Karl Mueller

Karl T. Mueller
Staff Member Title: 
Laboratory Fellow
(509) 371-6550
Contact Email: 

Dr. Mueller is a Wiley Research Fellow at EMSL, advising on the Energy Materials & Processes Science Theme, and also is interim Chief Science Officer for PNNL’s Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate. He is an international expert in solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) applied to complex materials and their surfaces. He also serves as a full professor of Chemistry at Penn State.


Dr. Mueller has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles representing international expertise in solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) applied to complex materials and their surfaces. As Chief Scientist for NMR at EMSL, he sets research directions for magnetic resonance spectroscopy and leads research focused on ion structure and transport in battery materials and radionuclide transport/sequestration. He participates in multiple Office of Science research projects, including “Fate of Contaminants Released from Waste-Weathered Sediments: Scaling of Molecular Processes to Predict Reactive Transport,” through BER’s Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program and BES’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, and National Science Foundation grant for “Quantifying the Reactive Surface Area of Environmental Solids.” As interim CSO, he leads EMSL’s science vision by formulating and advocating an S&T vision that drives innovations, influences capability investment, and provides technical integration across capability groups to help ensure regional, national, and international impact aligned with BER’s missions.


1991 Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

1986 Certificate of Post Graduate Studies, Natural Sciences, Cambridge University

1985 B.S., Chemistry, University of Rochester

Awards & Honors: 
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2011.
  • Director, Penn State Center for Environmental Chemistry and Geochemistry, 2004-2008.
  • Varian Lecturer, University of Ottawa, 2007
  • Chair, NMR Symposium for Rocky Mountain Conference on Analytical Chemistry, 2006.
  • Member, organizing committee for NMR Symposium for Rocky Mountain Conference on Analytical Chemistry, 2000-2006.
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 1999Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Study Visit Fellowship, 1998
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 1997Cottrell Scholar, Research Corporation, 1996
  • Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, 1996
  • National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, 1994Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, 1992
  • NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science and Engineering, 1991NSERC of Canada International Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1991
  • Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1991 (honorary)
  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 1991 (declined)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1987-1990
  • Berkeley Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 1986-1987
  • Churchill Scholarship, Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States, 1985.
Research Interests: 

Laboratory Fellow and Lead Scientist for Magnetic Resonance, EMSL and PNNL, 2010-present.Leader and member of multidisciplinary research teams including the ChemXSeer Project (Lead PI, The Pennsylvania State University [Penn State], NSF Chemistry), the Center for Environmental Kinetics Analysis (participant, Penn State, National Science Foundation, EMSL), and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (PI, PNNL, DOE Energy Hub). Research focused on utilizing high-resolution solid-state NMR in studies of reactive surface area in the environment, reactive sites for catalytic systems, ion structure and transport in battery materials, and radionuclide transport and sequestration under extreme geochemical conditions.

Scientific positions of increasing recognition and responsibility, from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor to Full Professor of Chemistry, Penn State, 1993-present. Research focused on applications of solid-state NMR to amorphous oxides, zeolites and related solid catalysts, interfaces in the environment, and other complex systems. Applications of coherence transfer between nuclei in solids, high-field NMR of rare nuclei, and novel time- to frequency-domain transform methods for solid-state NMR. Fundamental studies of the development of cyber-enabled tools for the study of environmental kinetics.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of British Columbia, 1991-1993. Researched sample reorientation, polarization-transfer under magic-angle sample spinning, and two-dimensional NMR of solids applied to zeolites and aluminophosphates. Research advisor: Prof. Colin A. Fyfe.




  • S Ok, DW Hoyt, A Andersen, J Sheets, S Welch, DR Cole, KT Mueller, NM Washton. 2017. "Surface Interactions and Confinement of Methane: A High Pressure Magic Angle Spinning NMR and Computational Chemistry Study." Langmuir 33(6)1359-1367. 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b03590
  • EM Brozek, NM Washton, KT Mueller, I Zharov. 2017. "Silsesquioxane Nanoparticles With Reactive Internal Functional Groups." Journal of Nanoparticle Research 19(2)Article No. 85. 10.1007/s11051-017-3771-4
  • H Pan, KS Han, M Vijayakumar, J Xiao, R Cao, J Chen, J Zhang, KT Mueller, Y Shao, J Liu. 2017. "Ammonium additives to dissolve lithium sulfide through hydrogen binding for high energy lithium-sulfur batteries." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9(5)4290-4295. 10.1021/acsami.6b04158


