Shawn Litster

Carnegie Mellon University

Professor Litster’s research focuses on sustainable energy conversion technologies that leverage nano- and micro-scale transport phenomena for enhanced performance and new functionality. He is particularly interested in research that combines electrochemistry and electrokinetics with the mechanical engineering fundamentals of fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and design. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is poised to become an important bridge between sustainable energy resources and end-user services (i.e. transportation). Litster’s research addresses technical obstacles to wide-spread adoption of fuel cells, such as effectively utilizing the costly platinum catalyst used in the electrodes. Unique capabilities in his group include microstructured electrode scaffold diagnostics, which have enabled the first through-plane potential measurements through the thickness of operating fuel cell and aqueous battery electrodes. These measurements assist researchers in pinpointing the loss the mechanisms that reduce energy conversion efficiency as well as assist in elucidating fundamental phenomena. These experimental methods are combined with advanced computational models of the micro-/nano-scale phenomena to identify directions for future material and device development.


  • B.Eng. 2004, University of Victoria
  • M.A.Sc. 2005, University of Victoria
  • Ph.D. 2008, Stanford University