Dr. Braunecker received his Doctorate degree in 2008 from Carnegie Mellon University after studying living radical polymerization systems with Dr. Krzystof Matyjaszewski. Braunecker's thesis specifically focused on developing copper catalysts for controlling the synthesis of polymeric architectures, functionalities, and compositions. He then worked for a year and a half in the group of Dr. Josef Michl at the University of Colorado Boulder, studying Li-carborane salts as catalysts for the radical polymerization of α-olefins.

In 2010, he joined NREL as a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. David Ginley, where he designed and synthesized conjugated "push-pull" copolymers for a number of systematic studies in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV). He became a Staff Scientist in 2012 and a Senior Scientist in 2016. As Principal Investigator of the OPV thrust in the Solar Energy Research Institute of India and the United States (SERIIUS), he coordinated research between synthesis, characterization, and device groups among various U.S. and Indian institutions, focusing on the development of fluorinated OPV materials with enhanced photostability.

Braunecker has also worked on a number of projects for battery applications, including the design and synthesis of polymers with pendent nitroxide radical groups for application as organic radical cathode materials, the development of materials for hybrid flow batteries, and work-function tuning of solid-state electrodes. More recently, he has been developing covalent organic frameworks for gas storage and separation applications.

Research Interests

  • Organic electronic materials for photovoltaic and energy-storage applications
  • Development of materials for gas storage and separation
  • Living radical polymerization


Ph.D. Polymer Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

B.S. Chemistry, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana

Featured Work

Garner, L.E., Bera, A., Larson, B.W., Ostrowski, D.P., Pal, A.J., Braunecker, W.A. (2017). “Promoting Morphology with a Favorable Density-of-States Using Diiodooctane to Improve Organic Photovoltaic Device Efficiency and Charge Carrier Lifetimes,” ACS Energy Lett. submitted.

Gennett, T., Ban, C., Braunecker, W., Dameron, A., “Materials for Flow Battery Energy Storage and Methods of Using,” Application No. PCT/US17/19992 (filed February, 2017).

Gennett, T., Ginley, D.S., Braunecker, W., Ban, C., Owczarczyk, Z., “Hybrid Radical Energy Storage Device and Method of Making,” US 8,940,444 B2 (issued January 2015).       

Braunecker, W.A., Oosterhout, S.D., Owczarczyk, Z.R., Kopidakis, N., Ratcliff, E.L., Ginley, D.S., Olson, D.C. (2014). “Semi-Random vs. Well-Defined Alternating Donor−Acceptor Copolymers,” ACS Macro Lett. (3); pp. 622–627.

Braunecker, W.A., Oosterhout, S.D., Owczarczyk, Z.R., Larsen, R.E., Larson, B.W., Ginley, D.S., Boltalina, O.V., Strauss, S.H., Kopidakis, N., Olson, D.C. (2013). “Ethynylene-Linked Donor-Acceptor Alternating Copolymers,” Macromolecules (46); pp. 3367–3375.

Braunecker, W.A., Owczarczyk, Z., Garcia, A., Kopidakis, N., Larsen, R.E., Hammond, S.R., Ginley, D.S., Olson, D.C. (2012). “Benzodithiophene and Imide-Based Copolymers for Photovoltaic Applications,” Chem. Mater. (24); pp. 1346–1356.

Braunecker, W.A., Tsarevsky, N.V., Gennaro, A., Matyjaszewski, K. (2009). “Thermodynamic Components of the Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization Equilibrium: Quantifying Solvent Effects,” Macromolecules (42); pp. 6348–6360.

Braunecker, W.A., Matyjaszewski, K. (2007). “Controlled/Living Radical Polymerization: Features, Developments, and Perspectives,” Prog. Polym. Sci., (32); pp. 93–146. 

View all NREL publications for Wade Braunecker.