  • X Deng, MY Hu, X Wei, W Wang, KT Mueller, Z Chen, JZ Hu. 2016. "Nuclear Magnetic resonance studies of the solvation of a high-performance nonaqueous redox flow electrolyte." Journal of Power Sources 308172-179. 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.12.005
  • Y Cheng, Y Shao, V Raju, X Ji, BL Mehdi, KS Han, MH Engelhard, G Li, ND Browning, KT Mueller, J Liu. 2016. "Molecular Storage of Mg Ions with Vanadium Oxide Nanoclusters." Advanced Functional Materials 26(20)3446-3453. 10.1002/adfm.201505501
  • R Cao, J Chen, KS Han, W Xu, D Mei, P Bhattacharya, MH Engelhard, KT Mueller, J Liu, J Zhang. 2016. "Effect of the Anion Activity on the Stability of Li Metal Anodes in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries." Advanced Functional Materials 26(18)3059-3066. 10.1002/adfm.201505074
  • X Deng, MY Hu, X Wei, W Wang, KT Mueller, Z Chen, JZ Hu. 2016. "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies of the Solvation Structures of a High-Performance Nonaqueous Redox Flow Electrolyte." Journal of Power Sources 308172-179. 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.12.005
  • H Pan, Y Shao, P Yan, Y Cheng, KS Han, Z Nie, CM Wang, J Yang, X Li, P Bhattacharya, KT Mueller, J Liu. 2016. "Reversible aqueous zinc/manganese oxide energy storage from conversion reactions." Nature Energy 1(5)Article No. 16039. 10.1038/nenergy.2016.39
  • J Chen, KS Han, WA Henderson, KC Lau, M Vijayakumar, T Dzwiniel, H Pan, LA Curtiss, J Xiao, KT Mueller, Y Shao, J Liu. 2016. "Restricting the Solubility of Polysulfides in Li-S Batteries Via Electrolyte Salt Selection." Advanced Energy Materials 6(11)Article No. 1600160. 10.1002/aenm.201600160
  • Y Cheng, D Choi, KS Han, KT Mueller, J Zhang, VL Sprenkle, J Liu, G Li. 2016. "Toward the Design of High Voltage Magnesium-Lithium Hybrid Batteries Using Dual-Salt Electrolytes." Chemical Communications 52(31)5379-5382. 10.1039/C6CC00986G
  • R Cao, K Mushra, X Li, J Qian, MH Engelhard, ME Bowden, KS Han, KT Mueller, WA Henderson, J Zhang. 2016. "Enabling room temperature sodium metal batteries." Nano Energy 30825-830. 10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.09.013
  • KS Han, NN Rajput, M Vijayakumar, X Wei, W Wang, JZ Hu, KA Persson, KT Mueller. 2016. "Preferential Solvation of an Asymmetric Redox Molecule." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 120(49)27834-27839. 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b09114
  • BL Mehdi, AJ Stevens, J Qian, C Park, W Xu, WA Henderson, J Zhang, KT Mueller, ND Browning. 2016. "The Impact of Li Grain Size on Coulombic Efficiency in Li Batteries." Scientific Reports 634267. 10.1038/srep34267
  • JH Lee, KS Han, JS Lee, AS Lee, SK Park, SY Hong, JC Lee, KT Mueller, SM Hong, CM Koo. 2016. "Facilitated Ion Transport in Smectic Ordered Ionic Liquid Crystals." Advanced Materials 28(42)9301-9307. 10.1002/adma.201602702


  • Y Cheng, RM Stolley, KS Han, Y Shao, BW Arey, NM Washton, KT Mueller, ML Helm, VL Sprenkle, J Liu, G Li. 2015. "Highly Active Electrolytes for Rechargeable Mg Batteries Based on [Mg2(μ-Cl)2]2+ Cation Complex in Dimethoxyethane." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 17(20)13307-13314. 10.1039/C5CP00859J
  • BL Mehdi, J Qian, E Nasybulin, C Park, DA Welch, R Faller, HS Mehta, WA Henderson, W Xu, CM Wang, JE Evans, J Liu, J Zhang, KT Mueller, ND Browning. 2015. "Observation and Quantification of Nanoscale Processes in Lithium Batteries by Operando Electrochemical (S)TEM." Nano Letters 15(3)2168-2176. 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00175
  • BL Mehdi, J Qian, E Nasybulin, DA Welch, C Park, R Faller, HS Mehta, WA Henderson, W Xu, JE Evans, J Liu, J Zhang, KT Mueller, ND Browning. 2015. "Quantification of Electrochemical Nanoscale Processes in Lithium Batteries By OperandoEC-(S)TEM."
  • SN Kerisit, M Vijayakumar, KS Han, KT Mueller. 2015. "Solvation structure and transport properties of alkali cations in dimethyl sulfoxide under exogenous static electric fields." Journal of Chemical Physics 142(22)224502. 10.1063/1.4921982


