannon, E. F., Vennari, C., Kavner, A., Knittle, E., & Williams, Q. An infrared and Raman spectroscopic study of PbSO 4-anglesite at high pressures. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 1-15 Volume: 46   Issue: 6   Pages: 623-637   Published: JUN 2019
  • *McGuire, C., *Sawchuk, K., & Kavner, A. (2018). Measurements of thermal conductivity across the B1-B2 phase transition in NaCl. Journal of Applied Physics, 124(11), 115902.
  • Lei J, Yeung MT, Robinson PJ, Mohammadi R, Turner CL, Yan J, Kavner A, Alexandrova AN, Kaner RB, Tolbert SH. Understanding How Bonding Controls Strength Anisotropy in Hard Materials by Comparing the High-Pressure Behavior of Orthorhombic and Tetragonal Tungsten Monoboride. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 2018 Feb 13;122(10):5647-56.
  • Mi Z, Shieh SR, Kavner A, Kiefer B, Wenk HR, Duffy TS. Strength and texture of sodium chloride to 56 GPa. Journal of Applied Physics. 2018 Apr 7;123(13):135901.
  • Marqueño T, Santamaria-Perez D, Ruiz-Fuertes J, Chuliá-Jordán R, Jordá JL, Rey F, McGuire C, Kavner A, MacLeod S, Daisenberger D, Popescu C. An Ultrahigh CO2-Loaded Silicalite-1 Zeolite: Structural Stability and Physical Properties at High Pressures and Temperatures. Inorganic chemistry. 2018 Jun 4.
  • *McGuire, C., Santamaria-Perez+, A. Makhluf+, A. Kavner (2017), Isothermal equation of state and phase stability of Fe5Si3 up to 96 GPa and 3000 K, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 122, doi:10.1002/2017JB014136.
  • Santamaría-Pérez, D., Marqueño, T., MacLeod, S., Ruiz-Fuertes, J., Daisenberger, D., Chuliá-Jordan, R., Popescu, C. (2017). Structural Evolution of CO -Filled Pure Silica LTA Zeolite under High-Pressure High-Temperature Conditions. Chemistry of Materials. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b01158
  • Santamaria-Perez+, C. McGuire*, A. Makhluf+, A. Kavner, R. Chulia-Jordan, J.L. Jorda, F. Rey,
J. Pellicer-Porres, D. Martinez-Garcıa, P. Rodriguez-Hernandez & A. Munoz (2016) Correspondence: Strongly-driven Re + CO2 redox reaction at high-pressure and high temperature Nature Communications 7:13647 doi: 10.1038/ncomms13647.
  • Santamaria-Perez+, C. McGuire*, A. Makhluf,+ A. Kavner, R. Chulia-Jordan, J. Pellicer-Porres, D. Martinez-Garcıa, A. Doran, M. Kunz, P. Rodriguez-Hernandez & A. Munoz (2016) Exploring the chemical reactivity between carbon dioxide and three transition metals (Au, Pt, and Re) at high-pressure, high-temperature conditions Inorganic Chemistry vol. 55, 10793-10799. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b01858 .
  • Kavner and E.S.G. Rainey*, Heat Transfer in the Core and Mantle, in AGU Monograph Deep Earth: Physics and Chemistry of the Lower Mantle and Core, H. Terasaki, R. A. Fischer, eds. American Geophysical Union, 2016.
  • Palaich*, R. A. Heffern*, M. Hanfland, A. Lausi, A. Kavner, C. E. Manning, M. Merlini, High-Pressure compressibility and thermal expansion of aragonite, American Mineralogist, Vol. 101, pages 1651–1658, 2016
  • Kavner (2016), W-WO joins the electrochemical series, American Mineralogist, 101, pp. 1025–1026.
  • M. Armentrout* and A. Kavner (2015), A new high pressure and temperature equation of state of fcc cobalt, Journal of Applied Physics 118, 194904 (2015); doi: 10.1063/1.4935087.
  • Xie, M., Mohammadi, R., Turner, C. L., Kaner, R. B., Kavner, A., & Tolbert, S. H. (2015). Exploring hardness enhancement in superhard tungsten tetraboride-based solid solutions using radial X-ray diffraction. Applied Physics Letters, 107(4), 041903.
  • *Palaich, S. E., Heffern, R. A., Watenphul, A., Knight, J., & Kavner, A. (2015). High-pressure compressibility and phase stability of Mn-dolomite (kutnohorite). American Mineralogist, 100(10), 2242-2245.