Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Glenn Waychunas

Glenn Waychunas

Glenn Waychunas

Senior Scientist

Group Leader, Molecular Geochemistry & Nanogeoscience

Geochemistry Department






Phone: 510-495-2224

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Glenn became interested in mineral structure and crystal chemistry while in graduate school at UCLA where he did Mössbauer, optical spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction on the detailed structure of oxide solid solutions for his thesis (Advisor Wayne Dollase).  Arriving at Stanford’s Center for Materials Research in 1978 as staff scientist, he soon started doing some of the first mineralogical synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy at SSRL in collaboration with Gordon Brown.  Early studies broke ground in terms of soft-x-ray spectroscopy on the Al, Mg and Na K-edges in glasses and silicate minerals, and the structure of network-modifying ions in silicate melts. Later this work involved arsenate uptake on ferrihydrite and other oxides, for which he is well known, in collaboration with Jim Davis and colleagues at the USGS.  These early sorption studies helped to inspire the development of mineral-water interface investigations at the (then new) APS synchrotron, notably at the GSECARS beamlines where Glenn was on the development team, including some of the first surface x-ray scattering measurements of oxide interfaces with water present.  Glenn came to LBNL/ESD in 1997, and extended these studies with UHV characterization of solid interfaces, and structure refinements of the wet hematite, corundum and goethite surfaces.  More recently, in cooperation with Ron Shen in the physics department at UC Berkeley, Glenn has been using non-linear optical measurements to help describe the hydroxyl and water part of the mineral-water interface.  The goal is to create a complete picture of the interface region, including the water structure, as a function of pH and solution chemistry.

The interface work coincides with an interest in natural nanoparticles, the structure of which is often affected by interfacial interactions, and poorly crystalline solids.  Together with Jill Banfield, Glenn helped form the Berkeley Nanogeoscience Center in 2005 to study nanoparticle structure, formation, aggregation and transformations.  With colleagues Ben Gilbert, Heng Zhang and numerous postdocs and visitors, the center has produced important studies on ZnS, Fe oxide, TiO2, UO2 and several other types of nanoparticles.  Work on the structural nature of amorphous carbonate phases and their “solid solutions”, and carbonate nucleation processes, is currently ongoing as part of the ESD EFRC dedicated to carbon sequestration processes.

Glenn has authored or coauthored over 160 publications and his work has been cited more than 5000 times.  He is a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, is currently chair of the SSRL Scientific Advisory Committee, and sits on several other national and international scientific advisory committees.

Research Interests

Application of synchrotron radiation-based spectroscopy and scattering methods to problems in geochemistry, environmental chemistry and mineral-water interface chemistry;

X-ray scattering studies of atomic arrangements in amorphous materials, nanoparticles, surfaces, and wet interfaces;

Non-linear optical spectroscopy of interface molecular, electronic and water structure;

Computer modeling of crystal structures, solid solutions, crystal surfaces and surface water structure; calculation of x-ray and related spectra of materials;

Nucleation phenomena and topology; kinetics of precipitation processes at mineral surfaces;

Luminescence and electronic properties of solids and interfaces.


  • B.A. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Major:  Chemistry, Minors:  Geology, Mathematics

