Energy, Nanomechanics, and Surfaces Research Laboratory



Congratulations and good luck to our previous lab member Qinglin for joining a new position at Rivian as a Staff manufacturing Engineer!

Group dinner at Panda Cuisine post COVID. Thanks to Dr Cheng. We missed you Jacob Hempel!

29 March, 2021

Congratulations to Ryan who passed his qualifying exam this afternoon!

Jan, 2021

Welcome to our new group members: Bayode Dada & Kubra Uzun!


June, 2020

Welcome to our new group member: Jacob Bonta!

27 April, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Dingying who successfully passed her PhD exam!

14 January, 2020

Andrew Meyer appears in a news article!

6 January, 2020

Congratulations to Yikai who starts his new position as the first Lithium Metal Engineer with Albemarle!



12 December, 2019

Congratulations to Andrew who passed his qualifying exam this morning!

26 October, 2019

Congratulations to our former group member, Dr. Jiagang Xu, for his new position at Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) as a Senior Engineer II!

24 October, 2019

Exciting news from our former group member, Dr. Rutooj Deshpande! Rutooj recently becomes the CEO of the startup, GoVidyouth Mobility, after working at Ford Motor Company for 6 years. He is also a Deputy General Manager for Sterling & Wilson. Here comes the very first entrepreneur from our group!

18 October, 2019

Dingying, Ming, and Andrew attended the 236th ECS Meeting (October 13-17, 2019) at Atlanta, GA. Hurrah for not only their broadened horizons, but their attendance representing the ECS-UK chapter (with Udari from our Department of Chemistry), reunion with our former group member, Dr. Jiazhi Hu at General Motors, and connection with the 2019 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham, in Chemistry!

9 October, 2019

It is a breathtaking moment that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 was awarded jointly to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino "for the development of lithium-ion batteries!" (source)

20 September, 2019

Congratulations to Ming and Andrew, who won the respective 2nd and 3rd place of the Poster Presentation Award of the Kentucky Materials Networking Day! The Kentucky Materials Networking Day is held by the local MRS student chapter and funded by the Materials Research Society Foundation.

9 August, 2019

Group lunch at Panda Cuisine to send Yikai and Jiazhi off and welcome Ryan.

5 August, 2019

Welcome our new group member: Ryan Hill.

26 July, 2019

Celebration for Dr. Jiazhi Hu at J2C

17 July, 2019

Congratulations to Jiazhi who successfully passed her PhD exam!

12 July, 2019

We now have a new brand new AFM assembled inside a glovebox! We had substantial training provided by Dr. Igor Titushkin with graduate students from Dr. Doo Young Kim's lab.

30 April, 2019

Congratulations to Dingying who successfully passed her qualifying exam!

29 April, 2019

Celebration for Dr. Yikai Wang at Panda Cuisine

29 April, 2019

Congratulations to Yikai who successfully passed his PhD exam!

19 April, 2019

Celebration for Dr. Shuang Gao at J2C

19 April, 2019

Our group attended the Super Collider 2019 organized by Kentucky NSF EPSCoR.

15 April, 2019

Congratulations to Shuang who successfully passed his PhD exam!

10 April, 2019

Congratulations to Yikai who has been awarded Outstanding MSE Graduate Student!



11 December, 2018

Congratulations to Ming who successfully passed his qualifying exam.

15 November, 2018

ECS-UK chapter hosts a dinner to welcome the seminar speaker, Dr. James Wu; it is also a farewell dinner for Dr. Xiaowen Zhan, the former chapter chair.

7 November, 2018

Congratulations to Baleegh who successfully passed his PhD dissertation defense.

25 October, 2018

Congratulations to Xiaowen, Dr. Mona Shirpour’s first graduate student at UK, who has just successfully passed his PhD dissertation defense.

