LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Award

Kenneth Lopata

Assistant Professor Kenneth Lopata

Dr Lopata is an expert at simulating the motion of electrons during, and immediately following, the interaction of matter with high energy (and/or intensity) light.  The Lopata Group has developed time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) methods and computer code to simulate attosecond dynamics processes from first principles.  In addition to method development, he also seeks to apply them to a range of projects, e.g., strong field ionization, charge migration in molecules, coupled metal/molecular interactions, transient electronic response of insulators and laser-induced damage in materials.  The insights afforded by Lopata’s simulations are one step ahead of the drive toward higher resolution of experimental measurements.

His resume catalogs a total of 28 publications, with 8 already from his independent work at LSU:  2015 (2), 2016 (3) and 2017 (3).  Momentum is increasing and most of these publications are in high impact factor journals published by the American Chemical Society (ACS).  Of particular note are (with 2016 impact factors in parentheses):  three articles in the Journal of Chemical Computation and Theory (5.254), one in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C (4.536), and a recent communication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (9.353).

In August of 2017, Ken “hit the jackpot” when he was named a 2017 “Selectee” of  the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Early Career Program. With his proposal titled, “First Principles Tools for Nonadiabatic Attosecond Dynamics in Materials,” Lopata was awarded $750,000 over five years.  This is the first time that an LSU faculty member has received this prestigious honor.