William Palfey


About me

I am a PhD candidate at Caltech studying mineralogy in the lab of Professor George Rossman. Mineralogy intersects with many other disciplines including materials science, inorganic chemistry, solid-state physics, among others. As a result, my research often crosses into other fields.

I study hydrogen in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs), so called because the hydrogen they contain is in the form of defects. These hydrogen defects are important for a multitude of reasons, most notably because they encompass the majority of earth's hydrogen. Even in trace concentrations, hydrogen also tends to affect a surprising number of properties in crystalline materials, ranging from conductivity, to plasticity, to color. I use a variety of methods to study hydrogen defects, including laboratory techniques like infrared spectroscopy and ab initio techniques like density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The materials I work with range from pure, synthetic crystals to minerals collected directly from the field.