19 September, 2018

A farewell group dinner for Yan. View Photo

27 July, 2018

Our group have finished the Cleveland tour attending the SYMPOSIUM ON ENERGY STORAGE BEYOND LITHIUM ION XI (July 24-26). Xiaowen won the 1st place of the poster award! View Photo1, Photo2

28 June, 2018

Welcome our previous group member, Dr. Yunchao Li, from Intecells, LLC! Dr. Yunchao Li was invited to give a presentation on his work, Novel Sustainable Tire-Derived Carbon Anodes for Lithium-Ion and Sodium-Ion Batteries, at the ECS/MRS joint seminar today. View Photo1, Photo2

18 June, 2018

Congratulations to our group members who have been elected to MRS and ECS University of Kentucky Student Chapters (MRS-UK chapter and ECS-UK chapter) as new officers!

Jiazhi Hu: President of MRS-UK chapter

Shuang Gao: President of ECS-UK chapter

Dingying Dang: Treasure of ECS-UK chapter

1 June, 2018

Congratulations to Andrew and Ming on passing their prequalifying exam!

18 May, 2018

Congratulations to Shuang Gao and Yikai Wang, tied for the 2nd place of the Best Poster Awards of the 5th annual MACE GSA Spring Symposium!

19 March, 2018

Congratulations to Xiaowen Zhan, the winner of the 2018 Outstanding MSE Graduate Student Award!

Mr. Xiaowen Zhan joined the University of Kentucky in 2014 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Engineering. His research focuses mainly on defect structure, transport properties and electrochemical interfaces of advanced solid-state materials for electrochemical energy storage devices such as Li/Na-ion batteries. Since 2014, Xiaowen has published four articles in peer-reviewed journals and given three oral presentations at professional conferences. As the chair of ECS Kentucky Student Chapter (recognized as the 2016 Chapter of Excellence) for the last two years, he has invited many speakers to our campus and organized seminars that promote electrochemical and solid state science and technology. Xiaowen also presented hands-on experiments introducing energy storage applications at four of the University of Kentucky’s Women in Engineering Summer Workshop Series for high school women. In 2017, Xiaowen received the ECS Battery Division Travel Grant for the 231st ECS meetings. In the same year, Xiaowen was admitted, as one of the 25 selected and funded graduated students, to the 2nd Next Generation Electrochemistry (NGenE) summer institute, and completed a one-week intensive workshop exploring phenomena at electrochemical interfaces.

2 March, 2018

Congratulations to Shuang Gao! He has successfully passed his qualifying exam.

1 March, 2018

Group farewell dinner for Dawei Li. View photo

February 23, 2018

Our group attended the Super Collider 2018 organized by Kentucky NSF EPSCoR at CAER. Yikai Wang, Xiaowen Zhan, and Shuang Gao presented their posters.

2 January, 2018

The Advanced Energy Materials communication "Mechanical Property Evolution of Silicon Composite Electrodes Studied by Environmental Nanoindentation", by Yikai Wang; Qinglin Zhang, Ph.D; Dawei Li; Jiazhi Hu; Jiagang Xu, Ph.D; Dingying Dang; Xingcheng Xiao, Ph.D; Yang-Tse Cheng, Ph.D, has now been published online. View



19 December, 2017

Dr. Y.T. Cheng has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Link

11 December, 2017

Congratulations to Yikai Wang and Jiazhi Hu! They successfully passed their qualifying exams.

20 August, 2017

Welcome our new group member: Andrew Meyer.



11 April, 2016

Jie Pan successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis “Understanding Electrical Conduction in Lithium Ion Batteries through Multi-Scale Modeling”. Congratulations to Dr. Pan!

11 March, 2016

Qinglin Zhang successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis “Improving the Capacity, Durability and Stability of Lithium-ion Batteries by Interphase Engineering”. Congratulations to Dr. Zhang!



11 November, 2015

Prof. Y.T. Cheng introduces Kentucky NSF EPSCoR’s work in Electrochemical Energy Storage on Youtube: Link

20 August, 2015

Welcome our new group members: Yikai Wang, Long Zhang, Jiazhi Hu.



12 December, 2014

Group dinner at Panda Cuisine with our former member Dr. Juchuan Li! Dr. Juchuan Li, now working at Oak Ridge National Lab, gave a ECS Kentucky Student Chapter seminar on “Solid Electrolyte: Towards High-Voltage Lithium-Ion Batteries” in UK (Flyer). Happy holidays!

