Dana Donald Dlott was born in Los Angeles, CA on September 12, 1952 to Joseph and Eleanore Dlott. Joseph was a scrap iron dealer and Eleanore a housewife and mother of four. In 1955, the family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he attended Jefferson Elementary School. In 1964 they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he attended Northview Junior High and North Central High School.

In high school, Dlott’s main ambition was to get out of Indiana. In his senior year of high school, Dlott's father died at the young age of 53. Fortunately Dlott was able to finance his exit from Indiana by obtaining an academic scholarship to Columbia University. At Columbia he majored in chemistry and was particularly attracted to physical chemistry. He did undergraduate research with the late Prof. Richard Bersohn in the field of protein dynamics. He helped invent a new way of testing for the unsaturated iron-binding capacity in human blood which has never been used since. He was a member of the chess team which won the Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Tournament. He supported himself with part-time jobs, sometimes working three jobs simultaneously. On weekdays, he was a gofer in the School of Fine Arts and a laboratory technician. On weekends he directed chess tournaments.

In 1974 he entered Stanford University and he received his Ph.D. under the direction of Prof. Michael D. Fayer. This began a close relationship and productive collaboration which has lasted more than thirty years. At Stanford, he was exposed to the latest in ultrafast laser technology in the laboratory of Prof. Anthony Siegman. For his thesis project, he built a high repetition rate tunable picosecond laser system and used picosecond transient grating spectroscopy to measure the rates of electronic energy transfer in molecular crystals.

After graduation in 1979, he took a faculty position at the University of Illinois and he is currently William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor of Chemistry. At Illinois, his research first centered on the vibrational dynamics of molecular crystals. With time, his research program broadened to include laser materials interactions, biophysics, shock waves and energetic materials, as described in further detail on other pages. Besides his work in fundamental physical chemistry, including over 260 research publications, he is particularly proud of his contributions of fundamental significance in the field of high resolution imaging, for which he received awards from the Society of Imaging Science and Technology. He currently lives in Champaign, IL, with his wife Maria, and his son David.

B.S. Missouri Western State University



Alexander comes from a Champaign-sized town in northwest Missouri, where he got bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Missouri Western State University.  He was attracted to UIUC in the fall of 2015 by the fabulously flat bicycle terrain, the cross-sectionally cut NMR display in CLSL, and the fantastic chemistry PhD program.  Although officially a part of the analytical chemistry area, Alexander decided to pursue research of a more physical nature within the Dlott group when he realized that it was by far the coolest group of all.[citation needed]  Alexander studies electrode reactions using sum frequency generation (SFG) a technique which he finds to be immensely fascinating.  When not at his desk or in lab, he enjoys bicycling, reading, pickup games of Ultimate Frisbee or soccer, and tinkering with wire and magnets.  He also enjoys visiting his parents and seven siblings back in Missouri.


B.S. Texas Tech University


Belinda Pacheco is a materials chemistry graduate student in Prof. Dana Dlott’s group. Belinda graduated from Texas Tech University in 2016 where she worked with Dr. Louisa Hope-Week on the synthesis of photocatalytic materials using novel sol-gel techniques. Additionally, she worked at Los Alamos National Lab for three years specializing in materials characterization and nuclear forensics analytics.

Ph.D. Virginia Tech.(2012)

M.S. Bowling Green State University (2007)

B.S. University of Calcutta



Mithun Bhowmick is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Prof. Dana Dlott group. His research interests are focused on study of IR spectroscopy of shocked liquids to understand chemistry in extreme conditions. Prior to joining this group, he has held a faculty position in the Physics department at Nazarbayev University. His other areas of interest are Ultrafast Spectroscopy in semiconductors and semiconductor heterostructures and Opto-electronic properties of II-VI and III-V materials.

​Ph.D. Bowling Green State University (2016)

M.S. (2010) and B.S. (2008) St. Petersburg State University (Russia)



I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Prof. Dana Dlott’s Group. My research interest is focused on reactive nanomaterials, the properties of which are investigated after shock by using various types of spectroscopy, i.e. pyrometry (emission), IR and UV-vis absorbance spectroscopies.
My research is split into two projects: 1) reactivity of thermite mixture (Al and CuO) in polymer matrix (PVDF) 2) fundamental knowledge of chemical and thermal energy transfer in nano-laminate systems based on metal/metal-oxide layers.
My other area of interest is ultrafast (<35 fs) pump-probe spectroscopy of simple halogen derivatives of methane and transition metal complexes.


Ph. D. Jilin University, China (2012)

B. S. + M. S. Changchun University of Science and Technology, China (2007)



Wenhui Fang is a Visiting Scholar at Prof. Dana Dlott group. Her research interests in focused on study of energy materials. She is a faculty position in School of Science at Changchun University of Science and Technology. Her other areas of interest are Raman Spectrum of organic liquid.

Ph.D.  Nano-optics, Universite de Technologie de Troyes, France (2013)
M.S. Nano-optics, Universite de Technologie de Troyes, France (2010)
B.S. Materials Physics, Xi'an Jiaotong Univerisy, China (2009)



I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Dlott Group. My research interest is in the energy attenuated by nanoporous materials such as metal-organic framework and the chemical mechanisms during the shock energy dissipation. My other research interests and background are in surface plasmons, nano-photonics, photopolymerization, nanofabrication and photo-electrocatalysis. Just a quick answer to the question that most people will ask me while reading my bio: oui je parle Français / yes I speak French. And, I'm so glad that prof. Dlott said that I do not have a French accent...

Ph.D Jilin University, China (2010)
B.S. Changchun University of Science and Technology, China (2004)
Zhiwei Men is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Prof. Dana Dlott group. His research interests are focused on study of fast MWIR imaging of energy materials by ultrasound and drop hammer to understand “Hot spot”. He is a faculty position in College of Physics at Jilin University. His other areas of interest are Shock-induced compression and decomposition in water and organic liquid by laser-induced breakdown.

B.S. Colorado Mesa University (2015)


B.S. Southern Utah University (2012)

​B.S. University of Wisconsin at Madison (2016)


B.S. Texas Tech University (2013)



I graduated from Texas Tech University in the spring of 2013 with a BS in chemistry. At Texas Tech I worked with Dr. Louisa Hope-Weeks characterizing organic peroxide-based explosives and synthesizing novel energetic materials with high-nitrogen ligands on transition metals.

B.S. California Institute of Technology (2011)