Materials Scientist
Materials Scientist


Elias Nakouzi is a materials scientist in the Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is interested in understanding nanomaterial crystallization, interactions, and assembly for applications in chemical separations, materials synthesis, and environmental management. Previously, Nakouzi  was a Pauling Fellow and led the development of 3D atomic force microscopy for investigating interfacial solution structure. Nakouzi earned his PhD in physical chemistry from Florida State University where he studied biomimetic crystallization and self-assembly of materials across scales. Nakouzi received a MSc in physical chemistry from the American University of Beirut and a BSc in chemistry from Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon.

Research Interest

  • Materials science
  • Non-equilibrium thermodynamics
  • Chemical separations
  • Solid-liquid interfaces
  • Nanoparticle interactions and assembly
  • Atomic force microscopy


  • PhD in physical chemistry, Florida State University (FSU)
  • MSc in physical chemistry, American University of Beirut (AUB)
  • BSc in chemistry, University of Notre Dame

Awards and Recognitions

  • Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017
  • Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship, International Centre for Diffraction Data, 2015, 2016
  • Edward Kraus Crystallographic Research Fund, Mineralogical Society of America, 2015
  • Jyo Dalal Physical Chemistry Research Award, FSU, 2015
  • Hoffman Endowment Fellowship, FSU, 2012
  • Abdul Hadi Debs Endowment Award for Academic Research Excellence, AUB, 2011



  • Sassi M., S.N. Kerisit, P. Simonnin, B.A. Legg, E. Nakouzi, Y. Zhu, and T.C. Johnson, et al. 2023. "Quantifying the impact of electric fields on the local structure and migration of potassium ions at the orthoclase (001) surface." Journal of Physical Chemistry C. PNNL-SA-182868.
  • Alberstein R.G., J.L. Prelesnik, E. Nakouzi, S. Zhang, J.J. De Yoreo, W.J. Pfaendtner, and F.A. Tezcan, et al. 2023. "Discrete orientations of interfacial waters direct crystallization of mica-binding proteins." The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 14, no. 1:80–87. PNNL-SA-178070. doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.2c02948
  • Nakouzi E., S.N. Kerisit, B.A. Legg, S.B. Yadav, D. Li, A.G. Stack, and C.J. Mundy, et al. 2023. "Solution structure and hydration forces between mica and hydrophilic versus hydrophobic surfaces." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 127, no. 5:2741-2752. PNNL-SA-179604. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.2c09120


  • De Yoreo J.J., E. Nakouzi, B. Jin, J. Chun, and C.J. Mundy. 2022. "Spiers Memorial Lecture: Assembly-based pathways of crystallization." Faraday Discussions 235. PNNL-SA-172323. doi:10.1039/d2fd00061j
  • Wang Q., E. Nakouzi, E.A. Ryan, and C. Venkata Subban. 2022. "Flow-Assisted Selective Mineral Extraction from Seawater." Environmental Science & Technology Letters 9, no. 7:645-649. PNNL-SA-170825. doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00229


  • Nakouzi E., A.G. Stack, S.N. Kerisit, B.A. Legg, C.J. Mundy, G.K. Schenter, and J. Chun, et al. 2021. "Moving beyond the Solvent-Tip Approximation to Determine Site-Specific Variations of Interfacial Water Structure through 3D Force Microscopy." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 125, no. 2:1282-1291. PNNL-SA-152623. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c07901
  • Nakouzi E., S.B. Yadav, B.A. Legg, S. Zhang, J. Tao, C.J. Mundy, and G.K. Schenter, et al. 2021. "Visualizing Solution Structure at Solid-Liquid Interfaces Using Three-Dimensional Fast Force Mapping." Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). PNNL-SA-159747. doi:10.3791/62585
  • Zhang X., A.S. Lea, A.M. Chaka, J.S. Loring, S.T. Mergelsberg, E. Nakouzi, and O. Qafoku, et al. 2021. "In Situ Imaging of Amorphous Intermediates During Brucite Carbonation in Supercritical CO2." Nature Materials 21, no. 3:345-351. PNNL-SA-156266. doi:10.1038/s41563-021-01154-5


