Meet Cierra DellaRova

Tell me a little about yourself!

This is my first year in the Materials Science and Engineering department with Dr. Wenpei Gao as my advisor. As for my hobbies, I like to swim, bike, run, rock climb, bake, and play with my dog. My career goals are to contribute to research in the clean energy field as I think that the climate crisis is the biggest problem of our lifetime.

I currently use the Titan and I like it because I’ve never used a transmission electron microscope before and it’s really cool to get to atomic resolution so easily. Also, I thought it was odd that my colleagues referred to it as a sentient being when I was being trained, but I’ve learned that it definitely has a mind of its own.   


What have you been researching and how is it impacting the community?

I am currently working on an ex situ heat treatment experiment to analyze the grain growth in a ceria based high entropy oxide. This research is a part of an overall project to characterize two different forms of high entropy oxides and to compare the grain growth with both ex-situ and in-situ experiments. The material is relatively new, but will hopefully have applications in energy storage. This application is important because energy storage will be vital to our energy future. 

What have you learned from your experience at AIF?

I have learned that everyone does things on the microscope in different ways, so it’s good to listen to everyone’s opinion on a procedure and use that to find what works best for you.

DFCI image of HEO oriented along the 110 direction

Best thing about AIF in 5 words or less? 

Friendly and helpful

Is there a staff member at AIF that has helped you?

Chris Winkler and Tim Eldred have helped me many times when I get stuck trying to figure out how to improve my images and will continue to be important resources as I learn more about electron microscopy.