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Nikhil Koratkar - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Troy, NY, US

Nikhil Koratkar Nikhil Koratkar

Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


World Renowned, Highly Cited Expert in Battery Energy Storage


Areas of Expertise (5)

Energy Storage


Nanostructured Materials




Nikhil Koratkar joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in January 2001 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006 and to Full Professor in 2009. In 2011, Koratkar was also appointed a Full Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer. In 2012, Koratkar was appointed the John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan Chair Professor in Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Professor Koratkar is a winner of the NSF CAREER Award (2003), RPI Early Career Award (2005), the Electrochemical Society's SES Young investigator Award (2009), American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award (2015) and the IIT-Bombay Distinguished Alumnus Award (2019). In 2016, Koratkar was elected a Fellow of the ASME. He has published a book on graphene as an additive in composite materials and over 200 archival journal papers (> 21,000 Citations, H-Index = 68). His publications include one in Science, one in Nature, one in PNAS, three in Nature Materials, four in Nature Communications, nine in Advanced Materials, fourteen in ACS Nano, six in Nano Letters, seven in Advanced Functional Materials and eight in Small. In 2018, Clarivate Analytics named him in their highly cited researchers list (top 1% by citations). Koratkar has obtained over $10 Million in research grants from several agencies including NSF, NYSERDA, ONR, ARO, AEC and Industry. In 2010, Koratkar was appointed Editor of CARBON (Elsevier).

Professor Koratkar's research has focused on the synthesis, characterization, and application of nanostructured materials. This includes graphene, carbon nanotubes, transition metal dichalcogenides, phosphorene, tellurene, perovskites as well as metal and silicon nanostructures produced by a variety of techniques such as mechanical exfoliation, chemical vapor deposition, and oblique angle sputter and e-beam deposition. He is studying the fundamental mechanical, electrical, thermal and optical properties of these one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) materials and developing a variety of composites, coating and device applications of these low dimensional materials. He serves as scientific advisor to two start-up companies aimed at commercializing next-generation energy storage solutions.

Education (3)

University of Maryland at College Park: Ph.D. 2000

IIT-Bombay: B.Tech 1995

University of Maryland at College Park: M.S. 1998

Media Appearances (4)

Graphene Foam Sensors Cheaply Detect Trace Particles in Air Ten Times Better Than Current Tech

Popular Science  online


Nanotechnology as a discipline is bleeding-edge cool, but so often we hear more about its amazing potential than its practical application. So it's always refreshing to catch wind of a story like this: Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have developed and demonstrated a small, relatively inexpensive, and reusable sensor made of graphene foam that far outperforms commercial gas sensors on the market today and could lead to better explosives detectors and environmental sensors in the very near future.

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'Nanoscoops' Could Spark New Generation of Electric Automobile Batteries

U.S. News and World Report  online


AN ENTIRELY NEW TYPE OF nanomaterial developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could enable the next generation of high-power rechargeable lithium (Li)-ion batteries for electric automobiles, as well as batteries for laptop computers, mobile phones, and other portable devices.

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Leap in Sniffing: Nanotubes Can Name That Gas

The New York Times  online


It's as small as a quarter. It's as fast as blink of an eye. It's as safe as a portable CD player.

Using nanotube technology, two professors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Pulickel M. Ajayan and Dr. Nikhil Koratkar have built a new device to detect gases. They hope it can eventually be used to increase national security and make homes safer.

The research, financed in part by the United States Army, was published in the July 19 issue of Nature.

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Graphene-coated sensors to strike oil?

NBC News.com  online


Tiny sensors coated with the wonder-material graphene and powered by flowing water could expedite the discovery of oil and natural gas reserves, according to university researchers supported by the energy industry.

The idea is to plop the sensors into the water injected down exploration wells where they can then move sideways through cracks and crevices in the Earth in search of hydrocarbons. The electricity generated by the flow of water would allow the sensors to relay their findings to the surface.

"The oil companies realized that in order to more efficiently explore for oil, they need to have some way to investigate what's going on between the wells," Nikhil Koratkar, who led the research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, told me today.

