Scientist Eric Stach Named Special Assistant for New Operando Initiative at Brookhaven Lab

Ongoing research will focus on real-time, real-world energy experiments at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials and National Synchrotron Light Source II

Eric Stach enlarge

Eric Stach, Electron Microscopy Group Leader at CFN and Special Assistant for Operando Experimentation

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory is developing world-leading experimental techniques and instruments to study emerging energy technologies in real time under real operating conditions. These so-called in operando techniques offer unparalleled insights into battery chemistries, fuel cell catalysts, and other sustainable energy sources.

To advance this work, Eric Stach, Group Leader for the Electron Microscopy Group in Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), has been named Special Assistant for Operando Experimentation for the Energy Sciences Directorate, effective February 1, 2015. 

"There is an incredible suite of instruments at the CFN and coming on line at NSLS-II that will position Brookhaven as a world leader in these areas. I look forward to being a part of the effort.”

— Eric Stach

Operando experimentation combines cutting-edge equipment and techniques in Brookhaven’s CFN and National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—both DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

“I am really excited to serve Brookhaven in this role,” Stach said. “Since moving here five years ago, I’ve been working with colleagues to develop improved methods for operando studies in catalysis and energy storage.  There is an incredible suite of instruments at the CFN and coming on line at NSLS-II that will position Brookhaven as a world leader in these areas. I look forward to being a part of the effort.”

Stach will now lead strategic planning, coordinate research activities, and advance the standing of operando techniques in government and commercial applications. 

In his new role, Stach will report to James Misewich, Associate Lab Director for Brookhaven’s Energy Sciences Directorate. Stach, who will maintain his leadership role in CFN’s Electron Microscopy Group reporting to CFN Director Emilio Mendez, is recognized for research that focuses on the development and application techniques to solve materials problems in nanostructure growth, catalysis, thin film growth, and materials deformation using a wide range of pioneering electron microscopy techniques.

“Eric is an outstanding and innovative scientist who has made significant contributions to not just electron microscopy, but also Brookhaven’s entire portfolio of energy research,” Misewich said. “He is a key part of ongoing collaborations between CFN and NSLS-II, and I have no doubt about the high-caliber discoveries on the horizon.  I am very excited about our growing operando capabilities, which are crucial to the Laboratory’s increasing emphasis on energy solutions.”

Operando experimentation allows researchers to simultaneously characterize a material while precisely measuring its performance and function. For example, this allows scientists to track how the crystal structure of a battery electrode changes as the battery moves through cycles of charge and discharge. This holistic portrait of the technology in action opens new pathways to improve performance and design.

Brookhaven Lab researchers excel at operando work in part because of their expertise in using both photons at NSLS-II and electrons at CFN for imaging, diffraction, and spectroscopy studies. Brookhaven’s Center for Data-Driven Discovery also offers an important tool to staff scientists and the user community, as it will enhance analysis of CFN and NSLS-II data and accelerate the discovery of new materials.

After obtaining a B.S.E. degree 1992 from Duke University, Stach earned a M.S.M.S.E from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia in 1998.  From there, he served as a staff scientist and principal investigator at the National Center for Electron Microscopy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory until 2004.  In 2005, Stach joined the School of Materials Engineering, Purdue University as an Associate, then Full Professor, and in 2010 came to Brookhaven National Laboratory and was named Scientist and Group Leader of the Electron Microscopy Group at the CFN.  Stach is credited more than 250 publications and was awarded the Microscopy Society of America’s Eli F. Burton (Young Scientist) Award in 2009, and in 2013 he was named a Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.  For more information, please visit

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