Postdoc Spotlight: Army postdoc working to lighten warfighters' load one atom at a time

May 19, 2016

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

ADELPHI, Md. (April 27, 2016) -- Working in a premier laboratory that supports his novel research endeavors, Dr. Mahesh Neupane has a passion for making a difference for warfighters on the battlefield.

An Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, more commonly referred to as ORISE, postdoctoral research fellow working in the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Macromolecular Science and Technology Branch, Neupane is currently directing his focus to two key projects that could help reduce the weight of the devices that Soldiers carry on the battlefield.

The first project is a computational study of the electronic properties of materials that can be useful as sensors and for energy storage for the extreme environment that warfighters operate in.

For his second project, Neupane is researching the conceptualization and simulations of energy efficient electronics using 2-D materials. This project could potentially be of benefit to the warfighter by providing lighter and faster electronic components for future Army needs, while reducing the overall weight of battlefield logistics.

Neupane's work falls under the laboratory's Materials Research campaign, in which the mission is to perform fundamental interdisciplinary research in materials and manufacturing science to ensure rapid and affordable development of materials, from discovery to delivery, critical to the Army of 2030.

In addition to these research projects, Neupane is involved as a liaison/scientific cognizance for the 2-D materials research for ARL's Army Research Office and reviewer for the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, a U.S. Army sponsored University Affiliated Research Center.

Neupane was led to this field of research due to his drive for materials discovery and device innovation at the atomistic level, with the hope of identifying and directing their future applications to benefit the warfighter and research community at large.

"Working at the forefront of material discovery allows me to grow as a scientist," Neupane said. "The novelty of my research at ARL has led to invited conference talks and participation and publications in reputable international conferences and journals, respectively."

Neupane noted that his success and research accomplishments would not be possible without the support of a world-class research organization such as ARL.

"ARL is a great place for my type of research because it brings together scientists from various backgrounds to accomplish a common goal, which is to advance science for the future force," Neupane said.

Neupane added that the inspiration behind his research efforts comes from the research that ARL is currently involved in, and the capability that he has to contribute to it.

"The ability and purpose to make a difference in the research being done at ARL inspires me to come to work," Neupane said. "ARL offers the mentorships, guidance and environment to learn about research that I may not have been familiar with if I was a scientist in an industrial or academic setting."

Thinking short term, Neupane hopes to be affiliated with ARL as a civilian research scientist. Long term, he would like to represent ARL on a global platform, positioning himself at the forefront of materials and device discoveries.

A native of Nepal, Neupane received a bachelor's degree in computer engineering in India. He then went on to receive his first master's degree in computer science from California State University, San Bernardino.

Neupane obtained a second master's degree and doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Riverside.

Outside the laboratory, Neupane likes to mentor future scientists.

"Since my days as a graduate student, I have been actively involved in mentoring younger scientists through programs like Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Achievement, more commonly referred to as MESA, robotics competitions and Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, or SACNAS, Science Olympiads," Neupane said.

Neupane also likes to play and watch sports with his six-year-old son, Nibodh. They are both sports fanatics and enjoy following sports, be it football, soccer, basketball and cricket.

If there is one piece of advice that he could offer to younger generations who are interested in a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, it would be: "Always dream big and think outside the box. Never be afraid to learn new concepts and explore new opportunities. It is never too late to hone new skills."

For a further look into Neupane's research, check out:

  • M. R. Neupane. Electronic and Vibrational Properties of 2D Materials from Monolayer to Bulk. Proceedings of International Workshop on Computational Electronics (IWCE), 2015 (invited), p1-2 (DOI: 10.1109/IWCE.2015.7301978)
  • M. R. Neupane, G. Garrett, S. Rudin, and J. Andzelm. Phase dependent structural andelectronic properties of Lanthanum Orthophosphate (LaPO4). Journal of Physics: Condesed Matter, 28, 20, 2016.
  • R. Elder, M. R. Neupane, and T. Chantawansri. Stacking order dependent mechanical properties of graphene/MoS2 bilayer and trilayer heterostructures. Appl. Phys. Lett, 107, 073101, 2015.
  • R. Elder, M. R. Neupane, and T. Chantawansri. Mechanical properties of homogeneous and heterogeneous layered 2D material. Proceedings of International Conference on Simulation of Semiconductor Processes and Devices (SISPAD), 2015, p471-474 (DOI: 10.1109/SISPAD.2015.7292364)

For information on ARL's Postdoctoral Research Programs and eight technical campaigns, visit and

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is the nation's premier laboratory for land forces and is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it, or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.

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Last Update / Reviewed: May 19, 2016