UCLA materials science and engineering doctoral student Yuan Lin will spend the 2015-16 academic year conducting research at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (UPMC) and at a photonics and nanostructures lab in in Paris thanks to a fellowship offered through the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Chateaubriand Fellowships in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Health aim to “initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships or joint projects between French and American research teams,” according to the Office of Science and Technology at the French Embassy. This year 43 doctoral students across the United States received a Chateubriand STEM fellowship.

Lin is entering her third year of graduate study under her advisor Ioanna Kakoulli, associate professor of materials science and engineering, and chair of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Interdepartmental Program.

Lin’s research is in ancient Egyptian and Chinese man-made ceramic blue pigments. Lin is reconstructing their production technology of and designing new nanocomposites based on these two pigments, exploring turning the chemical compounds that make those pigments into nanosheets – thin layers only a few atoms in thickness –as they have luminescent properties with applications in optical imaging technologies.

She first took interest in the science of color after a middle-school visit to the Terracotta Army of the first emperor of China, a famous archeological site in Xi’an. Though now bereft of their original color, the warriors and horses were very brightly painted.

Lin will conduct part of her Ph.D. research project on Egyptian blue and Chinese blue at the Laboratoire d’Archéologie Moléculaire et Structurale at UPMC under the supervision of its director Philippe Walter, and in collaboration with researcher Gilles Patriarche at the Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures, which is part of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Following a B.S. in chemistry from UC Berkeley, Lin worked for two years as an R&D lab technician at Behr Process Corp. in Santa Ana before enrolling at UCLA for graduate study.