General Lab Information

Esther Tsai

Staff Scientist, Electronic Materials, Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Esther Tsai

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Center for Functional Nanomaterials
Bldg. 735, Room 2029
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-6149

Research | Education | Appointments | Publications | Highlights

Research Activities

Esther’s research aims to develop new X-ray characterization methods and advanced analysis platforms for synchrotron X-ray scattering and imaging techniques. AI/ML methods and reconstruction algorithms can be utilized for example to enhance spatial or spectral resolution, reveal chemical relevance, as well as suggest optimal experimental configuration/procedures.

As part of the partner-user program with NSLS-II, Esther provides support for users on small-angle and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) experiments at beamlines 11-BM (CMS) and 12-ID (SMI). Contact her if you have any questions!


  • BSEE (2009) Purdue University, USA
    • Electrical Engineering (major), Economics (minor)
  • PhD (2014) Purdue University, USA
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Thesis: Optimization-Based Optical and Terahertz Imaging

Professional Appointments

  • Paul Scherrer Institute (2015 - 2018), Switzerland
    • Postdoctoral research at beamline cSAXS, Swiss Light Source
    • X-ray ptychographic tomography

Selected Publications

  • Barbour A, Cai YQ, Fluerasu A, et al (2023) X-Ray Scattering for Soft Matter Research at NSLS-II. Synchrotron Radiation News 36:24–30.
  • Wentz CM, Lachmayr KK, Tsai EHR, Sita LR (2023) Rapid Phase Transitions of Thermotropic Glycolipid Quasicrystal and Frank-Kasper Mesophases: A Mechanistic Rosetta Stone. Angewandte Chemie 135:.
  • Li W, Sidhik S, Traore B, et al (2021) Light-activated interlayer contraction in two-dimensional perovskites for high-efficiency solar cells. Nature Nanotechnology 17:45–52.
  • Tsai EHR, Xia Y, Fukuto M, Loo Y-L, Li R (2021) Grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction tomography for characterizing organic thin films. Journal of Applied Crystallography. doi: 10.1107/s1600576721007184
  • Hassenkam T, Tsai EHR, Sørensen HO, Dalby KN, Mackenzie DMA, Holler M, Ferreira D, Grolimund D, Bruns S, Rosing MT (2021) Direct evidence for eoarchean iron metabolism? Geobiology 19:218–227. doi: 10.1111/gbi.12432
  • Gu K, Wang Y, Li R, Tsai E, Onorato JW, Luscombe CK, Priestley RD, Loo Y-L (2020) Role of Postdeposition Thermal Annealing on Intracrystallite and Intercrystallite Structuring and Charge Transport in Poly(3-hexylthiophene). ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 13:999–1007. doi: 10.1021/acsami.0c16676
  • Leniart AA, Pula P, Tsai EHR, Majewski PW (2020) Large-Grained Cylindrical Block Copolymer Morphologies by One-Step Room-Temperature Casting. Macromolecules 53:11178–11189. doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.0c02026
  • Levine AM, Bu G, Biswas S, Tsai EHR, Braunschweig AB, Nannenga BL (2020) Crystal structure and orientation of organic semiconductor thin films by microcrystal electron diffraction and grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering. Chemical Communications 56:4204–4207. doi: 10.1039/d0cc00119h
  • Tran HT, Tsai EHR, Lewis AJ, Moors T, Bol JGJM, Rostami I, Diaz A, Jonker AJ, Guizar-Sicairos M, Raabe J, Stahlberg H, van de Berg WDJ, Holler M, Shahmoradian SH (2020) Alterations in Sub-Axonal Architecture Between Normal Aging and Parkinson's Diseased Human Brains Using Label-Free Cryogenic X-ray Nanotomography. Frontiers in Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.570019
  • Tsai EHR, Marone F, Guizar-Sicairos M (2019) Gridrec-MS: an algorithm for multi-slice tomography. Optics Letters 44:2181. doi: 10.1364/ol.44.002181
  • Tsai EHR, Billaud J, Sanchez DF, Ihli J, Odstrcil M, Holler M, Grolimund D, Villevieille C, Guizar-Sicairos M (2019) Correlated X-Ray 3D Ptychography and Diffraction Microscopy Visualize Links between Morphology and Crystal Structure of Lithium-Rich Cathode Materials. iScience 11:356–365. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2018.12.028
  • Holler M, Guizar-Sicairos M, Tsai EHR, Dinapoli R, Müller E, Bunk O, Raabe J, Aeppli G (2017) High-resolution non-destructive three-dimensional imaging of integrated circuits. Nature 543:402–406. doi: 10.1038/nature21698
  • Tsai EHR, Usov I, Diaz A, Menzel A, Guizar-Sicairos M (2016) X-ray ptychography with extended depth of field. Optics Express 24:29089. doi: 10.1364/oe.24.029089

Research Highlights

Four Brookhaven Scientists Receive Early Career Research Awards (2023)

The Mystery of the Flexible Shell (2021)

Machine Learning Accelerates High-Resolution X-ray Imaging (2020) 

CFN Staff Spotlight: Esther Tsai Brings Expertise in X-ray Imaging (2019)

[User Science] First Long-Lived Perovskite Solar Cells Developed (L Loo, Princeton, 2022) 

[User Science] Solar Energy Collectors Grown From Seeds (A Mohite, Rice University, 2021) 

[User Science] At the Interface of Organic Chemistry and Nanotechnology with Adam Braunschweig (CUNY, 2020) 

Esther Tsai

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Center for Functional Nanomaterials
Bldg. 735, Room 2029
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-6149

Esther's Links