Vassilia Zorba

Group Leader & Senior Scientist

Dr. Vassilia Zorba is a Physicist Senior Scientist and Group Leader for the Laser Technologies Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley CA. She is also an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Zorba’s research interests include ultrafast laser-material interactions, non-linear optics, remote sensing, laser-induced plasma chemistry, and laser ablation-based chemical analysis in electrochemical energy storage, with emphasis on next-generation Li-ion batteries. Her work also focuses on high-throughput materials discovery through femtosecond laser processing and biomimetic material functionalization. Dr. Zorba’s credits include 92 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 60 invited talks and a 2011 R&D 100 Technology Award. She is a Fellow of Optica and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2024, Dr. Zorba was included in The Photonics100 list as one of the most innovative people in photonics.

Richard Russo

Affiliate Scientist

Dr. Rick Russo (retired senior scientist) is an affiliate in the Laser Technologies Group at LBNL, and also is the Executive Chairman of Applied Spectra, Inc. His interests are in laser ablation chemical analysis, spanning fundamental research to commercialization. This technology and instruments have been adopted by DOE National Laboratories, government stakeholders, academia and industry for elemental and isotopic analysis. He is the co-inventor of the nanowire laser and ion texturing process that produced world record High Temperature Superconductor thin films. His most recent work is the discovery of LAMIS for measuring isotope ratios in atmospheric pressure plasmas. Applied Spectra has become a world leader for analytical spectroscopic instruments addressing applications of laser ablation spectrochemical analysis based on LIBS and ICP-MS.His credits include numerous awards and over 300 scientific publications.

Xianglei Mao

Research Scientist

Dr. Xianglei Mao is a Research Physicist at LBNL with 25+ years’ experience in laser ablation and laser-based chemical analysis. His research focuses on fundamental mechanisms of laser-material interactions and their use in the development of laser based spectroscopic techniques, laser-induced plasma chemistry, and laser ablation-based chemical analysis. His current research activities include femtosecond laser filamentation, laser ablation molecular isotopic spectroscopy, analytical atomic spectrometry, laser spectroscopy, plasma diagnostics, and data processing techniques. Dr. Mao has more than 150 scientific publications, and was a co-recipient of a FACSS Innovation Award (2011) and a R&D 100 Award (2012).

George Chan

Research Scientist

Dr. George Chan is a research chemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Prior to joining LBNL in 2012, he was an Assistant Scientist on the research faculty in the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University.  He received a Ph.D. degree in Analytical Chemistry under the mentorship of Prof. Gary Hieftje at Indiana University in 2007. His research interests and expertise are in analytical chemical measurement and instrumentation, with emphasis on the use, characterization and understanding the basic fundamental processes, and further development and improvement of various plasma-based spectroscopies in modern multidisciplinary research. His current research activity revolves around chemical elemental and isotopic analysis; in particular, analytical atomic spectrometry, laser spectroscopy, plasma diagnostics, data processing techniques, and optical isotopic analysis with laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and laser ablation molecular isotopic spectrometry (LAMIS).

Jhanis Gonzalez

Principal Scientific Associate

Dr. Jhanis J. Gonzalez obtained his PhD degree in Chemistry from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2002, after which he spent two years as a post-doc researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA). Since 2004 he is a Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley. CA. USA. and the Technical Director and Product R&D Management, Applied Spectra, Inc. Fremont. CA. USA. His research focuses on understanding mechanisms of laser-material interactions (ablation) using nanosecond and femtosecond pulsed lasers and their impacts on LIBS and all platforms of ICP-MS systems. He also is involved in the development of analytical methods for applications in energy, environmental, geochemistry, biological and metallurgy industries. Dr. Gonzalez has over 60 manuscripts published in peer review journals, more than 50 presentations and invited lectures at national and international conferences.

Jose Chirinos

Project Scientist

Dr. Jose Chirinos is a Chemist Project Scientist at the Laser Technologies Group. Prior to LBNL he was an Analytical Chemistry Professor and Former Director of the Graduate Student Program in Chemistry at Universidad Central de Venezuela. He has more than 25 years of experience in atomic spectroscopy  focused on the optimization of new methods for the analysis of petroleum, environmental, geological, and biological samples using ICP-OES/ICP-MS. His publications involve the optimization of new sample pre-treatments, design of micro-nebulizers and hydride generation devices and optimization of  GC-ICP OES, HPLC-ICP-OES  and laser ablation setups. 

Minok Park

Project Scientist

Dr. Minok Park is a Project Scientist in the Laser Technologies Group. He received B.S. degree from Hanyang University in 2015, and M.S. in 2016 and Ph.D. in 2021 from UC Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral researcher at LBNL from 2022-2023. His research areas focus on the laser induced crystallization/annealing, pump and probe diagnostics, and laser induced ablation dynamics probing by time-resolved emission and scattering spectroscopy. 