  • Huang X., Q. Zhao, R.P. Young, X. Zhang, E.D. Walter, Y. Chen, and E. Nakouzi, et al. 2020. "Photo-production of Reactive Oxygen Species and Degradation of Dissolved Organic Matter by Hematite Nanoplates Functionalized by Adsorbed Oxalate." Environmental Science: Nano 7, no. 8:2278-2292. PNNL-SA-148918. doi:10.1039/D0EN00365D
  • Ilton E.S., L. Kovarik, E. Nakouzi, S.T. Mergelsberg, M.E. McBriarty, and E.J. Bylaska. 2020. "Using Atom Dynamics to Map the Defect Structure Around an Impurity in Nano-Hematite." The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 11, no. 24:10396-10400. PNNL-SA-153756. doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c02798
  • Krzysko A., E. Nakouzi, X. Zhang, T.R. Graham, K.M. Rosso, G.K. Schenter, and J. Ilavsky, et al. 2020. "Correlating inter-particle forces and particle shape to shear-induced aggregation/fragmentation and rheology for dilute anisotropic particle suspensions: a complementary study via capillary rheometry and in situ small and ultra-small angle X-ray scattering." Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 576. PNNL-SA-148317. doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2020.04.016
  • Liu L., E. Nakouzi, M.L. Sushko, G.K. Schenter, C.J. Mundy, J. Chun, and J.J. De Yoreo. 2020. "Connecting energetics to dynamics in particle growth by oriented attachment using real-time observations." Nature Communications 11, no. 1:1045. PNNL-SA-148131. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-14719-w
  • Qafoku O., L. Kovarik, M.E. Bowden, E. Nakouzi, A. Sheng, J. Liu, and C.I. Pearce, et al. 2020. "Nanoscale Observations of Fe(II)-Induced Ferrihydrite Transformation." Environmental Science Nano 7, no. 10:2953-2967. PNNL-SA-155340. doi:10.1039/D0EN00730G
  • Song M., G. Zhou, N. Lu, J. Lee, E. Nakouzi, H. Wang, and D. Li. 2020. "Oriented Attachment Induces Fivefold Twins by Forming and Decomposing High-Energy Grain Boundaries." Science 367, no. 6473:40-45. PNNL-SA-149217. doi:10.1126/science.aax6511


  • Kessenich B.L., N. Pokhrel, E. Nakouzi, C.J. Newcomb, M. Flury, L. Maibaum, and J.J. De Yoreo. 2019. "Connecting wettability, topography, and chemistry in a simple lipid-montmorillonite system." Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 555. PNNL-SA-150096. doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2019.07.075
  • Lee J., E. Nakouzi, D. Xiao, Z. Wu, M. Song, C. Ophus, and J. Chun, et al. 2019. "Interplay between Short and Long-Ranged Forces Leading to the Formation of Ag Nanoparticle Superlattice." Small 15, no. 33:Article Number 1901966. PNNL-SA-142641. doi:10.1002/smll.201901966
  • Liu L., M.L. Sushko, E.C. Buck, X. Zhang, L. Kovarik, Z. Shen, and J. Tao, et al. 2019. "Revisiting the Growth Mechanism of Hierarchical Semiconductor Nanostructures: The Role of Secondary Nucleation in Branch Formation." The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 10, no. 21:6827-6834. PNNL-SA-147896. doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.9b02110
  • Soltis J.A., M.E. McBriarty, O. Qafoku, S.N. Kerisit, E. Nakouzi, J.J. De Yoreo, and E.S. Ilton. 2019. "Can Mineral Growth by Oriented Attachment Lead to Incorporation of Uranium(VI) into the Structure of Goethite?." Environmental Science Nano 6, no. 10:3000-3009. PNNL-SA-145133. doi:10.1039/c9en00779b


  • Anovitz L.M., X. Zhang, J.A. Soltis, E. Nakouzi, A. Krzysko, J. Chun, and G.K. Schenter, et al. 2018. "Effects of Ionic Strength, Salt, and pH on Aggregation of Boehmite Nanocrystals: Tumbler Small-Angle Neutron and X-ray Scattering and Imaging Analysis." Langmuir 34, no. 51:15839-15853. PNNL-SA-132707. doi:10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b00865
  • Cheng Y., J. Tao, G. Zhu, J.A. Soltis, B.A. Legg, E. Nakouzi, and J.J. De Yoreo, et al. 2018. "Near Surface Nucleation and Particle Mediated Growth of Colloidal Au Nanocrystals." Nanoscale 10, no. 25:11907 - 11912. PNNL-SA-135333. doi:10.1039/c8nr03408g
  • Lee J., E. Nakouzi, M. Song, B. Wang, J. Chun, and D. Li. 2018. "Mechanistic understanding of the growth kinetics and dynamics of nanoparticle superlattices by coupling interparticle forces from real-time measurements." ACS Nano 12, no. 12:12778-12787. PNNL-SA-136036. doi:10.1021/acsnano.8b07880
  • Nakouzi E., H. Fares, J.B. Schlenoff, and O. Steinbock. 2018. "Polyelectrolyte Complex Films Influence the Formation of Polycrystalline Micro-Structures." Soft Matter 14, no. 16:3164-3170. PNNL-SA-132766. doi:10.1039/C7SM02466E
  • Nakouzi E., J.A. Soltis, B.A. Legg, G.K. Schenter, X. Zhang, T. Graham, and K.M. Rosso, et al. 2018. "Impact of Solution Chemistry and Particle Anisotropy on the Collective Dynamics of Oriented Aggregation." ACS Nano 12, no. 10:10114-10122. PNNL-SA-138292. doi:10.1021/acsnano.8b04909
  • Nakouzi E., J.A. Soltis, B.A. Legg, G.K. Schenter, X. Zhang, T.R. Graham, and K.M. Rosso, et al. 2018. "Impact of Solution Chemistry and Particle Anistropy on the Collective Dynamics of Oriented Aggregation." ACS Nano 12, no. 10:10114-10122. PNNL-SA-132757. doi:10.1021/acsnano.8b04909