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Paul A. Fenter

Senior Physicist, Group Leader/Argonne Distinguished Fellow


Paul Fenter is the Director of the Center for Electrochemical Energy Science, a U.S. Department of Energy-funded Energy Frontier Research Center that seeks to understand the complex interfacial reactivity and reaction pathways in lithium-ion battery systems. He is also a Senior Physicist and Group Leader for Interfacial Processes in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division.

Dr. Fenter joined Argonne in 1997 after earning his PhD in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania and completing his postdoctoral studies at Princeton University. He has a BS in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (magna cum laude).

His research probes the structure and reactivity of solid-liquid interfaces through the use and development of novel synchrotron X-ray scattering, spectroscopy, and microscopy techniques at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source.

Dr. Fenter is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the winner of the 2012 Bertram E. Warren Diffraction Physics Award from the American Crystallographic Association. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, and Geochemical Society.


1990    Ph.D. (Physics) University of Pennsylvania
1984    B.S. (Physics)   Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


2012    Bertram E. Warren Diffraction Physics Award (American Crystallographic Association)

2018    Argonne National Laboratory Board of Governors’ Distinguished Performance Award


2007    Fellow, American Physical Society

Selected Publications:

More than 160 publications, including refereed journal articles, edited books, book chapters, and review articles:

  • P. Fenter, P. Geissbühler, E. DiMasi, G. Srajer, L. B. Sorensen, N. C. Sturchio, Surface Speciation of Calcite Observed In Situ by High Resolution X-ray Reflectivity”, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 64, 1221-1228 (2000).
  • Applications of Synchrotron Radiation in Low-Temperature Geochemistry and Environmental Science, Edited by P. Fenter, M. Rivers, N. C. Sturchio and S. Sutton (Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Vol. 49), Geochemical Society (2002).
  • P. Fenter and N. C. Sturchio, Mineral-Water Interfacial Structures Revealed by Synchrotron X-ray Scattering” Progress in Surface Science 77, 171-258 (2004).
  • P. Fenter, C. Park, and Z. Zhang, Y. Wang Observation of Subnanometre-high Surface Topography with X-ray Reflection Phase-Contrast Microscopy”, Nature Physics 2(10) 700-704 (2006). 
  • P. Fenter, S. Kerisit, P. Raiteri, J. D. Gale, Is the Calcite-Water Interface Understood?  Direct Comparisons of Molecular Dynamics Simulations with Specular X-ray Reflectivity Data”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117(10), 5028-5042 (2013).
  • Fenter and S. S. Lee, Hydration Layer Structure at Solid/Water Interfaces”, MRS Bulletin, Special issue: Water at Functional Interfaces”, S. Garde and M. Schlossman, Editors, (2014).
  • T. T. Fister, X. Hu, J. Esbenshade, X. Chen, J. Wu, V. Dravid, M. Bedzyk, B. Long, A. A. Gewirth, B. Shi, C. M. Schlepütz, P. Fenter, Dimensionally-controlled lithiation of chromium oxide”, Chemistry of Materials, 28(1), 47–54 (2015).
  • S. S. Lee, P. Fenter, K. L. Nagy, and N. C. Sturchio, Real-time observation of cation exchange kinetics and dynamics at the muscovite–water interface”, Nature Communications, 8, 15826 (2017).
  • J. Medina-Ramos, W. Zhang, K. Yoon, P. Bai, A. Chemburkar, W. Tang, A. Atifi, S.S. Lee, T. T. Fister, B.J. Ingram, A. van Duin; M. Neurock, J. Rosenthal, Paul Fenter, Cathodic Corrosion at the Bismuth-Ionic Liquid Electrolyte Interface under Conditions for CO2 Reduction”, Chemistry of Materials, 30(7) 2362-2373 (2018).