Lasse Jensen named a Presidential Early Career Award winner

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lasse Jensen, assistant professor of chemistry in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State, has been selected by U.S. President Barack Obama and the National Science Foundation to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) "for addressing fundamental questions relevant to optical spectroscopy of bio- and nano-systems and for exemplary teaching efforts and the dissemination of computational tools to the chemistry community."

The PECASE Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists in the early stages of their careers, is "intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the 21st century." Jensen will receive the award during a ceremony at the White House.

Jensen's research focuses on developing new theoretical and computational tools for addressing important questions relevant to the optical spectroscopy of biological and nano-scale systems. He is particularly interested in understanding how enhanced Raman spectroscopy -- which uses visible light to reveal the structural properties, local interactions, and vibration frequencies of a molecule -- can selectively probe a specific subsystem of a more complex system.

Jensen also studies surface-enhanced Raman scattering, in which a metallic nanostructure can amplify the Raman signal of molecules near a metal surface over a million times. He has used theoretical methods to gain a microscopic understanding of such phenomena. This understanding has provided detailed information not directly available from experiments. It also helps to guide the direction of future experiments.

Jensen previously had been honored in 2010 with the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award is the NSF's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent teaching, and the integration of education and research. In 2005, Jensen was awarded an International Conference of Computational Methods in Sciences and Engineering (ICCMSE) young scientist prize. He received an Internalization Fellowship from the Danish Research Agency from 2000 to 2004.

Prior to joining Penn State in June of 2007 as an assistant professor of chemistry, Jensen was a research associate at Northwestern University from 2004 to 2007. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1998 and 2000, respectively, and a doctoral degree in chemistry at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands in 2004.

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Last Updated September 29, 2011