  • Y Shao, NN Rajput, JZ Hu, MY Hu, TL. Liu, Z Wei, M Gu, X Deng, S Xu, KS Han, J Wang, Z Nie, G Li, K Zavadil, J Xiao, CM Wang, WA Henderson, J Zhang, Y Wang, KT Mueller, KA Persson, J Liu. 2014. "Nanocomposite polymer electrolyte for rechargeable magnesium batteries." Nano Energy 2015(12)750-759. 10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.12.028
  • KS Han, NN Rajput, X Wei, W Wang, JZ Hu, KA Persson, KT Mueller. 2014. "Diffusional Motion of Redox Centers in Carbonate Electrolytes ." Journal of Chemical Physics 141(10)104509. 10.1063/1.4894481
  • RS Renslow, JT Babauta, PD Majors, HS Mehta, RJ Ewing, T Ewing, KT Mueller, H Beyenal. 2014. "A biofilm microreactor system for simultaneous electrochemical and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques." Water Science and Technology 69(5)966-973. 10.2166/wst.2013.802
  • KT Mueller, RL Sanders, NM Washton. 2014. "Clay Minerals."


  • DR Baer, MH Engelhard, GE Johnson, J Laskin, J Lai, KT Mueller, P Munusamy, S Thevuthasan, H Wang, NM Washton, AC Elder, BL Baisch, AS Karakoti, SVNT Kuchibhatla, DW Moon. 2013. "Surface Characterization of Nanomaterials and Nanoparticles: important needs and challenging opportunities." Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A--Vacuum, Surfaces and Films 31(5)Article No. 050820. 10.1116/1.4818423
  • KT Mueller, M Pruski, NM Washton, AS Lipton. 2013. "Science Drivers and Technical Challenges for Advanced Magnetic Resonance."
  • PN Reardon, KT Mueller. 2013. "Structure of the Type IVa Major Pilin from the Electrically Conductive Bacterial Nanowires of Geobacter sulfurreducens." Journal of Biological Chemistry 288(41)29260-29266. 10.1074/jbc.M113.498527
  • KA Murphy, NM Washton, JV Ryan, CG Pantano, KT Mueller. 2013. "Solid-State NMR Examination of Alteration Layers on a Nuclear Waste Glasses." Journal of Non-crystalline Solids 36944-54. 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2013.03.021
  • DJ Roach, S Dou, RH Colby, KT Mueller. 2013. "Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Investigation of Polymer Backbone Dynamics in Poly(Ethylene Oxide) Based Lithium and Sodium Polyether-ester-sulfonate Ionomers." Journal of Chemical Physics 138(19)Article No. 194907. 10.1063/1.4804654
  • S Gin, A Abdelouas, LJ Criscenti, WL Ebert, K Ferrand, T Geisler, MT Harrison, Y Inagaki, S Mitsui, KT Mueller, JC Marra, CG Pantano, EM Pierce, JV Ryan, JM Schofield, CI Steefel, JD Vienna. 2013. "An international initiative on long-term behavior of high-level nuclear waste glass." Materials Today 16(6)243-248. 10.1016/j.mattod.2013.06.008


  • RL Sanders, NM Washton, KT Mueller. 2012. "Atomic-level studies of the depletion in reactive sites during clay mineral dissolution." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 92100-116. 10.1016/j.gca.2012.05.038
  • DJ Roach, S Dou, RH Colby, KT Mueller. 2012. "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Investigation of Dynamics in Poly(Ethylene Oxide) Based Lithium Polyether-ester-sulfonate Ionomers." Journal of Chemical Physics 136(1)Article No. 014510. 10.1063/1.3669449


