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Susan Habas

Senior Scientist, Nanoscience & Materials Chemistry

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Research Interests

  • Design, synthesis, and characterization of nanostructured catalysts

  • Controlled surface chemistry for selective chemical transformations

  • Scalable methods for solution-phase nanomaterials synthesis

  • Production of premium fuels and chemicals from biomass

Affiliated Research Programs


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley, 20032008

  • Fulbright Scholar, Massey University, New Zealand, 20022003

  • A.B., Chemistry/Biochemistry, Wheaton College, 19972001

Professional Experience

  • Senior Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Bioenergy Center (NBC), 2014present

  • Staff Scientist, NREL, NBC, 20132014

  • Staff Scientist, NREL, National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV), 20122013

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, NREL, NCPV, 20092012

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Molecular Foundry, 20082009


  1. "Metal Phosphide Catalysts and Methods for Making the Same and Uses Thereof," U.S. Patent No. 9,636,664 B1 (2017)

  2. "Metal Phosphide Catalysts and Methods for Making the Same and Uses Thereof," U.S. Patent Application No. 2017/0197200 Al (2017)

  3. "Catalysts and Methods for Converting Biomass to Liquid Fuels," U.S. Provisional Patent Application 62/414,496 (2016)

Featured Publications

  1. "Transitioning Rationally Designed Catalytic Materials to Real 'Working' Catalysts Produced at Commercial Scale: Nanoparticle Materials," Catalysis (2017)

  2. "An Investigation Into Support Cooperativity for the Deoxygenation of Guaiacol Over Nanoparticle Ni and Rh2P," Catalysis Science & Technology (2017)

  3. "High-Throughput Continuous Flow Synthesis of Nickel Nanoparticles for the Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation of Guaiacol," Chemistry of Materials (2016)
    At the top of the image is a schematic of the millifluidic reactor system for the continuous flow production of nickel nanoparticles. The illustration shows cyclical arrows going from a Pressure Regulator to an illustration of a reactor to a graphic representation of a computer system and back again. Arrows and product also go from the reactor to another reactor to the right, showing a final outcome, represented by product in a test tube. The lower left of the image has a transmission electron micrograph showing the nickel nanoparticles produced in the continuous flow millifluidic reactor that have been supported on silica. The lower right of the image depicts a guaiacol molecule followed by two arrows indicating that deoxygenated products of guaiacol are formed over the nickel nanoparticle on silica catalyst in the presence of hydrogen (labeled Biomass Conversion).
  4. "A Facile Molecular Precursor Route to Metal Phosphide Nanoparticles and Their Evaluation as Hydrodeoxygenation Catalysts," Chemistry of Materials (2016)
    Figure includes three panels. The first pane, labeled single-source precursors, depicts a bis(triphenylphosphine)rhodium(I) carbonyl chloride single-source precursor for producing rhodium phosphide nanoparticles, shown by a vertical line labeled PPh3 at the top, Rh in the middle, and PPh3 at the bottom. A diagonal line goes through the Rh center and is labeled Cl at the upper left, with a lined arrow leading from the left to the center, and the bottom right labeled CO with a black arrow leading from the right to the center. The middle pane shows a transmission electron micrograph of various black and grey squares in a mosaic pattern, and is labeled phase-pure, solid metal phosphide nanoparticles with Rh2P in the upper left. The third panel is labeled bio-oil compounds and shows a photo of grass biomass overlaid with the written reaction acetic acid plus hydrogen produces methane, ethylene, and acetaldehyde.
  5. "Conversion of Dimethyl Ether to 2,2,3-trimethylbutane over a Cu/BEA Catalyst: Role of Cu Sites in Hydrogen Incorporation," ACS Catalysis (2015)

Illustration showing an orange hexagon labeled "metallic Cu outside pore" attached to a circle of Si, O, Al, and H molecules in a compound, also labeled "cationic Cu in pore"; these figures are under the label "Role of the Cu Species." To the right of the circle is bracketed information showing a graph with the x-axis labeled "Time on Stream (h)" and the y-axis labeled "Hydrocarbon Production" H-BEA and H-Beak + H2 are shown with light blue and dark blue dots on the chart and the red dots represent Cu/BEA + H2. The curve of red dots runs parallel above the curve of blue dots. Below the graph are two arrow-circles labeled "aromatic cycle" and "olefin cycle" with a double arrow between them, labeled "Cu/BEA + H2."

  1. "Surface Chemistry Exchange of Alloyed Germanium Nanocrystals: A Pathway Toward Conductive Group IV Nanocrystal Films," Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (2013)

  2. "Low-Cost Inorganic Solar Cells: From Ink to Printed Device," Chemical Reviews (2010)

  3. "Influence of Size, Shape, and Surface Coating on the Stability of Aqueous Suspensions of CdSe Nanoparticles," Chemistry of Materials (2010)

  4. "Probing Compositional Variation Within Hybrid Nanostructures," ACS Nano (2009)

  5. "Interfacing Metal Nanoparticles with Semiconductor Nanowires," Chemistry of Materials (2009)

  6. "Localized Pd Overgrowth on Cubic Pt Nanocrystals for Enhanced Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Formic Acid," Journal of the American Chemical Society (2008)

  7. "Shape Control of Colloidal Metal Nanocrystals," Small (2008)

  8. "Selective Growth of Metal and Binary Metal Tips on CdS Nanorods," Journal of the American Chemical Society (2008)

  9. "Shaping Binary Metal Nanocrystals through Epitaxial Seeded Growth," Nature Materials (2007)

  10. "Morphological Control of Catalytically Active Platinum Nanocrystals," Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2006)

View all NREL Publications for Susan Habas.