Peter Rupnowski, as a scientist in the NREL’s Chemistry and Nanoscience Center, develops novel in-line, nondestructive techniques for quality control and monitoring of advanced materials used in the low- and high-temperature fuel cells and Li-ion batteries. The methods investigated include hyper-spectral, high-resolution optical and thermal imaging for webs conveyed through roll-to-roll system, and active thermography for detection of electrolyte shorts and fatal cracks in ceramic parts.

In his previous assignment at Dow Corning and NREL, Peter worked on the development of novel crystal growth techniques, and on electro-optical, fracture, and defect characterization for silicon wafers and solar cells. Peter is a corecipient of an R&D 100 Award in 2011 and has authored a few U.S. patents, and numerous journal and conference publications, which were cited more than 550 times.

Research Interests

In-line quality control and monitoring of web-line materials

High-volume manufacturing using roll-to-roll systems

Materials for low- and high-temperature fuel cells and electrolyzers

Materials for Li-ion batteries

Development of high-speed, in-line diagnostic techniques

Active thermography 


Ph.D. Materials Science, University of Denver

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Wroclaw University of Technology

Professional Experience

Scientist, NREL (2005–2011 and 2014–present) 
Silicon Wafer Specialist, Dow Corning (2011–2013) 
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Denver (2001–2004) 
Guest Editor, Journal of Photovoltaic Materials and Devices 

Featured Work

The Development of a Through-Plane Reactive Excitation Technique for Detection of Pinholes in Membrane-Containing MEA Sub-Assemblies, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (2019)

In-line Monitoring of Li-ion Battery Electrode Porosity and Areal Loading Using Active Thermal Scanning-Modeling and Initial ExperimentJournal of Power Sources (2018)

High Throughput and High Resolution In-Line Monitoring of PEMFC Materials by Means of Visible Light Diffuse Reflectance Imaging and Computer Vision, ASME 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology (2015)

Online Monitoring for Si Solar Cell Manufacturing, IEEE 39th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (2013)

Strength of Silicon Wafers: Fracture Mechanics Approach, International Journal of Fracture (2009)

An Evaluation of the Elastic Properties and Thermal Expansion Coefficients of Medium and High Modulus Graphite Fibers, Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing (2005) 


Thickness Mapping Using Multispectral Imaging, U.S. Patent No. 10480935B2 (2019)

Batch and Continuous Methods for Evaluating the Physical and Thermal Properties of Films, U.S. Patent No. 10684128B2 (2020)

On-Line, Continuous Monitoring in Solar Cell and Fuel Cell Manufacturing Using Spectral Reflectance Imaging, U.S. Patent No. 9234843B2 (2016)

Wafer Screening Device and Methods for Wafer Screening, U.S. Patent No. 8780343B2 (2014)

Awards and Honors

R&D 100 Award (2011)

Best Research Assistant Award, University of Denver (2004)