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Karl Mueller

Physical & Computational Sciences
Chief Science & Tech Officer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K9-90
Richland, WA 99352


Karl Mueller is a physical chemist who currently serves as both the Chief Science and Technology Officer for the Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate, as well as Interim Sector Manager for the Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Office. In these roles, he leads and advocates a science and technology vision that builds scientific reputation and provides technical integration to ensure regional, national, and international impact.

Dr. Mueller also is a Laboratory Fellow, focusing primarily on scientific research on the development and utilization of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques. His most recent studies are driven by outstanding and unresolved questions in materials and environmental science that require advanced characterization tools and multi-disciplinary/multi-modal approaches. Moreover, Dr. Mueller and his research team are studying the transport of conducting species in new battery materials as part of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, where he is the Lead Scientist for Cross Cutting Science and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s lead principal investigator on the project.

Research Interests

  • Molecular-level details of fundamental reactions in the environment, such as pollutant uptake in soils
  • Soil/mineral coupling
  • Radionuclide weathering under harsh geochemical conditions at chemical waste sites

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Chemistry, 1991
  • Certificate of Post Graduate Studies, Churchill Scholar, Cambridge University, 1986
  • B.S. (summa cum laude) University of Rochester, Chemistry, 1985

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Chemical Society
  • Materials Research Society
  • Electrochemical Society

Awards and Recognitions

  • Member of the Science Advisory Council for the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, 2015-present
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012
  • University of Ottawa Varian Lecturer, 2007
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 1999
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, 1997
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar, 1996
  • Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, 1996
  • National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, 1994
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, 1992
  • Member of external review panels for the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy

PNNL Publications


  • Perdrial N, A Vazquez-Ortega, G Wang, M Kanematsu, KT Mueller, W Um, CI Steefel, PA O'Day, and JD Chorover. 2018. "Uranium speciation in acid waste-weathered sediments: The role of aging and phosphate amendments." Applied Geochemistry 89:109-120.  doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2017.12.001


  • Adams BDG, EV Carino, JG Connell, KS Han, R Cao, J Chen, J Zheng, Q Li, KT Mueller, WA Henderson, and J Zhang. 2017. "Long term stability of Li-S batteries using high concentration lithium nitrate electrolytes." Nano Energy 40:607-617.  doi:10.1016/j.nanoen.2017.09.015
  • Brozek EM, NM Washton, KT Mueller, and I Zharov. 2017. "Silsesquioxane Nanoparticles With Reactive Internal Functional Groups." Journal of Nanoparticle Research 19(2):Article No. 85.  doi:10.1007/s11051-017-3771-4
  • Butler M, HS Mehta, Y Chen, PN Reardon, RS Renslow, M Khbeis, D Irish, and KT Mueller. 2017. "Toward high-resolution NMR spectroscopy of microscopic liquid samples." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 19(22):14256-14261.  doi:10.1039/c7cp01933e
  • Chen J, WA Henderson, H Pan, BR Perdue, R Cao, JZ Hu, C Wan, KS Han, KT Mueller, J Zhang, Y Shao, and J Liu. 2017. "Improving Lithium-sulfur Battery Performance under Lean Electrolyte through Nanoscale Confinement in Soft Swellable Gels." Nano Letters 17(5):3061-3067.  doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00417
  • Chen Y, HS Mehta, M Butler, ED Walter, PN Reardon, RS Renslow, KT Mueller, and NM Washton. 2017. "High-Resolution Microstrip NMR Detectors for Subnanoliter Samples." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 19(41):28163-28174.  doi:10.1039/c7cp03933f
  • Han KS, J Chen, R Cao, NN Rajput, V Murugesan, L Shi, H Pan, J Zhang, J Liu, KA Persson, and KT Mueller. 2017. "Effects of Anion Mobility on Electrochemical Behaviors of Lithium-Sulfur Batteries." Chemistry of Materials 29(21):9023-9029.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b02105
  • Murugesan V, KS Han, J Hu, and KT Mueller. 2017. "Molecular Level Structure and Dynamics of Electrolytes Using 17O Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy." eMagRes 6(1):71-82.  doi:10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1529
  • Nandasiri MI, LE Camacho-Forero, AM Schwarz, V Shutthanandan, S Thevuthasan, PB Balbuena, KT Mueller, and V Murugesan. 2017. "In-situ chemical imaging of Solid-Electrolyte Interphase layer evolution in Li-S batteries." Chemistry of Materials 29(11):4728-4737.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b00374
  • Ok S, DW Hoyt, A Andersen, J Sheets, S Welch, DR Cole, KT Mueller, and 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.  doi:10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b03590
  • Pan H, J Chen, R Cao, V Murugesan, NN Rajput, KS Han, KA Persson, L Estevez, MH Engelhard, J Zhang, KT Mueller, Y Cui, Y Shao, and J Liu. 2017. "Non Encapsulation Approach for High Performance Li-S Batteries through Controlled Nucleation and Growth." Nature Energy 2:813-820.  doi:10.1038/s41560-017-0005-z
  • Pan H, KS Han, M Vijayakumar, J Xiao, R Cao, J Chen, J Zhang, KT Mueller, Y Shao, and 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.  doi:10.1021/acsami.6b04158
  • Rajput NN, V Murugesan, Y Shin, KS Han, KC Lau, J Chen, J Liu, LA Curtiss, KT Mueller, and KA Persson. 2017. "Elucidating the Solvation Structure and Dynamics of Lithium Polysulfides resulting from Competitive Salt and Solvent Interactions." Chemistry of Materials 29(8):3375-3379.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b00068
  • Wan C, S Xu, MY Hu, R Cao, J Qian, Z Qin, J Liu, KT Mueller, J Zhang, and JZ Hu. 2017. "Multinuclear NMR Study of the Solid Electrolyte Interface Formed in Lithium Metal Batteries." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9(17):14741-14748.  doi:10.1021/acsami.6b15383