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Articles (3)

In situ healing of dendrites in a potassium metal battery Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Prateek Hundekar, Swastik Basu, Xiulin Fan, Lu Li, Anthony Yoshimura, Tushar Gupta, Varun Sarbada, Aniruddha Lakhnot, Rishabh Jain, Shankar Narayanan, Yunfeng Shi, Chunsheng Wang, and Nikhil Koratkar


The use of potassium (K) metal anodes could result in high-performance K-ion batteries that offer a sustainable and low-cost alternative to lithium (Li)-ion technology. However, formation of dendrites on such K-metal surfaces is inevitable, which prevents their utilization. Here, we report that K dendrites can be healed in situ in a K-metal battery. The healing is triggered by current-controlled, self-heating at the electrolyte/dendrite interface, which causes migration of surface atoms away from the dendrite tips, thereby smoothening the dendritic surface. We discover that this process is strikingly more efficient for K as compared to Li metal. We show that the reason for this is the far greater mobility of surface atoms in K relative to Li metal, which enables dendrite healing to take place at an order-of-magnitude lower current density. We demonstrate that the K-metal anode can be coupled with a potassium cobalt oxide cathode to achieve dendrite healing in a practical full-cell device.

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Aqueous lithium-ion batteries with niobium tungsten oxide anodes for superior volumetric and rate capability Energy Storage Materials

Aniruddha S. Lakhnot, Tushar Gupta, Yashpal Singh, Prateek Hundekar, Rishabh Jain, Fudong Han, Nikhil Koratkar


Lithium-ion batteries with aqueous electrolytes have substantial safety and cost benefits over the flammable, expensive and moisture sensitive organic electrolytes used in current batteries. However aqueous batteries suffer in terms of a reduced electrochemical stability window and offer much lower energy and power densities relative to batteries with organic electrolytes. Here we report that the use of niobium tungsten oxide anodes in conjunction with lithium manganese oxide cathodes and water-in-salt electrolytes, enables aqueous lithium-ion batteries with outstanding volumetric capacity and rate capability. Our battery could be cycled stably with high coulombic efficiency and a volumetric capacity of ~200 Ah l−1 was observed at 1C rate, which is much higher than state-of-art graphite (50–110 Ah l−1). Moreover, the battery could be cycled at high rates – increasing the charge/discharge rate by an order of magnitude (0.5C–5C) resulted in only about 25% reduction in capacity. The volumetric energy and power density of our full-cell device is far superior to what was been reported for “aqueous” lithium-ion batteries and is attributed to the dense-packing of micron size niobium tungsten oxide particles in the anode, as well as the abundance of tunnels within the particles that allow fast diffusion of lithium ions. The facile synthesis, ease of handling, safety (non-flammable nature) and high-performance, makes aqueous lithium-ion batteries with niobium tungsten oxide anodes an attractive alternative to traditional batteries, especially in applications where high volumetric energy and power density are desired.

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Vanadium disulfide flakes with nanolayered titanium disulfide coating as cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries Nature Communications

Lu Li, Zhaodong Li, Anthony Yoshimura, Congli Sun, Tianmeng Wang, Yanwen Chen, Zhizhong Chen, Aaron Littlejohn, Yu Xiang, Prateek Hundekar, Stephen F. Bartolucci, Jian Shi, Su-Fei Shi, Vincent Meunier, Gwo-Ching Wang & Nikhil Koratkar


Unlike the vast majority of transition metal dichalcogenides which are semiconductors, vanadium disulfide is metallic and conductive. This makes it particularly promising as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries. However, vanadium disulfide exhibits poor stability due to large Peierls distortion during cycling. Here we report that vanadium disulfide flakes can be rendered stable in the electrochemical environment of a lithium-ion battery by conformally coating them with a ~2.5 nm thick titanium disulfide layer. Density functional theory calculations indicate that the titanium disulfide coating is far less susceptible to Peierls distortion during the lithiation-delithiation process, enabling it to stabilize the underlying vanadium disulfide material. The titanium disulfide coated vanadium disulfide cathode exhibits an operating voltage of ~2 V, high specific capacity (~180 mAh g−1 @200 mA g−1 current density) and rate capability (~70 mAh g−1 @1000 mA g−1), while achieving capacity retention close to 100% after 400 charge−discharge steps.

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