"We are interested
in directing
materials assembly
for applications
ranging from
printed electronics
to 3D microfluidics."

Jennifer Lewis

Jennifer Lewis
Hans Thurnauer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Office 212A Ceramics Building

Telephone 217-244-4973 Fax 217-333-2736

Mail Address Department of Materials Science and Engineering
1304 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801  

jalewis@illinois.edu  CV   Lewis research group page

  • Profile
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Awards


Professor Jennifer Lewis received a BS with honors from the University of Illinois (1986) and an Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1991) and joined the faculty of UIUC in fall 1990. She now holds the titles of professor of materials science and engineering and of chemical engineering, and is a faculty affiliate with the Beckman Institute. Her honors include: NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (1994), Burnett Teaching Award (1994), Schlumberger Foundation Award (1995), Xerox Award for Faculty Research (1996 & 2001), Allied Signal Foundation Awards (1998, 1999), selection to the Frontiers of Engineering Symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering (2000), University Scholar, University of Illinois (2002), Langmuir Lecture Award from the American Chemical Society (2009), and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2012). Prof. Lewis and Glen Kirby, PhD student, won the 2003 Brunauer Award from the American Ceramic Society for their paper "Rheological Property Evolution in Concentrated Cement-Polyelectrolyte Suspensions" published in the December 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.


The principal activities of the Lewis Group involve colloidal assembly of materials. Our efforts are directed towards establishing fundamental knowledge of colloidal stability of complex fluids as well as their structural evolution during fabrication. We are developing broad expertise in probing colloidal interactions via rheological techniques, in situ drying stress measurements, and direct visualization techniques (e.g., confocal microscopy).

We have studied the phase behavior of a broad range of complex fluids, including colloid mixtures, colloid-polymer mixtures, colloid-filled hydrogels, and polyelectrolyte mixtures. Our approach relies on establishing the structure of, and transitions between the fluid, gel, crystalline and glassy states as a function of varying composition, size, and interparticle interaction strength. With this knowledge, we can design novel systems for fabricating functional ceramics, photonic band gap materials, catalyst supports, and scaffolds for biological self assembly.

Our efforts in directed assembly of colloid-based structures rely on robotically controlled deposition of novel colloidal inks. Our approach focuses on architecting complex, 3-D structures with locally tailored structure and composition spanning multiple length scales (~ 100 nm - 1 mm).

Our work is funded principally by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, MURI, and NASA, and has benefited from fruitful collaborations with Sandia National Laboratories and industry.

Interdisciplinary Research

Interactions with faculty in:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Research Laboratory
  • Beckman Institute
  • Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics


J.A. Lewis, "Colloidal Processing of Ceramics," Centennial Feature Article, Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 83 [10] 2341-59 (2000). (invited cover article)

V. Tohver, J.E. Smay, A. Braem, P. Braun, and J.A. Lewis, "Nanoparticle Halos: A New Colloid Stabilization Mechanism" Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 98 [16] 8950-54 (2001) (invited cover article).

D. Therriault, S. White, and J.A. Lewis, "Chaotic mixing in 3-D microvascular networks fabricated by direct-write assembly," Nature Materials 2, 265-71 (2003).

G. Gratson and J.A. Lewis, "Polyelectrolyte Inks for Direct-Write Assembly of 3-D Micro-Periodic Scaffolds," Langmuir 21 [1] 457-464 (2005).

R.F. Shepherd, J.C. Conrad, S.K. Rhodes, D. Link, M. Marquez, D.A. Weitz, and J.A. Lewis, "Microfluidic Assembly of Homogeneous and Janus Colloidal Granules," Langmuir 22, 8616-22 (2006).

D.J. Harris, H. Hu, J.C. Conrad, and J.A. Lewis, "Patterning Colloidal Films via Evaporative Lithography," Physical Review Letters, 98 148301 1-4 (2007).

K.S. Toohey, S.R. White, J.A. Lewis, and N.R. Sottos, "Self-healing materials with microvascular networks," Nature Materials, 6 581-5 (2007).

B.Y. Ahn, E.B. Duoss, M.J. Motala, X. Guo, S.-I. Park, Y. Xiong, J. Yoon, J. Yoon, R.G. Nuzzo, J.A. Rogers, and J.A. Lewis, "Omnidirectional Printing of Flexible, Spanning, and Stretchable Silver Microelectrodes," Science, 323 1590-93 (2009).

X. Guo, H. Li, B.Y. Ahn, E.B. Duoss, K.J. Hsia, J.A. Lewis, and R.G. Nuzzo, "Two and Three-Dimensional Folding of Thin Film Single-Crystalline Silicon for Photovoltaic Power Applications," Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106, 20149-54 (2009). (Cover article)

B.Y. Ahn, C.J. Hansen, D. Shoji, E. Hong, D. Dunand, and J.A. Lewis, "Printed Origami", Advanced Materials, 22, 2251-54 (2010). (Cover Article)

J.N. Hansen Shepherd, S.T. Parker, R.F. Shepherd, M.U. Gillette, J.A. Lewis, and R.G. Nuzzo, "3D Microperiodic Hydrogel Scaffolds for Robust Neuronal Cultures," Advanced Functional Materials 21, 47-54 (2011). [DOI:10.1002/adfm.201001746]

J.C. Conrad, S.R. Ferreira, J. Yoshikawa, R.F. Shepherd, B.Y. Ahn, and J.A. Lewis, "Designing Colloidal Suspensions for Directed Materials Assembly," Current Opinions in Colloid and Interface Science 16 71-79 (2011) (invited review).

J.J. Adams, E.J. Duoss, T. Malkowski, M. Motala, B.Y. Ahn, R.G. Nuzzo, J.T. Bernhard, and J.A. Lewis, "Conformal Printing of Electrically Small Antennas on Three-Dimensional Surfaces", Advanced Materials, 23 [11] 1304-1413 (2011). (Cover Article)

W. Wu, A. DeConinck, and J.A. Lewis, "Omnidirectional Printing of 3D Microvascular Networks," Advanced Materials (in press). (Featured Frontpiece) [DOI: 10.1002/adma.201004625]

A. Russo, B.Y. Ahn, J.J. Adams, E. Duoss, J. Bernhard, and J.A. Lewis, "Pen-on-Paper Flexible Electronics, Advanced Materials, 23, 3426-30 (2011). [DOI: 10.1002/adma.201101328]

S.B. Walker and J.A. Lewis, "Reactive Silver Inks for Patterning High-Conductivity Features at Mild Temperatures," Journal of the American Chemical Society (2012).


  • NSF Research Initiation Award (1992)
  • Incomplete list of teachers ranked as excellent, UIUC (1992-1994, 1999)
  • Arnold O. Beckman Research Award (1994)
  • Donald Burnett Teacher of the Year Award (1994)
  • NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (1994)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor, UIUC (1994, 1995)
  • Schlumberger Foundation Award (1995)
  • Xerox Award for Faculty Research (1996 and 2001)
  • Allied Signal Foundation Award (1998-2000)
  • Incomplete list of teachers ranked as excellent, UIUC (2000)
  • University Scholar, UIUC (2001)
  • UIUC College of Engineering, Advisor's List for Excellence in Advising (2002)
  • Willett Faculty Scholar Award (2002)
  • Brunauer Award, American Ceramic Society (2003)
  • Hans Thurnauer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, UIUC (2004-)
  • Fellow, American Ceramic Society (2005)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2007)
  • Langmuir Lecture Award, American Chemical Society (2009)
  • Fellow, Materials Research Society (2011)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2012)