Yi Cui

Stanford University

Primary Section: 31, Engineering Sciences
Secondary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2022)


Yi Cui is recognized for his work on energy and environmental materials science. He is known particularly on his work on reinventing batteries to enable clean energy transition.  Cui was born and grew up in China. He earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1998 from the University of Science & Technology of China and his PhD in chemistry from Harvard University in 2002. Cui was a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley from 2002 to 2005 before joining the Stanford faculty. He is the director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, co-director of the StorageX Initiative, Fortinet Founders Professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University. He is an executive editor of Nano Letters and co-director of the Battery 500 Consortium. Cui is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, fellow of the Materials Research Society, fellow of the Electrochemical Society, and fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has founded five companies to commercialize technologies from his lab: Amprius Inc., 4C Air Inc., EEnotech Inc., LifeLabs Design Inc. and EnerVenue Inc. His selected honors include Global Energy Prize (2021), Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (2021), Materials Research Society Medal (2020), Electrochemical Society Battery Technology Award (2019) and Blavatnik National Laureate (2017).

Research Interests

Yi Cui has made breakthrough contributions at the interface of nanoscience, electrochemistry and sustainability. Particularly, he has been innovating new materials for reinventing batteries while studying the fundamental physics and chemistries of these novel materials.  His pioneering work on introducing silicon nanowires for lithium ion battery anodes has launched a world-wide effort of nanoscience design for batteries. He has been leading the establishment of the nanoscience paradigm for energy storage applications by pioneering its illustrations in silicon anodes, lithium metal anodes and sulfur cathodes. He has also brought new battery chemistries into grid-scale energy storage including open framework nanomaterials and metal-hydrogen gas batteries with excellent power, efficiency, safety and durability. He has introduced the cryogenic electron microscopy technique into energy materials research to address important long-standing questions in the field.  Other areas  of his research interest have included: a thermal battery concept that converts low-grade heat into electricity; a cooling textile that allows the efficient radiation of infrared heat from the human body;  an approach of using chemical potential and strain tuning for catalyst discovery; conducting nanowire filters to induce electroporation for bio-pathogen disinfection; nanoscale MoS2 materials to utilize visible spectrum of sunlight for water disinfection; and a nanofiber that filters deadly PM2.5 particles with very low air resistance.

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