NSF Early Career Development Award

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Caram Justin

Professor Justin Caram has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation.

“I am deeply honored that I have been selected for a Career award by NSF and am really excited to work on spectroscopy of next generation nanocrystals, and further UCLA’s unique educational mission,” Caram said. 

The CAREER Awards are NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. 

The award will support Caram in developing new spectroscopic measurement methods to study the emission of short-wave infrared light from quantum dots. Caram’s research seeks to overcome the current limitations on instrumentation and methods to study single ultratiny nanocrystals. Nanocrystals come as a non-uniform mix of particles with different sizes, shapes and structures. This mixture complicates their study and hinders their use in technologies, such as cameras and displays. Learning about single crystals will allow researchers to systematically develop uniform quantum dot materials with decreased toxicity and new functionality in the short-wave infrared — a spectral region beyond where human eyes can see. Success in conducting this research may widen the use of quantum dots in biomedical imaging, next-generation optoelectronic devices, optical communications, and solar energy conversion. 

Caram is also excited about revamping general chemistry courses through the development of learning laboratories that incorporate new pedagogical technologies to help students develop skills and motivation to continue their schooling in STEM majors after their first year in college. Along with other faculty, and support from the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS), he is helping to implement 14AE, an enhanced form of general chemistry for life-scientists.  

Caram Group
Professor Justin Caram and members of his research group.

Caram earned his A.B. degree in chemistry from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Chicago. After doing his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he joined the Chemistry faculty at UCLA in 2017. Caram is an active member of the Center for Quantum Science and Engineering (CQSE), and a faculty fellow of the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science (CDLS). 

To learn more about Caram’s research, visit his group’s website

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.