He received his bachelor's in chemistry from Reed College in 1990, and his doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University in 1996. He specializes in multi-disciplinary problem solving in the physical sciences and their corresponding engineering disciplines. Over his 22-year research and development (R&D) career, he has developed expertise in physical chemistry, chemical kinetics, atmospheric chemistry, instrumentation, electronics (digital, analog, power, and RF), spectroscopic sensing, lasers, fiber optics and wave guides, classical optics, electro-optics, electromagnetics, electromechanical systems, heat transfer, materials science, mechanical engineering, manufacturing processes, and renewable energy technologies.
He has won four R&D 100 Awards, holds numerous patents, has 10 active licenses on his inventions, and given many invited talks on the subject of serial innovation. In 2015, he was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as its Inaugural SunShot Innovator in Residence. He invented the Radical-Ion Flow Battery under the SunShot Innovator in Residence Program to address the need for low-cost, highly scalable electrochemical grid storage, and the performance limitations of prior art battery chemistries in this demanding application. His current research portfolio is focused on electrochemical grid storage, the elimination of rare-earth magnets in wind turbines, and semiconductor thermal management (power electronics, CPUs, GPUs).
His research spans computational and experimental materials science across fields, including solar energy, energy storage, and energy conversion. Much work has focused on the electronic, optical, and optoelectronic properties of semiconductors and nanostructures, emphasizing the relationships among defects, electronic structure, surface/interface effects, and device performance with a theme of enabling materials by design. He employs advanced predictive materials modeling methods in conjunction with advanced synthesis and characterization techniques. At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), he leads a team of about a dozen computational materials scientists as the deputy group leader of the Quantum Simulations Group and oversees collaborations with experimental groups both internal and external to LLNL. He was a LLNL fellow and Scowcroft National Security fellow at LLNL, and a Hertz Fellow at Stanford where he received his doctorate. He was recently elected a young leader of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS).
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