The Michigan Engineer News Center

New Faculty: Scott Baalrud

Scott Baalrud will join NERS as an associate professor in January 2021| Short Read
EnlargePortrait of Scott Baalrud
IMAGE:  Scott Baalrud

Associate Professor Scott Baalrud will join the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences on January 1, 2021. Baalrud’s research concerns the theoretical foundations of plasma physics, with a focus on kinetic theory. It connects with several applications, including high energy density plasmas, low temperature plasmas, and magnetic reconnection.

Baalrud is currently an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Iowa. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, receiving B.S. degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Mathematics (2006), followed by a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics (2010). Baalrud was a DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New Hampshire and a Feynman Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

Baalrud’s research and teaching accomplishments have been acknowledged by the Hershkowitz Early Career Award (2018), the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Mentor Award (2016), and Early Career Scholar of the Year Award (2017). He is actively engaged in the APS Division of Plasma Physics, having served as a co-chair of the APS-DPP community planning process, as member at large of the executive committee, as topical group chair of the program committee, as chair of the Dawson prize committee, and as a member of the fellowship selection committee. Recently, Baalrud was awarded the “Thomas H. Stix Award” from the American Physical Society.

Portrait of Scott Baalrud
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Sara Norman

Michigan Engineering

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read