Leon L. Shaw

  • Rowe Family Chair Professor in Sustainable Energy
  • Professor of Materials Science and Engineering


Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, and Minor in Mechanics and Engineering Science, University of Florida, USA, 1992
M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, USA, 1992
M. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, Fuzhou University, China, 1987
B.S. in Materials Engineering, Fuzhou University, China, 1980

Research Interests

The research activities in Shaw's group focus on synthesis and processing of advanced materials for energy and structural applications. Several projects are taking place concurrently, which include:

  • synthesis and fabrication of novel electrode chemistry and architecture for Li-ion batteries, Na-ion batteries, electrochemical capacitors, and redox flow batteries;
  • investigation of novel hydrogen storage materials for fuel cell vehicles; and
  • novel synthesis and processing of nanostructured metals and ceramics for mechanical applications.

The superior properties of the aforementioned materials are achieved through new chemical compositions, novel processing techniques, and innovative microstructure control. High energy ball milling, wet chemical synthesis (e.g., co-precipitation, hydrothermal, and sol-gel processing), sintering, integrated mechanical and thermal activation, and additive manufacturing are just several examples of the processing techniques that we have studied in order to attain novel properties for energy and structural applications.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Member, John Jeppson Award Committee of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS)
  • Member, THERMEC Executive Committee
  • Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology
  • Editorial Board Member, Batteries
  • Contributing Editor, Journal of the American Ceramic Society
  • Guest Editor, Materials Science and Engineering (1998, 2000, 2006)
  • Guest Editor, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions (1998)
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance (2005)
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Materials Science (2011)
  • Member, American Ceramic Society
  • Member, ASM International,
  • Member, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society


Fellow, International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM), 2020

Illinois Researchers to Know, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, 2020

MMAE Excellence in Research Award, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2020

Member, EU Academy of Sciences, 2019

"Energy Award" presented by International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM), 2018

Energy Award Lecture in the Plenary Session of the 20th Assembly of the European Advanced Materials Congress 2018: "Hierarchical Design and Synthesis of Si Anodes for Next-Generation Li-ion Batteries"

Keynote Presentation at THERMEC'2016: "Hierarchical Design and Synthesis of Nanomaterials to Enable High Capacity Rechargeable Battery Electrodes," Graz, Austria, May 29 – June 3, 2016

"Key Scientific Article Contributing to the Excellence in Energy Research” featured by Renewable Energy Global Innovations, June 2015

Keynote Presentation at Cleantech 2014: “High Voltage, High Capacity, Ambient Temperature Sodium-Based Flow Batteries,” Washington, DC, June 15-19, 2014

Keynote Presentation at ISPlasma2013: “Energy Storage Enabled by Nanomaterials and Advanced Processing,” Nagoya, Japan, January 28 - February 1, 2013

NSF Highlights: “Next Generation Bone Implants: More Like the Real Thing” for the NSF Project: Functionally Graded Orthopedic Implants via the Slurry Mixing and Dispensing Process, 2011

The John & Virginia Towers Distinguished Lecture, Michigan Technological University, 2010

Member, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE), 2006

“Highly Commended Paper for Excellence 2006” by Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2006

Outstanding Faculty Member of the Chemical, Materials and Biomolecular Engineering Department, UConn, 2006

Fellow, the World Academy of Materials and Manufacturing Engineering (AMME), Poland, 2005

Fellow, ASM International, 2004


For the full list of publications, please visit Prof. Shaw’s Energy Team website 

Selected list:

M. Luo, A. L. Ortiz, and L. Shaw, “Enhancing the electrochemical performance of NaCrO2 through structural defect control,” ACS Appl. Energy Mater., 3(7), 7216-7227 (2020).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, and L. Shaw, “Improving cycle stability of Si anode through partially carbonized polydopamine coating,” Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 876, 114738 (2020).

A. Y. R. Prado, M.-T. F. Rodrigues, S. E. Trask, L. Shaw, and D. P. Abraham, “Electrochemical dilatometry of Si-bearing electrodes: Dimensional changes and experimental design,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 167, 160551 (2020).

G. Yan, H. Li, Z. Ding, W. Yang, Z. Gao, W. Ma, and L. Shaw, “Mechanism of hydrogen storage on Fe3B,” Chem. Commun., 56, 14235 (2020).

J. Wei, L. Shaw, and W. Chen, “First-principles prediction of Na diffusivity in doped NaCrO2 layered cathode materials with Van der Waals interactions,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 124, 12239-12248 (2020).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, Y. Liu, and L. Shaw, “Investigation towards scalable processing of silicon-graphite nanocomposite anodes with good cycle stability and specific capacity,” Nano Materials Science, 2, 297-308 (2020).  

Z. Ding, Z. Chen, T. Ma, C.-T. Lu, and L. Shaw, “Predicting the hydrogen release ability of LiBH4-based mixtures by ensemble machine learning,” Energy Storage Materials, 27, 466-477 (2020).

