Q&A with Xiaofeng Guo

An emerging expert in nuclear thermodynamics, Assistant Professor Xiaofeng Guo recently received an NSF CAREER award as well as an Early Career Achievement award from the WSU College of Arts and Sciences.

His research focuses on materials critically important to the nuclear fuel cycle and the safe long-term storage of nuclear waste. His unique thermodynamic techniques are applicable to many fields and he regularly contributes to natural geologic systems, chemical engineering, and other complex interdisciplinary questions.

What brought you to WSU Pullman?

I joined the Department of Chemistry in 2018 because I like the strength of WSU in nuclear chemistry research, and that brought me here after my postdoctoral research work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where I was a Seaborg Fellow. I earned my PhD in chemistry at the University of California, Davis in 2014.

What is your main research topic?

Thermodynamics and structures of lanthanide and actinide materials, for the applications in nuclear fuel, nuclear waste form, and critical metal mineralization. In my research lab, we study materials by probing their structural changes and energetic landscapes under (extreme) conditions, via synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering, X-ray spectroscopy, ultrasonic spectroscopy, and advanced calorimetry.

What classes do you regularly teach at WSU Pullman?

Chemistry 105: Principles of Chemistry I, and two graduate courses in advanced physical chemistry.

How has COVID-19 changed how you teach?

From the positive side, hybrid modes were brought into class which we kept adopting in this spring with in-person teaching.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I’m a casual marathon runner. I prefer now half-marathons, used to run full, but that was too much for me. Because of COVID and injuries, I stopped doing this for a while, but will pick that up again later this year.

I also collect minerals of all different kinds: garnet, zircon, dioptase, tourmaline, perovskite, xenotime, vanadinite, and others.

Top image: Xiaofeng Guo in his WSU research laboratory (photo from WSU Pullman Facebook).

Adapted from the #FacultyFriday series on the WSU Pullman Facebook page.