Oropeza, Dayana

Dayana Oropeza

Senior Research Associate

Dayana Oropeza graduated with a Bachelor degree in Chemistry (Minor: Chemical Engineering) from The Central University of Venezuela in 2003. She has worked as an Assistant Researcher and now as a Senior Research Associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the past 11 years. She has been involved in several and diverse research projects including performing sample preparation of archeological samples:for posterior analysis with Neutron Activation Analysis and X-ray Diffraction, characterization of materials for rechargeable lithium batteries by Brunauer, Emmet and Teller and Particle Size Analysis, and currently her research focuses on the use of laser ablation as a tool for direct solid sample analysis by Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, Laser Ablation-Based Mass Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, and Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy. Ms. Oropeza  supports staff-members, students and visiting scientist sin their research endeavors. She has contributed to many of the peer review publications, presentations, and posters in national and international conferences.

Sung-Uk Choi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Sung-Uk Choi is a postdoctoral researcher for the Laser Technologies Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2023. Before joining Berkeley Lab, he served as a senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) for a year. His research primarily focuses on laser spectroscopy for real-time and in-situ detection of isotopes.



Kristofer Meehan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kristofer Meehan is a postdoctoral research associate at Berkeley Lab, joining the Laser Technologies Group in 2024. Kris received his PhD from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University in 2023, where he studied nanosecond pulsed atmospheric pressure plasmas and advanced laser diagnostics for aeronautical flow control applications. His research interests are in the areas of nonlinear optics, gas discharge physics, and plasma diagnostics with applications to energy and the environment.



Veronica Bradley

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Veronica Bradley is a Darleane C. Hoffman Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  She received a PhD in Radiochemistry from the University of Missouri in 2022,  where she studied methods for the rapid analysis of post-detonation nuclear debris. from 2022-2023 she was a postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, focusing on the development of novel sample introduction techniques for ICP-MS analysis.  Her research interests include method development for the isotopic analysis of nuclear materials, and laser-based sampling regimes for ICP-MS measurements.


Saurabh Awasthi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Saurabh Awasthi is a postdoctoral scholar at Berkeley Lab, joining the Laser Technologies Group in 2024. Prior to joining Berkeley Lab, he held a position as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Connecticut. Saurabh earned his PhD in Physics from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, in 2021. His research focuses on Ultrafast laser material processing, femtosecond laser matter interaction, laser pulse patterning and fabrication


Trisha Bhagde

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Trisha Bhagde is a postdoctoral researcher for the Laser Technologies Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She recently received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include obtaining electronic and vibrational spectra of atmospherically relevant species, and understanding the kinetics involved in the unimolecular dissociation pathways of these photo-excited species using various spectroscopic techniques. 


Yueran (Ruby) Gu

UC Berkeley Graduate Student Researcher

Yueran (Ruby) Gu is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. She received B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Irvine in 2020. Her research areas focus on the laser-material interaction in the femtosecond time regime, using laser ablation methods for materials processing to improve material surface properties for electrochemical storage applications. 


Boyu Zhang

UC Berkeley Graduate Student Researcher

Boyu Zhang is a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. He received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2021. His major is Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) and his research areas focus on the use of tailored laser beam for remote sensing and particle trapping.



Changmin Kim

UC Berkeley Graduate Student Researcher

Changmin Kim is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. He received B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2021 from Seoul National University where he focused researching on fluidics and heat transfer. Currently, his research areas involve laser-ablation and filamentation techniques.


Jake Carter

UC Berkeley Graduate Student Researcher

Jake Carter is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley with a concentration in Energy Science and Technology. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Central Florida and performed research at the Interfacial Transport Lab and at the Air Force Research Lab. His past research directions include optical characterization of thermal systems, cryobiology, and various methods of micro- to nano- scale manufacture for nonlinear optical devices and surface functionalization. He intends to investigate laser-based manufacturing methods for functionalizing surfaces.



Zach Alvidrez

UC Berkeley Graduate Student Researcher

Zach Alvidrez is a UC Berkeley graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. He holds a B.S in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. His previous research experience was a computational study of inverted core-shell quantum dots through the University of Washington. During his  undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley he also worked as a student assistant at LBNL focusing on laser-based optical detection of isotopes, and direct dissociation routes of CO2 for carbon negative technologies. Currently his research areas involve isotopic analysis of actinides and photon-based negative emission technologies. 

Vasileios Korakis

UC Berkeley Graduate Student Researcher

Vasileios Korakis is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley with an interest in laser matter interaction and laser processes. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, with a final thesis on laser ultrasonics. His research now focuses on laser ablation, filamentation, and air lasing.

Kyle Ito

UC Berkeley Undergraduate Student

.Kyle Ito is a third-year undergraduate at UC Berkeley studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in EECS. He is interested in laser-based surface functionalization for practical purposes. Following his undergrad, he is interested in pursuing a masters degree and starting his career in the aerospace or automotive industries.



David Cerny

UC Berkeley Undergraduate Student

David Cerny is a second year undergraduate at UC Berkeley studying Nuclear Engineering with a minor in EECS. He is interested in investigating the behavior and properties of plasmas, hoping to eventually cultivate a career in plasma research for the purposes of fusion reactor development.