Z. Ding, H. Li, and L. Shaw, “New insights into the solid-state hydrogen storage of nanostructured LiBH4-MgH2 system,” Chemical EngineeringJournal, 385, 123856 (2020).

Z. Ding, S. Li, Y. Zhou, Z. Chen, W. Ma, and L. Shaw, “LiBH4 for hydrogen storage: New perspectives,” Nano Materials Science, 2(2), 109-119 (2020).

M. Luo, A. L. Ortiz, and L. Shaw, “Unraveling processing-structure-electrical conductivity relationships of NaCrO2 cathodes for Na-ion batteries,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 166(15), A3546-A3553 (2019).

Z. Ding, P. Wu, and L. Shaw, “Solid-state hydrogen desorption of 2MgH2 + LiBH4 nano-mixture: A kinetics mechanism study,” J. Alloys Compd., 806, 350-360 (2019).

Z. Ding, Y. Lu, L. Li, and L. Shaw, “High reversible capacity hydrogen storage through nano-LiBH4 + nano-MgH2 system,” Energy Storage Materials, 20, 24-35 (2019).

Z. Ding and L. Shaw, “Enhancement of hydrogen desorption from nanocomposite prepared by ball milling MgH2 with in-situ aerosol spraying LiBH4,” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 7(17), 15064-15072 (2019).

C. Chen, W. Yao, Q. He, M. Ashuri, J. Kaduk, Y. Liu, and L. Shaw, “Tunable LiAlO2/Al2O3 coating through a wet-chemical method to improve cycle stability of nano-LiCoO2,” ACS Applied Energy Materials, 2, 3098-3113 (2019).

K. Sahni, M. Ashuri, Q. He, R. Sahore, I. D. Bloom, Y. Liu, J. A. Kaduk, and L. Shaw, “H3PO4 treatment to enhance the electrochemical properties of Li(Ni1/3Mn1/3Co1/3)O2 and Li(Ni0.5Mn0.3Co0.2)O2 cathodes,” Electrochimica Acta, 301, 8-22 (2019).

L. Shaw and M. Ashuri, “Coatings – A potent method to enhance electrochemical performance of Li(NixMnyCoz)O2 cathodes for Li-ion batteries,” Adv. Mater. Lett., 10(6), 369-380 (2019).

M. Luo, A. L. Ortiz, F. Guo, Z. Shi, L. Li, Y. Ren, X. Zhang, Z. Chen, L. Shaw, and W. Chen, “Mechanical activation enhanced solid-state synthesis of NaCrO2 cathode material,” Materialia, 5, 100172 (2019).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, Z. Shi, C. Chen, W. Yao, J. Kaduk, C. Segre, and L. Shaw, “Long-term cycle behavior of nano-LiCoO2 and its post-mortem analysis,” Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 123, 3299-3308 (2019).

S. Emani, C. Liu, M. Ashuri, K. Sahni, J. Wu, W. Yang, K. Nemeth, and L. Shaw, “Li3BN2 as a transition metal free, high capacity cathode for Li-ion batteries,” ChemElectroChem, 6, 320-325 (2019).

C. Liu and L. Shaw, “A high capacity, room temperature, hybrid flow battery consisting of liquid Na-Cs anode and aqueous NaI catholyte,” Batteries, 4, 60 (2018).

K. Sahni, M. Ashuri, S. Emani, J. Kaduk, K. Nemeth, and L. Shaw, “On the synthesis of lithium boron nitride (Li3BN2),” Ceramics International, 44, 7734-7740 (2018).

L. Shaw, M. Islam, J. Li, L. Li, and S. M. Imran Ayub, “High speed additive manufacturing through high aspect ratio nozzles,” JOM, 70(3), 284-291 (2018).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, Y. Liu, S. Emani, and L. Shaw, “Synthesis and performance of nanostructured silicon/graphite composites with a thin carbon shell and engineered voids,” Electrochimica Acta, 258, 274-283 (2017).

J. S. Shamie, C. Liu, L. Shaw, and V. L. Sprenkle, “New mechanism for the reduction of vanadyl acetylacetonate to vanadium acetylacetonate for room temperature flow batteries,” ChemSusChem, 10 (3), 533-540 (2017).

X. Zhao and L. Shaw, “Modeling and analysis of high-energy ball milling through attritors,” Metall. Mater. Trans., 48, 4324 – 4333 (2017).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, K. Zhang, S. Emani, and L. Shaw, “Synthesis of hollow silicon nanospheres encapsulated with a carbon shell through sol-gel coating of polystyrene nanoparticles,” J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol., 82(1), 201-213 (2017).

L. Li, C. Liu, and L. Shaw, “Capacitance enhancement of activated carbon through mechanical activation for lithium ion capacitors”, ECS Trans., 75(75) 21-29 (2017).

M. Sawicki, A. Ortiz, M. Luo, and L. Shaw, “Structural-defect-controlled electrochemical performance of sodium ion batteries with NaCrO2 cathodes,” ChemElectroChem, 4, 3222-3230 (2017).