  • BK Ahring, NS Baliga, JR Frederickson, S Kaplan, HB Pakrasi, JG Pounds, I shah, S Slater, G Stacey, KJ Auberry, DR Baer, DML Brown, DE Cowley, DW Hoyt, DW Koppenaal, BE Linggi, KT Mueller, G Orr, EW Robinson, RG Teller, HS Wiley, NJ Hess, L Pasa-Tolic, KM Waters, KD Rodland. 2011. "Biological Interactions and Dynamics Science Theme Advisory Panel (BID-STAP)."
  • CT Campbell, AK Datye, GA Henkelman, RF Lobo, WF Schneider, LD Spicer, WT Tysoe, JM Vohs, DR Baer, DW Hoyt, S Thevuthasan, KT Mueller, CM Wang, NM Washton, I Lyubinetsky, RG Teller, A Andersen, N Govind, K Kowalski, BC Kabius, H Wang, AA Campbell, WA Shelton, EJ Bylaska, CHF Peden, Y Wang, DL King, MA Henderson, RJ Rousseau, J Szanyi, Z Dohnalek, D Mei, BC Garrett, D Ray, JH Futrell, J Laskin, DL DuBois, LR Kuprat, C Plata. 2011. "EMSL and Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC) Catalysis Workshop."
  • GE Brown, A Chaka, DK Shuh, EE Roden, CJ Werth, NJ Hess, AR Felmy, KM Rosso, DR Baer, VL Bailey, ME Bowden, JW Grate, DW Hoyt, LR Kuprat, AS Lea, KT Mueller, M Oostrom, G Orr, L Pasa-Tolic, C Plata, EW Robinson, RG Teller, S Thevuthasan, H Wang, HS Wiley, MJ Wilkins. 2011. "EMSL Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry and Subsurface Science-Science Theme Advisory Panel Meeting."
  • DM Strachan, EC Buck, KT Mueller, JM Schwantes, MJ Olszta, S Thevuthasan, RM Heeren. 2011. "Analytical Plan for Roman Glasses."


  • MC Davis, WJ Brouwer, AS Lipton, Z Gan, KT Mueller. 2010. "Characterization of cation environments in polycrystalline forsterite by Mg-25 MAS, MQMAS, and QCPMG NMR ." American Mineralogist 95(11-12)1601-1607. 10.2138/am.2010.3403


  • MC Davis, WJ Brouwer, DJ Wesolowski, LM Anovitz, AS Lipton, KT Mueller. 2009. "Magnesium Silicate Dissolution Investigated by 29Si MAS, 1H-29Si CP MAS, 25Mg QCPMG, and 1H-25Mg CP QCPMG NMR." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 11(32)7013-7021. 10.1039/b907494e


  • J Chorover, S Choi, P Rotenberg, RJeffrey Serne, N Rivera, CR Strepka, A Thompson, KT Mueller, PA O'Day. 2008. "Silicon control of strontium and cesium partitioning in hydroxide-weathered sediments." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72(8)2024-2047. 10.1016/j.gca.2008.01.026
  • J Chorover, S Choi, P Rotenberg, RJeffrey Serne, N Rivera, CR Strepka, A Thompson, KT Mueller, PA O'Day. 2008. "Silicon Control of Strontium and Cesium Partitioning in Hydroxide-Weathered Sediments." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72(8)2024-2047.


  • GM Bowers, MC Davis, R Ravella, S Komarneni, KT Mueller. 2007. "NMR Studies of Heat-Induced Transitions in Structure and Cation Binding Environments of a Strontium-Saturated Swelling Mica." Applied Magnetic Resonance 32(4)595-612. 10.1007/s00723-007-0042-z


  • GM Bowers, AS Lipton, KT Mueller. 2006. "High-field QCPMG NMR of Strontium Nuclei in Natural Minerals." Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance 29(1-3)95-103.
  • GM Bowers, R Ravella, S Komarneni, KT Mueller. 2006. "NMR Study of Strontium Binding by a Micaceous Mineral." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 110(14)7159-7164.
  • GS Crosson, S Choi, J Chorover, MK Amistadi, PA O'Day, KT Mueller. 2006. "Solid-State NMR Identification and Quantification of Newly Formed Aluminosilicate Phases in Weathered Kaolinite Systems." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 110(2)723-732.


  • S Choi, GS Crosson, KT Mueller, Array seraphin, J Chorover. 2005. "Clay mineral weathering and contaminant dynamics in a casutic aqueous sytem II. Mineral transformation and microscale partitioning." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 69(18)4437-4451. 10.1016/j/gvs/2005.04.004