  • Cao R, J Chen, KS Han, W Xu, D Mei, P Bhattacharya, MH Engelhard, KT Mueller, J Liu, and 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.  doi:10.1002/adfm.201505074
  • Cao R, K Mushra, X Li, J Qian, MH Engelhard, ME Bowden, KS Han, KT Mueller, WA Henderson, and J Zhang. 2016. "Enabling room temperature sodium metal batteries." Nano Energy 30:825-830.  doi:10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.09.013
  • Chen J, KS Han, WA Henderson, KC Lau, M Vijayakumar, T Dzwiniel, H Pan, LA Curtiss, J Xiao, KT Mueller, Y Shao, and J Liu. 2016. "Restricting the Solubility of Polysulfides in Li-S Batteries Via Electrolyte Salt Selection." Advanced Energy Materials 6(11):Article No. 1600160.  doi:10.1002/aenm.201600160
  • Cheng Y, D Choi, KS Han, KT Mueller, J Zhang, VL Sprenkle, J Liu, and G Li. 2016. "Toward the Design of High Voltage Magnesium-Lithium Hybrid Batteries Using Dual-Salt Electrolytes." Chemical Communications 52(31):5379-5382.  doi:10.1039/C6CC00986G
  • Cheng Y, Y Shao, V Raju, X Ji, BL Mehdi, KS Han, MH Engelhard, G Li, ND Browning, KT Mueller, and J Liu. 2016. "Molecular Storage of Mg Ions with Vanadium Oxide Nanoclusters." Advanced Functional Materials 26(20):3446-3453.  doi:10.1002/adfm.201505501
  • Deng X, MY Hu, X Wei, W Wang, KT Mueller, Z Chen, and JZ Hu. 2016. "Nuclear Magnetic resonance studies of the solvation of a high-performance nonaqueous redox flow electrolyte." Journal of Power Sources 308:172-179.  doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.12.005
  • Deng X, MY Hu, X Wei, W Wang, KT Mueller, Z Chen, and JZ Hu. 2016. "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies of the Solvation Structures of a High-Performance Nonaqueous Redox Flow Electrolyte." Journal of Power Sources 308:172-179.  doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.12.005
  • Han KS, NN Rajput, M Vijayakumar, X Wei, W Wang, JZ Hu, KA Persson, and KT Mueller. 2016. "Preferential Solvation of an Asymmetric Redox Molecule." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 120(49):27834-27839.  doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b09114
  • Lee JH, KS Han, JS Lee, AS Lee, SK Park, SY Hong, JC Lee, KT Mueller, SM Hong, and CM Koo. 2016. "Facilitated Ion Transport in Smectic Ordered Ionic Liquid Crystals." Advanced Materials 28(42):9301-9307.  doi:10.1002/adma.201602702
  • Mehdi BL, AJ Stevens, J Qian, C Park, W Xu, WA Henderson, J Zhang, KT Mueller, and ND Browning. 2016. "The Impact of Li Grain Size on Coulombic Efficiency in Li Batteries." Scientific Reports 6:34267.  doi:10.1038/srep34267
  • Pan H, Y Shao, P Yan, Y Cheng, KS Han, Z Nie, CM Wang, J Yang, X Li, P Bhattacharya, KT Mueller, and J Liu. 2016. "Reversible aqueous zinc/manganese oxide energy storage from conversion reactions." Nature Energy 1(5):Article No. 16039.  doi:10.1038/nenergy.2016.39


