Welcome to the home page of the Paul Braun Research Group at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Our group members perform research in the fields of materials chemistry, polymers, biomaterials, organic and inorganic self-assembly, electronic materials and photonics.

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Braun Group November 2023
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In the News

U.S. Department of Energy Awards $2 Million for Innovations to Source Domestic Lithium From Geothermal Brines

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the winners of its first-ever American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize. Three teams will split a total of $2 million for prototyped innovations to directly extract lithium from the hot water used to produce geothermal energy, known as geothermal brines. Lithium is a crucial element in the clean energy supply chain, but the United States currently imports about 99% of its lithium supply. Work under the prize helps support access to cost-effective, domestic sources of this critical mineral for batteries for stationary storage and electric vehicles—crucial to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of 50% electric vehicle adoption by 2030 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Advancing geothermal lithium extraction will also help ensure American leadership in the clean energy future and create U.S. jobs and a strong domestic supply chain.  

  • Winning Team ($1 million): University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign―Team SelectPureLi, A Redox Membrane for Lithium Hydroxide Extraction   

Read the full story by the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy


Gaurav Singhal receives Innovation Award

Our graduate students are difference-makers. Gaurav Singhal is sheer proof. The MatSE graduate is the recipient of the Innovation Award for his efforts in solving semiconductor chip packaging problems.

This award comes with a cash reward and a medallion — all of which is made possible by the generosity of ’74 doctorate alumnus Durgam Chakrapani and his family, who helped establish the Durgam and Subha Chakrapani Family Trust. Each year, the trust awards one MatSE graduate student for an outstanding Ph.D. thesis characterized by innovation and potential for commercialization in the field of materials science and engineering.

“Gaurav has been actively leading two projects funded by industry and has five patents associated with his work. The ability to perform both fundamental materials science and translate that work into technologically relevant findings really made him stand out,” Evans said.

Read the full story by Emily Jankauski: Singhal ‘elated’ to earn Innovation Award for solving semiconductor chip packaging problems

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Braun Group Recent Publications
A. Patra, J. Davis III, S. Pidaparthy, M. H. Karigerasi, B. Zahiri, A.A. Kulkarni, M.A. Caple, D.P. Shoemaker, J.M. Zuo, P.V. Braun, Electrodeposition of atmosphere-sensitive ternary sodium transition metal oxide films for sodium-based electrochemical energy storage, PNAS, 118, 22, e2025044118 (2021). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2025044118
J.G. Kang, H. Jang, J. Ma, Q. Yang, K. Hattar, Z. Diao, R.L. Yuan, J.M. Zuo, S. Sinha, D. Cahill, P. Braun, Ultralow thermal conductivity in nanoporous crystalline Fe3O4, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 125, 12, 6897-6908 (2021). DOI 10.1021/acs.jpcc.1c00411
Kollarigowda and P.V. Braun, Direct and Divergent Solid-Phase Synthesis of Azobenzene and Spiropyran Derivatives, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 86, 6, 4391-4397 (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.0c02375
S. Zeraati, S. Mirkhani, P. Sun, M. Naguib, P.V. Braun and U. Sundararaj, Improved Synthesis of Ti3C2Tx MXene Resulting in Exceptional Electrical Conductivity, High Synthesis Yield, and Enhanced Capacitance, Nanoscale, 13, 3572-3580 (2021). DOI: 10.1039/D0NR06671K
T. Yang, P.V. Braun, N. Miljkovic and W.P. King, Phase Change Material Heat Sink for Transient Cooling of High-Power Devices, Journal of Heat and Mass TransferPhase Change Material Heat Sink for Transient Cooling of High-Power Devices, Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 170, 121033 (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2021.121033
Zheng, B. Chen, Y. Xu, N. Fritz, Y. Gurumukhi, J. Cook, M.N. Ates, N. Miljkovic and P.V. Braun, A Gaussian Process-Based Crack Pattern Modeling Approach for Battery Anode Materials Design, Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage, 18, 1, 011011 (2021). DOI: 10.1115/1.4046938
P. Sun, X. Li, J. Shao and P.V. Braun, High‐Performance Packaged 3D Lithium‐Ion Microbatteries Fabricated Using Imprint Lithography, Advanced Materials, 33, 1, 2006229 (2021). DOI: 10.1002/adma.202006229
C.R. Ocier, C.A. Richards, D.A. Bacon-Brown, Q. Ding, R. Kumar, T.J. Garcia, J. van de Groep, J.-H. Song, A.J. Cyphersmith, A. Rhode, A.N. Perry, A.J. Littlefield, J. Zhu, D. Xie, H. Gao, J.F. Messinger, M.L. Brongersma, K.C. Toussaint Jr., L.L. Goddard and P.V. Braun, Direct laser writing of volumetric gradient index lenses and waveguides, Light Science & Applications 9, 196 (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41377-020-00431-3