2 September, 2014

Qinglin Zhang is on the new website of our department (Chemical and Materials Engineering).

27 August, 2014

Dr. Cheng’s research group is a member of the Kentucky’s EPSCoR (NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)) project from the National Science Foundation (award details).

NSF Announcement: NSF invests in science and engineering infrastructure across the nation

UKnow: Kentucky Awarded $20 Million to Grow ‘New Energy Economy’

Youtube: EPSCoR Funding Drives Kentucky’s New Knowledge-based Economy

27 August, 2014

Congratulations to Ilona Hoffmann! She successfully passed the Ph.D. defense for her work on “Magnesium-Titanium Alloys for Biomedical Applications”.

26 February, 2014

Dr. Cheng’s group is a member of the lightweight metals institute that former VP of GM, Alan Taub is leading.

News from the Detroit News: White House to unveil manufacturing institute headquartered in Canton

News from the Lane Report Kentucky helps launch light-materials manufacturing institute

14 February, 2014

Congratulations to materials engineering professor Y.T. Cheng, who will lead an automotive battery research project granted to the Commonwealth of Kentucky by Ford.

News in



25 November, 2013

Thanksgiving group dinner at bd’s Mongolian Grill.

28-30 April, 2013

Dr. Yue Qi from General Motors R&D center visited  our lab, attended Jie Pan’s qualifying exam and gave a seminar in MRS-UK Chapter (Abstract).

Photo after group dinner

Front  left to right: Jiagang Xu, Ilona Hoffmann, Dr. Yue Qi, Dr. YT Cheng

Back left to right: Brian Ray, Jie Pan, Qinglin Zhang

Congratulations to Qinglin Zhang and Jie Pan passing their qualifying exams.

Professor Y.T. Cheng Elected Fellow of the Materials Research Society.

Source from: UK College of Engineering

Details on the MRS Fellows Program is available at:

We had a happy time with the Departmental Advisory Committee’s visit and graduate students poster session on 8 Feb, 2013.

Peizhen was introducing our brand-new Nano-indentation Equipment to the Advisory Committee members.

Qinglin was introducing his fancy battery research to one of the committee members.

New Lab Location: We have moved from ASTeCC Building to S. J. “Sam” Whalen Building (1st floor). Campus Directions



News from CME: Yunchao Li, MSE ’12

News from COE: Y.T. Cheng: Bringing GM Innovation to UK Classrooms

Congratulations to Dr. JC Li’ s graduation.

Graduation Ceremony, Convention Center, Lexington, May 2012(Left to Right: JC, YT, Rutooj)



Congratulations to Dr. Deshpande’ s graduation.

Dinner after Rutooj’s defense (From left to right: Jie Pan, Qinglin Zhang, Ilona Hoffmann, JC Li, Dr. Y.T. Cheng,

Dr. Mark W. Verbrugge, Rutooj Deshpande, Yunchao Li, Jiagang Xu)

Dr. Cheng was named the Frank J. Derbyshire Professor of Materials Science.



2010.12, Receiving the certificate of MRS-UK chapter, Boston, MA

From left: Dr. David S. Ginley (2010 MRS President), Ilona, Rutooj, and JC.

2010 fall, Student photo in front of our department

From left: Rutooj, Ilona, and JC.


MRS-UK (Materials Research Society – University of Kentucky) chapter is approved by the official MRS board.

Our group is a co-founder of the chapter. Prof. YT Cheng serves as one of the two faculty members of MRS-UK chapter. Rutooj serves as the vice president, and JC Li serves as the secretary.

October 2010, Symposium on Energy Storage beyond Lithium Ion: Materials Perspectives, Oak Ridge, TN

From left: Rutooj, YT, and JC.

2010 spring, YT’s birthday party

From left: JC, YT, Ilona, and DB.

2010 spring, JC’s birthday party after group meeting

From left: JC, YT, Rutooj, Lena, and Ilona.

November 2009, MRS 2009 fall @ Boston, MA

From left: Rutooj, Ilona, YT, and JC.