Meet the Merlo Lab Team!

Top row: Luke Thatcher, Charlotte Rhoads, Juan Merlo. Bottom row: Eriche Gonzales, Madeleine Carhart, Sarah Ziegler, Celia Morral.


Juan M. Merlo-Ramírez is an assistant professor of physics in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Vassar College. He has a Ph.D. in optics from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics, and Electronics in Puebla, Mexico. His research focuses on near-field microscopy, plasmonics, and more recently in topological phases of matter in classical systems. Juan is also interested in the dissemination of scientific knowledge by science books for kids.




Madeleine Carhart is a Physics major with correlates in math and music theory. In the lab, she is currently working on sputtering aluminum onto substrates which will then have 2D materials and gold crystals deposited on them. Madeleine is also learning how to use the AFM and the sputtering system, among others.






Eriche Gonzales is a senior physics & astronomy major at Vassar College. She is from Las Vegas, Nevada. Her project in the lab focuses on the fabrication of heterogenous structures of 2D materials.







Celia Morral is a physics major with math and computer science correlates. She is from Chevy Chase, Maryland. This semester, she is using atomic force microscopes to characterize 2D materials.







Charlotte Rhoads is a senior Environmental Studies Major with correlates in Math and Spanish. She is currently working on synthesizing gold crystals as a platform for plasmonics applications. She also works supporting other projects in the lab (like assembling and launching this website).





Luke Thatcher is a senior physics and math double major from Scarborough, Maine. He is currently working on constructing a 3D-printed mechanical model of a two-dimensional topological insulator to demonstrate edge and corner modes using vibrations in the structure.





Sarah Ziegler is a senior Physics and Economics major. She is working with Celia Morral to optimize AFM use in the lab and to aid in characterizing materials with the AFM.