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Jay Whitacre  

Professor Jay Whitacre

Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy
Ph.D., The University of Michigan

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Wean Hall 4323
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Phone: (412) 268-5548
Fax: (412) 268-7596

Professor Whitacre's Web Site



Dr. Whitacre earned a BA in Physics from Oberlin College in 1994, followed by a Masters (1997) and Ph.D. (1999) in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, where his doctoral work was focused on thin film and surface preparation and characterization. He was then a Postdoctoral Scholar at The California Institute of Technology (at JPL) from 1999 to 2000, where he worked to characterize and optimize the performance of thin film solid-state electrochemical devices. He subsequently accepted a technical staff position at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was promoted to Senior Member Technical Staff in 2003. His work at JPL was focused on developing materials system for energy storage technologies. During this time, he was also trained as a systems engineer and became a member of several mission design groups as well as the Mars Science Laboratory development team. Dr. Whitacre became an assistant professor at CMU in fall 2007.

Research Interests

Professor Whitacre studies the materials science of synthesizing and implementing promising materials and device architectures for energy storage and generation technologies. Ongoing or recent work topics include:

  • The production and analysis of controlled Li-ion battery cathode surfaces to enhance the fundamental understanding of materials performance and functionality in the battery environment
  • The creation and testing of optimized mixed active material composite cathode structures for dual rate batteries
  • Low temperature synthesis routes for Li-ion battery active materials
  • Catalyst selection for fuel cells
  • Fuel cell proton exchange membrane surface modification for increased current densities
  • Ultra fast laser modification of materials for solid-state electrochemical devices
  • Hybrid power systems for distributed and mobile platforms
  • Concurrent engineering design
  • Low cost batteries for non-mobile applications
  • High energy density electrode materials systems

Dr. Whitacre holds a joint appointment with the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, where he studies the policy implications involved with materials and technologies for the energy sector. These topics include the economics of scaled production, lifecycle analyses (including analyzing the "energy footprint" of manufacturing energy related products), the implications of broad adoption of new energy technologies, large-scale energy storage devices, and concurrent engineering analyses of power systems.

Recent Publications

"Reversible Intercalation of Fluoride-Anion Receptor Complexes in Graphite," W.C. West, J. F. Whitacre, N. Leifer, S. Greenbaum, M.C. Smart, R.V. Bugga, M. Blanco, S. R. Narayanan, Journal of The Electrochemical Society 154(10) A929-A936, 2007

"Direct Methanol Fuel Cells: Progress, Problems and prospects," S. R. Narayanan, Thomas Valdez, J.F. Whitacre, S.Surampudi, JPL/NASA External report, From collection "JPL TRS 1992+". URI:, 2006

"Electrochemical Performance and Kinetics of Li1+x (Co1/3Ni1/3Mn1/3) 1-xO2 Electrodes in Low Temperature Electrolytes," Marshall Smart, Jay Whitacre and Ratnakumar Bugga, Khalil Amine, Journal of Power Sources, 168(2) 501-508 (2007)

"Effect of Electrolyte Type upon the High-Temperature Resilience of Lithium-Ion Cells," M.C. Smart, B.V Ratnakumar, Jay F. Whitacre, L.D. Whitcanack, K.B. Chin, M.D. Rodreguez, D. Zhao, S.G. Greenbaum, S. Surampudi, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 152(6) A1096 1104, 2005

"Fabrication Method for Thermoelectric Nanodevices," J.R. Lim, J.F. Whitacre, J.F. Pleurial, C.K. Huang, M.A. Ryan, N.V. Myung, Advanced Materials Communications 17 1488-1492, 2005

"LiCoO2 Batteries, Structural Changes and Charge Compensation," F. M. Alamgir, E. Strauss, M. den Boer, S. Greenbaum, J. F. Whitacre, C.-C. Kao, and S. Neih, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 152(5), A845-A849, 2005

"Investigation of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts Using a Robust Combinatorial Technique," Jay F. Whitacre, T. Valdez, and S. R. Narayanan, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 152(9), A1780-A1789, 2005

"Long cycle life elevated temperature thin-film batteries incorporating MoO3 cathodes," W.C. West J.F. Whitacre, Journal of the Electrochemical Society 152 (5) A966-A969, 2005

"Electrodeposited amorphous manganese oxide nanowire arrays for high energy and power density electrodes," W. C. West, N. V. Myung, J. F. Whitacre and B. V. Ratnakumar, Journal of Power Sources 126 (1-2), 203-206, 2004

"An Integrated Power Generation and Storage System: The "Power Tile," Jay Whitacre, Jean-Pierre Fleurial, Mohammad Mojarradi, Travis Johnson, Nosang Myung, Amy Ryan, Simon Neigh, Proc. Of the Electrochemical Society, Fall 2002, Micro power source symposium, Volume 2002-25, pages 203-214, 2002.

"Crystallographically Oriented Thin-Film Nanocrystalline Cathode Layers Prepared Without Exceeding 300°C," J.F. Whitacre, W.C. West, E. Brandon, B.V. Ratnakumar, Journal of the Electrochemistry Society, 148(10) A1078-A1084 (2001).

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