  • Cheng Y, RM Stolley, KS Han, Y Shao, BW Arey, NM Washton, KT Mueller, ML Helm, VL Sprenkle, J Liu, and 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.  doi:10.1039/C5CP00859J
  • Kerisit SN, M Vijayakumar, KS Han, and 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.  doi:10.1063/1.4921982
  • Mehdi BL, 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, and ND Browning. 2015. "Observation and Quantification of Nanoscale Processes in Lithium Batteries by Operando Electrochemical (S)TEM." Nano Letters 15(3):2168-2176.  doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00175
  • Mehdi BL, J Qian, E Nasybulin, DA Welch, C Park, R Faller, HS Mehta, WA Henderson, W Xu, JE Evans, J Liu, J Zhang, KT Mueller, and ND Browning. 2015. "Quantification of Electrochemical Nanoscale Processes in Lithium Batteries By OperandoEC-(S)TEM." In ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV, July 26-31, 2015, Glasgow, Scotland, vol. MA2015-03, p. Abstract No. 432.  The Electrochemical Society, Pennington, NJ. 


  • Renslow RS, JT Babauta, PD Majors, HS Mehta, RJ Ewing, T Ewing, KT Mueller, and H Beyenal. 2014. "A biofilm microreactor system for simultaneous electrochemical and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques." Water Science and Technology 69(5):966-973.  doi:10.2166/wst.2013.802
  • Han KS, NN Rajput, X Wei, W Wang, JZ Hu, KA Persson, and KT Mueller. 2014. "Diffusional Motion of Redox Centers in Carbonate Electrolytes ." Journal of Chemical Physics 141(10):104509.  doi:10.1063/1.4894481
  • Mueller KT, RL Sanders, and NM Washton. 2014. "Clay Minerals." In eMagRes, ed. R Wasylishen, DM Grant and RK Harris, pp. 13-28.  Wiley Interscience, Hoboken, NJ. 
  • Shao Y, 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, and J Liu. 2014. "Nanocomposite polymer electrolyte for rechargeable magnesium batteries." Nano Energy 2015(12):750-759.  doi:10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.12.028


  • Baer DR, 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, and 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.  doi:10.1116/1.4818423
  • Gin S, 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, and JD Vienna. 2013. "An international initiative on long-term behavior of high-level nuclear waste glass." Materials Today 16(6):243-248.  doi:10.1016/j.mattod.2013.06.008
  • Mueller KT, M Pruski, NM Washton, and AS Lipton. 2013. Science Drivers and Technical Challenges for Advanced Magnetic ResonancePNNL-22294, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Murphy KA, NM Washton, JV Ryan, CG Pantano, and KT Mueller. 2013. "Solid-State NMR Examination of Alteration Layers on a Nuclear Waste Glasses." Journal of Non-crystalline Solids 369:44-54.  doi:10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2013.03.021
  • Reardon PN, and 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.  doi:10.1074/jbc.M113.498527
  • Roach DJ, S Dou, RH Colby, and 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.  doi:10.1063/1.4804654


  • Roach DJ, S Dou, RH Colby, and 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.  doi:10.1063/1.3669449
  • Sanders RL, NM Washton, and KT Mueller. 2012. "Atomic-level studies of the depletion in reactive sites during clay mineral dissolution." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 92:100-116.  doi:10.1016/j.gca.2012.05.038


  • Ahring BK, 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, and KD Rodland. 2011. Biological Interactions and Dynamics Science Theme Advisory Panel (BID-STAP)PNNL-20717, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Brown GE, 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, and MJ Wilkins. 2011. EMSL Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry and Subsurface Science-Science Theme Advisory Panel MeetingPNNL-20601, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Campbell CT, 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, and C Plata. 2011. EMSL and Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC) Catalysis WorkshopPNNL-20426, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Strachan DM, EC Buck, KT Mueller, JM Schwantes, MJ Olszta, S Thevuthasan, and RM Heeren. 2011. Analytical Plan for Roman GlassesPNNL-20204, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Davis MC, WJ Brouwer, AS Lipton, Z Gan, and 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.  doi:10.2138/am.2010.3403


  • Davis MC, WJ Brouwer, DJ Wesolowski, LM Anovitz, AS Lipton, and 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.  doi:10.1039/b907494e


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


  • Bowers GM, MC Davis, R Ravella, S Komarneni, and 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.  doi:10.1007/s00723-007-0042-z


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


  • Choi S, GS Crosson, KT Mueller, seraphin, and 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.  doi:10.1016/j/gvs/2005.04.004

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