Rick Russo

Rick Russo

(510) 486-4258


Dr. Rick E. Russo has studied fundamental properties of laser material interactions and related applications for over 25 years. Dr. Russo earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry at the University of Florida (1976), and received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indiana University (1981), where he also completed his postdoctoral studies. Since 1982, he has held various positions at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, where he is currently a Senior Scientist. His background includes experience with state-of-the-art lasers, spectroscopic instrumentation, imaging systems, computers, and electronics. His research has included: fundamental studies of laser heating and laser ablation processes; improved chemical analysis using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; study and fabrication of high-temperature superconductor (HTSC) thin-films; fiber sensors for monitoring organic and radioactive species in groundwater; Raman, fluorescence, and photothermal spectroscopy of rare-earth and actinide ions; acoustic monitoring with optical fibers (laser ultrasonics, non-destructive evaluation); and the fabrication of porous optical materials (aerogels). He is co-inventor of the ion-assisted pulsed laser deposition (IBAD) and ion-texturing (ITEX) processes, and holds the world record for the highest critical current density (Jc) HTSC film on polycrystalline substrate (1992). Dr. Russo is co-discoverer of the nanowire laser, highlighted by a Science article and patent application in 2002. His credits include 200 scientific publications; 48 proceedings; 176 presentations (91 invited and plenary); 10 book chapters, 9 patents, and R&D100 award in 2006.


2017 The Berkeley Lab Prize: Lifetime Achievement Award -  February 08th 2018

In recognition of life‐long leadership and innovation in the area of laser science and technology, groundbreaking contributions that transformed the field of analytical chemistry, and for 35 years of dedicated service to the Lab.

Spectrochimica Acta Atomic Spectroscopy Award -  December 01st 2014

Richard Russo, Arnab Sarkar, Xianglei Mao, and George Chan were selected to receive the 2013 Elsevier/Spectrochimica Acta Atomic Spectroscopy Award, honoring the most significant article of the year published in the journal Spectrochimica Acta Part B.

2011 Elsevier/Spectrochimica Acta Atomic Spectroscopy Award -  February 27th 2013

Richard Russo, Xianglei Mao, Dale Perry and Inhee Choi of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division, and their co-workers at other institutions named below, received the 2011 Elsevier/Spectrochimica Acta Atomic Spectroscopy Award for a series of three papers focused on a novel approach of performing accurate isotopic analysis called Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry (LAMIS). LAMIS, which was developed by Russo and co-workers, represents a joint effort of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (University of California, Berkeley), Applied Spectra, Inc. (Fremont, CA) and NASA-Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, CA).

The group of papers selected for the Award is the following:

R.E. Russo, A.A. Bol'shakov, X. Mao, C.P. McKay, D.L. Perry, O. Sorkhabi. "Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry." Spectrochim. Acta Part B 66 (2011) 99–104.

X. Mao, A.A. Bol'shakov, D.L. Perry, O. Sorkhabi, R.E. Russo. "Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry: Parameter influence on boron isotope measurements." Spectrochim. Acta Part B 66 (2011) 604–609.

X. Mao, A.A. Bol'shakov, I. Choi, C.P. McKay, D.L. Perry, O. Sorkhabi, R.E. Russo. "Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry: Strontium and its isotopes." Spectrochim. Acta Part B 66 (2011) 767–775.

Lester W. Strock Award -  February 25th 2013

The Lester W. Strock Award is given by the New England Section of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy in recognition of a selected publication of substantive research in/or application of analytical atomic spectrochemistry in the fields of earth science, life sciences, or stellar and cosmic sciences.

Richard E. Russo, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory President & CEO, Applied Spectra, Inc. Russo is the founder and scientific director of the laser spectroscopy and materials group Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His group pioneered the development of nanosecond and femtosecond pulsed laser ablation for chemical analysis, a 30 year contribution to fundamental and applied research. He is co-inventor of the nanowire and developer of a real-time standoff laser ultrasonic sensor (R&D100 2006). Most recently, his Berkeley research, with the assistance of Applied Spectra staff, demonstrated and patented the use of laser plasmas for real-time measurement of isotopes. The new technology named LAMIS (Laser Molecular Isotopic Spectroscopy) won a 2012 R&D100 Award, FACSS/SCiX Innovation and Spectrochimica Acta paper of the year for 2012. Russo has over 240 scientific publications; 45 refereed proceedings; 310 (215 Invited) presentations, 9 book chapters. Dr. Russo also is founder and president of Applied Spectra, Inc. (ASI).

2012 R&D 100 to Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry -  June 20th 2012

LAMIS, which stands for Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry, focuses the energy of a high-powered laser beam to a tiny spot on the surface of a sample to create a plasma plume for analysis. Each species of atoms or ions in the plasma will emit light with signature spectral emission peaks that can be measured to identify the specific isotopes of a chemical element within. LAMIS offers a green chemistry alternative to existing mass spectrometry techniques that is faster, less expensive and can be carried out from across vast distances.

2006 R&D 100 -  July 05th 2006

For the Laser Ultrasonic Sensor, a sensor and control system to ensure optimum paper quality and efficient use of trees, chemicals, and energy by measuring stiffness and shear strength as paper speeds through the production web.