Heller, Adam Ph.D.

Research ProfessorHeller, Adam
Professor Emeritus

Office: CPE 4.450 Mailing Address:
Phone: (512) 471-8874 The University of Texas at Austin
Fax: (512) 471-8799 Department of Chemical Engineering
Email: heller@che.utexas.edu 200 E Dean Keeton St. Stop C0400
UT Mail: C0400 Austin, TX 78712-1589

Research Areas: Advanced Materials, Polymers & Nanotechnology  and Biotechnology

Research Website

Educational Qualifications

Ph.D., Chemistry, Hebrew University (1961)
M.Sc., Chemistry and Physics, Hebrew University (1957)


Bioelectrochemistry and bioelectrocatalysis

Biographical Information

Adam Heller received his Ph.D. from Hebrew University in 1961 where he studied under Ernst David Bergmann. He worked at GTE Laboratories in Bayside, NY and in Waltham, MA (1964-1975), then at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ (1975-1988), headings its Electronic Materials Research Department (1977-1988) where a team headed by King L. Tai developed key  parts of the high speed, high density chip-to-chip interconnect technology of mobile electronic systems.  While a professor of engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (1988-to date)  he co-founded with his son Ephraim Heller in 1996 TheraSense, now Abbott Diabetes Care and was the first Chief Technical Officer of the company. The FreeStyleTM system of TheraSense, a micro-coulometer released in 2000, made the monitoring of blood glucose painless by accurately monitoring the glucose concentration in 300 nanoliters of blood. With more than a billion units produced annually, FreeStyleTM is the highest impact nanotechnology or micro-fluidic device to date.

His study of the physical chemistry of inorganic oxyhalide solutions resulted in the first neodymium liquid lasers (1964-1967) and in the lithium thionyl chloride battery (1973), one of the earliest lithium batteries, remaining in use in medical and defense systems where 20 year shelf life, high energy density and a broad operating temperature range are required. His studies of photoelectrochemical solar cells resulted in 11.5 percent efficient solar cells (1980) and in 11 percent efficient hydrogen evolving photoelectrodes. His related studies of photoelectrocatalysis established that the rate of photo-assisted oxidation of organic matter on photocatalytic titanium dioxide particles was controlled by the rate of reduction of adsorbed oxygen by trapped electrons. He established the field the electrical wiring of enzymes (1988-2005), the electrical connection of their catalytic redox centers to electrodes, and built with wired enzymes the subcutaneously implanted miniature glucose sensors. His wired enzymes became the core technology of the FreeStyle NavigatorTM system of Abbott Diabetes Care; it continuously and accurately monitors subcutaneous glucose levels in diabetic people.

Awards & Honors

Award for Creative Invention, American Chemical Society (2008)
Hocott Distinguished Engineering Award, The University of Texas at Austin (2005)
AICHE Award in Chemical Engineering Practice (2005)
Charles N. Reilly Award of the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry (2004)
Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (1994)
David C. Grahame Physical Electrochemistry Award, The Electrochemical Society (1987)
Guest Professor of the Collège de France (1982)
Battery Research Awards, The Electrochemical Society (1978)


National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2007)
Spiers Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK (2000)
Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK (1996)
Fresenius Gold Medal and Prize, German Chemical Society (2005)
Vittorio De Nora Gold Medal of The Electrochemical Society (1988)


Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)
Institute Lecturer, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2004)
Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1996)
Elected Fellow, The Electrochemical Society (1994)
Elected to the U. S. National Academy of Engineering (1987)

Honorary Degrees

Doctor, Honoris Causa, City University of New York (Queens College) (2008)
Doctor, Honoris Causa, Uppsala University, Sweden (1991)

Recent Publications

  • Lin, Y.-M.; Abel, P. R.; Gupta, A.; Goodenough, J. B.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B., Sn-Cu nanocomposite anodes for rechargeable sodium-ion batteries. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2013, 5, 8273-8277.
  • Klavetter, K. C.; Wood, S. M.; Lin, Y.-M.; Snider, J. L.; Davy, N. C.; Chockla, A. M.; Romanovicz, D. K.; Korgel, B. A.; Lee, J.-W.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B., A high-rate germanium-particle slurry cast Li-ion anode with high Coulombic efficiency and long cycle life. Journal of Power Sources 2013, 238, 123-136.
  • Abel, P. R.; Lin, Y.-M.; de, Souza. T.; Chou, C.-Y.; Gupta, A.; Goodenough, J. B.; Hwang, G. S.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B., Nanocolumnar Germanium Thin Films as a High-Rate Sodium-Ion Battery Anode Material. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2013, 117, 18885-18890.
  • Abel, P. R.; Chockla, A. M.; Lin, Y.-M.; Holmberg, V. C.; Harris, J. T.; Korgel, B. A.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B. Nanostructured Si(1-x) Gex for Tunable Thin Film Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes ACS Nano 2013, 7(3), 2249-2257.
  • Lin, Y-M.; Klavetter, K. C.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B. Storage of lithium in hydrothermally synthesized GeO2 nanoparticles. Journal of Physical Chemistry Lett. 2013, 4, 999-1004.
  • Nagarale, R. K.; Hoss, U.; Heller, A. Mixed-Valence Metal Oxide Nanoparticles as Electrochemical Half-Cells: Substituting the Ag/AgCl of Reference Electrodes by CeO2-x Nanoparticles. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012, 134(51), 20783-20787.
  • Lin Y-M, Klavetter K. C., Abel P.R., Davy N.C., Snider, J. L., Heller, A.& Mullins C. B. High performance silicon nanoparticle anode in fluoroethylene carbonate-based electrolyte for Li-ion batteries. Chemical Communications 2012, 48, 7268–7270.
  • Lin, Y-M.; Nagarale, R. K.; Klavetter, K. C.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B. SnO2 and TiO2-supported SnO2 lithium battery anodes with improved electrochemical performance Journal of Materials Chemistry 2012, 22(22), 11134-11139.
  • Abel, P. R.; Lin, Y-M.; Celio, H.; Heller, A.; Mullins, C. B. Improving the Stability of Nanostructured Silicon Thin Film Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes through Their Controlled Oxidation ACS Nano 2012, 6(3), 2506-2516.
  • 252. Nagarale, R. K.; Heller, A.; Shin, W. A Stable Ag/Ceramic-Membrane/Ag2O Electroosmotic Pump Built with a Mesoporous Phosphosilicate-on-Silica Frit Membrane. Journal of the Electrochemical Society 2012, 159(1), P14-P17.

Complete list of publications and issued patents for Adam Heller