The Lenert Lab at the University of Michigan Department of Chemical Engineering was established in 2016 to study new approaches for control of energy transport, with the primary goal of enabling greater integration of renewables. Our research focuses on the development of novel, highly efficient thermophotovoltaics for grid-scale energy storage, passive radiative cooling materials for energy efficiency, next-generation solar thermal technologies, microfabricated devices for near-field sensing, and high-temperature stable, catalytically active materials. 

Our research has been supported by the US Department of Energy, DARPA, US National Science Foundation, General Motors, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, 3M Foundation, Antora Energy, UofM’s Graham Sustainability Institute and Center for Socially Engaged Design.

The group is led by Dr. Andrej Lenert, an associate professor of ChE at U-M. It includes postdoctoral fellows and doctoral, masters, and undergraduate students from UofM ChE and other departments/institutions. For inquiries, please email

Photo Album


June 2023

Enhanced photon utilization in single cavity mode air-bridge thermophotovoltaic cells published in ACS Energy Letters – Congrats to Jihun and Bosun!

The group welcomes new postdoc Yiwei Gao who recently completed his Ph.D. with Dr. Jeremy Cho (UNLV).

April 2023

Sean Fernandez (ChE’23) receives the prestigious NSF graduate fellowship!

Transparent Aerogel Materials in Solar Thermal Devices (chapter) published in Annual Review of Heat Transfer – Congrats to Zach, Andres, and Ali!

January 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Sean McSherry for successfully defending his thesis titled “Spectral Control of Thermal Radiation at High Temperatures and in the Near Field”.

December 2022

Congratulations to Sean F (undergrad researcher) for receiving the Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer Scholarship Award and third place at AIChE Materials Engineering and Science poster competition.

Congratulations to Rebecca and Bosun for completing the NSF National I-Corps and receiving a Teacher’s Choice award.

November 2022

Semitransparent thermophotovoltaics for efficient utilization of moderate temperature thermal radiation published in PNAS – Congrats to Tobias and Bosun!

Geometric defects induced by strain relaxation in thin film oxide superlattices published in Journal of Applied Physics – Congrats to the DARPA team!

Design of a gradient epsilon-near-zero refractory metamaterial with temperature-insensitive broadband directional emission published in Applied Physics Letters – Congrats to Sean!

Intermediate temperature exposure regenerates performance and active site dispersion in sintered Pd-CeO2 catalysts published in Journal of Catalysis – Congrats to Alex!

September 2022

Nanophotonic control of thermal emission under extreme temperatures in air published in Nature Nanotechnology – Congrats to Sean!

Congratulations to Sean McSherry for receiving the Research Award and Oral Presentation Award and Bosun Roy Layinde for receiving the Service Award and Poster Award at this year’s ChE Symposium.

Congratulations to Areefa for completing the Doctoral Candidacy Exam!

Congratulations to Dr. Zachary Berquist for successfully defending his thesis titled “Developing Thermally Robust Aerogels for Next-Generation Linear Solar Receivers”.

Congratulations to Dr. Alexander Hill for successfully defending his thesis titled “Controlling Nanoscale Restructuring to Improve Catalyst Activity, Stability, and Material Utilization”.

Andrej receives the Henry Russel Award, the university’s highest honor for faculty members at the early to mid-career stages of their careers.

June 2022

Air-bridge Si thermophotovoltaic cell with high photon utilization published in ACS Energy Letters – Congrats to Bosun, Tobias, and Rebecca!

Nexus of solar and thermal photovoltaic technology could help solve the energy storage problem published in Joule.

May 2022

Congrats to Andres and Carissa for passing the Doctoral Candidacy Exams!

April 2022

Bosun receives a department Climate and Culture Award for the second year in a row.

Andrej receives the NSF CAREER Award to develop new device architectures for super-efficient optoelectronic power generation and cooling.

Undergraduate researcher Sean Fernandez earns 1st Place at the Department Undergraduate Research Symposium.

March 2022

Sean McSherry receives the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship which supports outstanding doctoral students working on dissertations that are unusually creative, ambitious, and impactful.

Andrej receives the College of Engineering’s 1938E Award in recognition for outstanding teaching, counseling of students, and contributions to educational growth.

February 2022

Alex Hill for receives the College of Engineering’s Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs, who demonstrate innovation & excellence in teaching, and dedication to student success.

Zach Berquist makes it to the Chain Reaction Innovations Finals.

Andrej receives the Departmental Excellence Award in recognition for outstanding research, teaching, mentoring and service.

January 2022

Congrats: Dr. Tobias Burger!  Tobias successfully defends his dissertation titled “Eliminating out-of-band loss in thermophotovoltaic systems utilizing cell-side spectral control.”

Sustaining efficiency at elevated power densities in InGaAs airbridge thermophotovoltaic cells published in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells Congrats to Bosun! 

November 2021

DOE funds a $3.1M project to advance the use of transparent thermal insulation in solar thermal plants, led by the group.

October 2021

The group welcomes new graduate students Areefa Rahman, Andres Miranda Manon, and Carissa Yim!

Stabilizing Highly Dispersed Halo Sites in Thermally Restructured Palladium Core@shell Nanoparticles for Improved Catalyst Activity and Durability published in ACS Applied Nano Materials – Congrats to Alex Hill!

September 2021

NSF awards $2M to replace fossil fuels with solar power in fertilizer production.

Andrej was selected to join the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility Council.

Alex Hill receives the Joseph J. Martin Award which recognizes an outstanding graduate student in ChE based on scholarship, athletic ability, and service to the department.

August 2021

Bosun and Alex receive the department Climate and Culture Award for their efforts in DEI, including improving mentorship opportunities and mental well-being!

July 2021

Tunable Atomic Layer Deposition into Ultra-High-Aspect-Ratio (>60000:1) Aerogel Monoliths Enabled by Transport Modeling published in Chemistry of Materials – Congrats to Zach Berquist!

June 2021

Bosun passes the thesis proposal exam!

May 2021

Congrats: Dr. Hannah Kim!  Hannah successfully defends her dissertation entitled “Tailoring optical and thermal properties of nanostructured materials for passive radiative cooling.” Hannah will begin BASF’s competitive Leadership Development Program, which will see her travel to several locations over the next couple of years.

April 2021

The group welcomes a new postdoc, Ali Davoodabadi!

March 2021

Oluka Okia (Michigan SROP 2020, Case Western Undergrad) receives an NSF GRFP!