Current Members

Elif Ertekin

The most important thing to know about me is the I have one of the best jobs in the world. I have the pleasure and privilege of working with several bright young researchers to make developments and advances in areas that I am passionate about. If you want to know the formal stuff, here is my CV and here are my Google Scholar and Researcher-ID pages. In our group, we are interested in using computational methods - any or all of them - to understand and design new materials and material systems across a wide variety of applications such as photovoltaics, catalysis, heat transport, etc. Our work is highly interdisciplinary: most physicists think I’m an engineer, and most engineers think I’m a physicist. At the University of Illinois, we have access to some of the world’s best high-performance computing facilities, which allows us to be very ambitious about the types of problems that we choose to work on. My other interests: I also train and play capoeira angola.

Taishan Zhu

Taishan got his bachelor and master degrees from Harbin Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he used to work on aerospace propulsion and microfluidic sensing/actuating. He coded various numerical methods, deterministic and stochastic (FVM, FEM, MD, DEM, DSMC, and gaskinetic schemes), to solve Navier-Stokes and Boltzmann equations for multiscale fluid transport. Now he is studying transport in energy-related solids, such as phonon transport on superlattices, and photon-electron interactions in transitional metal dichalcogenides.

Naheed Ferdous

I am from Bangladesh. I have completed my undergraduate study and Masters from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Mechanical Engineering was my Major. My undergraduate thesis topic was “Natural convection and radiation in circular and arc cavity”. My graduate thesis was in the basis of analyzing CFD and mass and energy balances coupled to chemical and electrokinetics to observe transport phenomena including ionic transport and multi component diffusion. Thesis topic was “Study of AC electroosmotic flow developed by co-planar microelectrode array in a slit microchannel”. I have worked as a Teaching Assistant in my First semester of MS. I was a Lecturer in the Dept of Mechanical Engineering at Primeasia University for nine months and at Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) for six months. Currently I am working in the area of photovoltaic effects in semiconductors which can be an effective way for generating electric power by solar radiation. We diagnose new emerging materials to search for photovoltaic properties. Different computational methods are used to examine the electronic structure which is necessary to understand key properties of materials such as bandgaps, effective masses etc.

Nam-Hoon Kim

BS: Seoul National University, Republic of Korea

Research: Modeling and simulation of photovoltaic materials

Xiao Zhang

I have been enrolled in MechSE since fall 2013 and joined the group as a joint student of Prof. Elif Ertekin and Prof. Andre Schleife in MatSE. I'm interested in material research related to solar energy, etc, the properties of TCOs (Transparent Conducting Oxides), the characteristic of semiconductor absorbers such as CIGS and CZTS, and thin film technology. I'm now doing computitional material research on TCOs like ZnO, to understand the fundemantal theory of how these kind of oxides works. My future work after ZnO will possibly include finding new material for p-type TCO, which will give a much wider application for TCOs in the field of transistor and solar cells, etc.

Jaehyung Yu

I received my B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from KAIST (Daejeon, Korea) in 2012. I joined Ertekin's group at Fall 2013. my research interest is localization of charged carriers induced by lattice distortion, especially in photovoltaic material, such as CZTS (Cu2ZnSnSe4).

Josh Schiller

Before attending the University of Illinois, Joshua Schiller received his bachelor's degree from SUNY Binghamton. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering, focusing on electronic properties and high-throughput prediction of materials. As part of his research, he uses atomistic modeling, including Density Functional Theory and Quantum Monte Carlo, to study the properties of materials.

Kevin Cruse

I am from Wheaton, IL. I am a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering and I joined the Ertekin Group in Fall of 2015 as an ISUR Program participant. I am interested in the computational modeling and simulation of thermoelectric properties in materials such as silicon and silicon-germanium alloys, which I will be focusing on for my 2015-2016 ISUR research project. Beyond research, I am involved in the MechSE Advancement Student Committee. I am also pursuing a second degree in Jazz Drumset Performance.

Heonjae Jeong

I completed a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. To date, the precise direction of my work has been quite interdisciplinary in its approach. While pursuing my master degree, I investigated heterogeneous bimetallic catalysts synthesized by atomic layer deposition (ALD) as well as the fabrication and characterization of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) using direct methanol or ethanol. Now I am a Ph.D. student, majoring mechanical engineering in University of Illinois and I joined both the Ertekin and the Seebauer groups to take the co-advising. I am especially interested in the integration of quantum calculations with the experimental defect engineering work. As I think about my future, I feel especially excited about the fact that by doing something I love, thus I would like to help advance society.

Emil Annevelink

I am a California native and joined the Ertekin group in the Fall of 2016. I am excited about starting off on my research goals and learning about the properties of materials and how they can be best utilized to transform our energy sector. On top of doing research, I love socializing with other students, teaching and learning more. In my free time I like spending time in nature backpacking and hiking.

Bin Ouyang

Bin Ouyang received his Bachelor degree at Central South University, afterwards he got his Master and PhD degree at McGill University. He is currently a postdoctoral research associate with both Professor Ertekin and Professor Aluru. His research focuses on computational investigation of solid oxide fuel cells. He is interested in applying atomistic methods to study phase transformation, electronic structure and transport properties within various materials.

Kara Kearney

Kara is an honorary group member, and although formally a student in the Angus Rockett group, spends time with us. She is interested in functionalization of semiconductor surfaces for enhanced interfacial charge transport.

Chendi Lin

Chendi is an undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering with an interest in computational science. He has been working with us on magnetocaloric shape memory alloys.

Mirage & Oasis, Group Felines

They have yet to run proper code.


Prashun Gorai

Prashun Gorai obtained his PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2014, and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado School of Mines. He joined the Ertekin Research Group in the summer of 2012 as part of a collaboration with the Seebauer Research Group. He received his Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras in 2008. His thesis research focused on defect engineering of oxide semiconductors with applications in electronics and catalysis, using a complementary combination of surface science UHV experiments and ab initio quantum calculations (DFT) as well as continuum models to understand the interaction mechanisms of bulk defects with semiconductor surfaces. In school, he loved to paint and sketch and wished to become a painter and biogeographer. While he no longer posses the patience needed to finish one-month-long sketches, he satisfies his creative appetite by engaging in photography. In the past few years, he has also become passionate about cooking cuisines from around the world and hopes to open a fusion food restaurant upon retirement.

Patrick Duffy

Patrick was an undergraduate research student with us from 2012-2014. His research focused on light absorption in gold-hyperdoped Silicon. He is currently an engineer with the Whirlpool corporation.

Bryan Hoffman

Bryan was an undergraduate student working with us from 2013-2014. He now tours the world and occasionally pops back in unannounced for surprise hellos.

Alex Gruebele

Alex was an undergraduate student who obtained his degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Chemistry. He is now a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering program at Stanford University.

Emily Turner

Emily graduated in May 2016 with a B.S. in Industrial and Enterprise Engineering, and is now pursuing a graduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. She began research with the Ertekin Group through the ISUR program in 2014, and continued as an NCSA intern through the SPIN program. Emily's research focused on using density functional theory to map the catalytic oxygen evolution reaction on doped TiO2 nanosheets, to identify the optimal dopant species. Her other interests include glass blowing, playing volleyball, and singing in Women’s Glee on campus.