L. Chen, N. L. Dietz Rago, I. D. Bloom, and L. Shaw, “New insight into the electrode mechanism of lithium sulfur batteries via air-free post-test analysis,” Chem. Commun., 52, 9913-9916 (2016).

​​​​​​​S. Emani, A. F. C. Ramos dos Santos, L. Shaw, and Z. Chen, “Investigation of microstructure and mechanical properties at low and high temperatures of WC-6 wt% Co,” Int. J. Refract. Met. Hard Mater., 58, 172-181 (2016).

C. Liu, B. B. Koyyalamudi, L. Li, S. Emani, C. Wang, and L. Shaw, “Improved capacitive energy storage via surface functionalization of activated carbon as cathodes for lithium ion capacitors,” Carbon, 109, 163-172 (2016).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, Y. Liu, K. Zhang, S. Emani, M. S. Sawicki, J. S. Shamie, and L. Shaw, “Hollow silicon nanospheres encapsulated with a thin carbon shell: an electrochemical study,” Electrochimica Acta, 215, 126-141 (2016).

M. Ashuri, Q. He, and L. Shaw, “Silicon as potential anode material for Li-ion batteries: Where size, geometry and structure matter,” Nanoscale, 8, 74-103 (2016).

Y. Zhong, X. Wan, Z. Ding, and L. Shaw, “New dehydrogenation pathway of LiBH4 + MgH2 mixtures enabled by nanoscale LiBH4,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 41, 22104-22117 (2016).

L. Li, S. M. Imran Ayub, and L. Shaw, “Formulation and micro-extrusion of high concentration graphene slurries,” Ceram. Int., 42, 9086-9093 (2016).

F. Zhang, K. Nemeth, J. Bareno, F. Dogan, I. D. Bloom, and L. Shaw, “Experimental and theoretical investigations of functionalized boron nitride as electrode materials for Li-ion batteries,” RSC Advances, 6, 27901-27914 (2016).

L. Chen, Y. Liu, N. Dietz-Rago, and L. Shaw, “Bottom-up, hard template and scalable approaches toward designing nanostructured Li2S for high performance lithium sulfur batteries,” Nanoscale, 7, 18071-18080 (2015).

C. Liu, J. S. Shamie, L. Shaw, and V. L. Sprenkle, “An ambient temperature molten sodium-vanadium battery with aqueous flowing catholyte,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 8, 1545-1552 (2015).

L. Chen, Y. Liu, F. Zhang, C. Liu, and L. Shaw, “PVP-assisted synthesis of uniform carbon-coated Li2S/CB for high performance lithium sulfur batteries,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 7, 25748-25766 (2015).

C. Wang, M. Sawicki, J. Kaduk, and L. Shaw, “Roles of processing, structural defects and ionic conductivity in electrochemical performance of Na3MnCO3PO4 cathode material,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 162(8) A1601-A1609 (2015).

Z. Ding, X. Zhao, and L. Shaw, “Reaction between LiBH4 and MgH2 induced by high-energy ball milling,” J. Power Sources, 293, 236-245 (2015).

S. Emani, C. Wang, L. Shaw, and Z. Chen, “On the hardness of submicrometer-sized WC-Co materials,” Mater. Sci. Eng., 628, 98-103 (2015).

M. Sawicki and L. Shaw, “Advances and challenges of sodium ion batteries as post lithium ion batteries,” RSC Advances, 5, 53129-53154 (2015).

J. S. Shamie, C. Liu, L. Shaw, and V. L. Sprenkle, “Room temperature, hybrid sodium-based flow batteries with multi-electron transfer redox reactions,” Scientific Reports, 5, 11215, (2015). doi: 10.1038/srep11215

C. Wang, M. Sawicki, S. Emani, C. Liu, and L. Shaw, “Na3MnCO3PO4 – A high capacity, multi-electron transfer redox cathode material for sodium ion batteries,” Electrochimica Acta, 161, 322-328 (2015).

L. Chen, Y. Liu, M. Ashuri, C. Liu, and L. Shaw, “Li2S encapsulated by nitrogen-doped carbon for lithium sulfur batteries,” J. Mater. Chem. A, 2 (42), 18026-18032 (2014).

C. Wang and L. Shaw, “On synthesis of Fe2SiO4/SiO2 and Fe2O3/SiO2 composites through sol-gel and solid-state reactions,” J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol., 72(3), 602-614 (2014).

L. Chen and L. Shaw, “Recent advances in lithium-sulfur batteries,” J. Power Sources, 267, 770-783 (2014).

K. Crosby, L. Shaw, C. Estournes, G. Chevallier, A. W. Fliflet, and M. A. Imam, “Enhancement in Ti-6Al-4V sintering via nanostructured powder and spark plasma sintering,” Powder Metall., 57(2), 147-154 (2014).

J. Suri and L. Shaw, “Liquid phase sintering of Si3N4/SiC nanopowders derived from silica fume,” Ceram. Int., 40, 9179-9187 (2014).