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Jon Camden, a UT assistant professor of analytical chemistry has received a National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for his work in surface nonlinear spectroscopy.

The CAREER award is NSF’s most prestigious honor for junior faculty who demonstrate outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Camden’s award includes a five-year $600,000 grant beginning July 15 to support his research and educational activities.

“The Department of Chemistry is very excited that Professor Camden has been chosen for this well-deserved recognition,” said Charles Feigerle, department head. “Professor Camden has already made a significant impact on the department through his nationally recognized research and his excellence and enthusiasm for teaching at all levels.”

“The CAREER recognizes the potential of our research to be transformative and to integrate our research mission with education,” said Camden. “This award will have a major impact on our efforts.”

Camden group’s will pursue detailed comparisons between experiment and theory. Funding will be used to develop surface nonlinear spectroscopy as an analytical method for probing the two-photon properties of molecules, surface adsorbate structure and ultrasensitive detection. While fundamental in nature, the work will give the team new methods for ultrasensitive detection that can be used in bio-imaging studies and energy applications.

“Our research explores how molecules adsorbed on nanoparticles scatter light, and it provides much needed experiments for the benchmarking of new theoretical methods of calculating nonlinear molecular properties.” Camden said. “It also has the potential to impact a wide range of practical applications, such as catalysis and renewable energy production.”

Camden’s group is also seeking to increase the number of high school students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors in college. In collaboration with Debbie Sayers, a chemistry teacher at Hardin Valley Academy, Camden and his group will provide curricular enrichment to local public high schools through the creation of ASPIRE teams (Aspiring Scientists Participating in Research and Education). ASPIRE teams will deliver hands-on laboratory experiments to local high school class rooms once a month during the regular school year.