    Honors:  Dean's List four years; Magna cum Laude; Chemistry dept.highest honors

  • Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles

    Major:  Geochemistry,  Minors: Materials Science, Physical Chemistry

    Honors: Neumann Fellowship; University Fellowship

    Thesis Advisor:  Prof. Wayne A. Dollase

    Thesis:  Detailed atomic structure of oxide solid solutions

Professional Experience

  • 2007-present: Senior Staff Scientist, ESD Geochemistry Dept., LBNL
  • 11/3/97-3/2007:  Staff Scientist, ESD, Geochemistry Dept., LBNL
  • 2007-12, member Scientific Advisory Committee, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 2008-2012, chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, Stanford University
  • 2011-present, PI BES Theoretical and Experimental Geochemistry Program, LBNL ESD
  • 2008-present, PI Nanogeoscience program, LBNL ESD
  • 2000-present, Molecular Geochemistry and Nanogeoscience group leader
  • 2009-2012 Proposal Review Board, Canadian Light Source; Chair 2010-2012
  • 2003-04 Co-chair Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory Users Organization Executive Committee (SSRLUOEC); 2004-05 Chair of  SSRLUOEC
  • 2005-2009 Proposal review panel Advanced Light Source
  • 2005; 2009-2010 Search Committee for SSRL director, SLAC ALD
  • 2008-present Professional Staffing Committee, ESD, LBNL
  • 2007 Lytle award; Spicer award committees, Stanford University SSRL
  • 2005-6, Organization committee for XAFS XV International Meeting
  • 2001 DOE NABIR Proposal evaluation panel
  • 2007 DOE ERSP Proposal evaluation panel
  • 2001-04, Committee on Short Courses, MSA; Chair 2003-2004
  • 2002-present, Editorial Board, International Journal of Nanotechnology
  • 2002, Short Course Lecturer Mineralogical Society of America (Luminescence of Apatite; Grazing incidence methods in synchrotron x-ray spectroscopy)
  • 2000, Award for Excellence in Editing, American Mineralogist, MSA
  • 1989-93; 1997-2001, Associate Editor, American Mineralogist, MSA
  • 1990-present, Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America
  • 1999-present, member, G.T. Seaborg Transuranic Institute, Chemical Sciences Division, LBNL
  • 2001, Short Course Lecturer Mineralogical Society of America (Structural characterization of Nanomaterials)
  • 1998, Kraus Crystallographic Award Committee, MSA
  • 1994-98, Member of CARS (Consortium for advanced radiation sources, University of Chicago) Board of Governors
  • 1998-present, GSECARS steering committee member
  • 1999 Organization Committee for ALS Users meeting
  • 1998-present, charter member, Envirosync organization
  • 1982-97: Director of X-ray diffraction/spectroscopy laboratory, Center for Materials Research (CMR), Stanford University, Stanford, California.
  • 1982-97, Senior Research Scientist, School of Engineering, Stanford University
  • 1994-96, Chair of Geosync organization, AGU; Charter member Geosync
  • 1996-99, At-large representative, Geosync organization
  • 1980-92, Center for Materials Research, Stanford University, Central Facilities Committee
  • 1994-2000, Design team leader, x-ray spectroscopy, GSECARS, APS
  • 1984-98, Lecturer, Stanford University
  • 1991, Short Course Lecturer Mineralogical Society of America (Spectroscopic/Mathematical methods)
  • 1988, Short Course Lecturer Mineralogical Society of America (X-ray Spectroscopy)
  • 1989-1990, Committee on Committees, MSA
  • 1983, 1987, Review Committee for GSA/MSA abstracts, GSA National Meeting
  • 4/89-7/89 Guest Professor at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut (Universität Bayreuth, Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 1984;1993, Ph.D. Orals Examination Committee, Materials Science and Engineering Dept.
  • Stanford University; Acting Prof. Stanford University School of Engineering.

Professional Societies

  • Mineralogical Society of America (MSA)  
    • Member since 1970; Fellow 1990-present; Associate Editor of American Mineralogist, 1989-1993; 1997-2001; Review committee for GSA/MSA abstracts GSA fall meeting, 1987, 1983;  Member committee on committees, 1989-1990; Kraus Crystallographic Award committee, 1998-99; Short course committee, 2001-2004 (Chair 2004).
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)  1999-present
  • Geochemical Society (GS) 2007-present
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
    • Geosync Organization (chair 1994-1996; At-large Rep. 1996-1999)
  • Envirosync Organization, 1998-present

Courses Taught

  • Materials Science and Engineering 180  Stanford University  "Atomic Arrangements in Solids"
  • Mathematical crystallography, inorganic and metallic structures, crystal chemistry, X-ray and electron diffraction.
  • Geology 360 (with G.E. Brown, Jr., J. Stebbins) Stanford University "Seminar in Spectroscopy of Silicates and Oxides"  Introduction to condensed matter spectroscopy including NMR, Mössbauer, Visible/IR, EXAFS and XANES and other techniques.
  • Civil Engineering 373 (with G. Redden and J. Leckie) Stanford University  "Advanced Topics in Aquatic Interfacial Geochemistry"  Multidisciplinary seminar in recent developments and ground-breaking concepts in interfacial geochemistry.