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Amber McCreary (Assoc)

Dr. Amber McCreary is a physicist in the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. She is a member of the Nanoscale Spectroscopy Group in the Nanoscale Device Characterization Division. Her research interests include utilizing Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopies to investigate the properties of a variety of 2D materials, including graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, transition metal phosphorus trisulfides, and transition metal halides. Currently, she is using the magneto-Raman spectroscopy setup unique to Dr. Hight Walker’s laboratory, which couples Raman spectroscopy to simultaneous magnetic field (up to 9 T), temperature (4K to 400 K), low frequency capabilities (down to 8 cm-1), tunable laser sources (VIS-NIR), device transport, and polarization tunability, to study magnetic phenomena in layered quantum materials. She is presently studying the Raman signatures of magnetic ordering in XPS3 (X=Mn, Ni, and Fe), including the appearance of new phonon modes below the Neel temperature in FePS3 due to zone folding, spin-phonon coupling, and the appearance of a magnon with unusual symmetry behaviors. In addition, she is also probing magnetic phenomena in a 2D ferromagnetic material, CrI3. The overall goal of her research is to develop methods to use Raman spectroscopy, which is non-destructive and extremely sensitive to minute changes in a material, to investigate magnetism in quantum materials, as well as facilitate their use in future generation electronics.

During her time at NIST, Amber has also worked closely with collaborators in the Material Measurement Laboratory to develop a method to use Raman spectroscopy and imaging to visualize agglomerates of graphene nanoflakes in fiber-reinforced polymer composites. She also is passionate about encouraging young women in STEM, and has participated in various outreach and volunteer programs. 

Google Scholar


  • “Most Outstanding Poster” for Engineering Physics Category. Sigma Xi Postdoc Poster Presentation, NIST, 2019.
  • 2018 DMP Post-Doctoral Travel Grant Award, American Physical Society Division of Materials Physics, 2018.
  • National Research Council (NRC) Research Associateship for Postdoctoral Studies, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2017-2019.
  • Eberly College of Science Climate and Diversity Award, The Pennsylvania State University, Awarded to the officers of the Physics and Astronomy for Women (PAW) group, 2016.
  • “Outstanding Technical Poster Presentation,” Army Research Laboratory Computational and Information Sciences Directorate Technical Assessment Board, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 2015.
  • W. Donald Miller Graduate Fellowship, Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015.
  • David C. Duncan Graduate Fellowship in Physics, The Pennsylvania State University, 2014.
  • “Poster Prize of 200 euros,” The Fourteenth International Conference on the Science and Application of Nanotubes, Helsinki Finland, 2013.
  • “Second Place Poster Prize in the Physical Sciences and Mathematics Category,” CarbonEARTH, The Pennsylvania State University, 2013.
  • Materials Research Institute (MRI) Fellowship, The Pennsylvania State University, 2012-2013.
  • Graduated with Highest Honors, University of Pittsburgh, 2011.
  • Merit Scholarship, University of Pittsburgh, 2007-2011.
  • Dean’s List, University of Pittsburgh, 2007-2011.
  • Maxine and William Block Scholarship, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2007-2009.


Distinct magneto-Raman signatures of spin-flip phase transitions in CrI3

Amber D. McCreary, Thuc T. Mai, Franz Utermohlen, Jeffrey R. Simpson, Kevin F. Garrity, Xiaozhou Feng, Dmitry Shcherbakov, Yanglin Zhu, Jin Hu, Daniel Weber, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, Joshua Goldberger, Zhiqiang Mao, Chun Ning Lau, Yuanming Lu, Nandini Trivedi, Rolando Valdes Aguilar, Angela R. Hight Walker
The discovery of 2-dimensional (2D) materials, such as CrI3, that retain magnetic ordering down to monolayer thickness, and even more have layer-dependent
Created March 26, 2019, Updated June 15, 2021