UNLV physicist Ashkan Salamat was one of just 46 university professors nationwide – and the first from UNLV – to earn an Early Career Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science.
Each year, the DOE selects rising researchers from the nation’s national labs and universities for the competitive award. The program, now in its 10th year, comes with significant funding to bolster financial support for exceptional talent during crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.
Salamat’s research focuses on identifying the precise makeup of metal superhydrides – extremely hydrogen-rich materials – and techniques to readily synthesize them. The discovery of metal superhydrides may provide an efficient means of storing and recovering energy on demand, as well as a method for transferring energy over long distances.
"I am hoping these studies will provide the understanding on how to readily make these fascinating, new materials and to change the way energy is stored and transported," Salamat said. "This award will allow me to build a team and to focus on some of the most important questions in physics."
As part of the Early Career Award Program, Salamat will receive approximately $150,000 annually over the next five years to build his research program.
“Supporting our nation’s most talented and creative researchers in their early career years is crucial to building America’s scientific workforce and sustaining America’s culture of innovation,” said Rick Perry, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, in a release. “We congratulate these young researchers on their significant accomplishments to date and look forward to their achievements in the years ahead.”
Salamat joined UNLV in 2015 and is currently an assistant professor in the university’s department of physics and astronomy. He is also a part of UNLV’s High Pressure Science and Engineering Center, a multidisciplinary group that explores fundamental experimental, computational, and engineering problems of materials under high pressure.