Elijah Thimsen

Elijah Thimsen

Associate Professor

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

  • Phone
  • Office
    Brauer Hall, Room 1005
  • Lab location
    Brauer 3043


PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009
BS, University of Minnesota, 2005


Researches thermodynamic aspects of chemical and material transformations.


Synthesis of nanostructured materials and molecular chemicals using nonequilibrium plasma and aerosol approaches


Below are some research questions of interest to the Interface Research Group, which Thimsen directs:

  • Can thermodynamics predict the stationary state of chemical reactions in nonequilibrium plasma?
  • What are the mechanisms by which nonequilibrium plasmas promote selective organic chemistry in liquids? 
  • How do dust particles nucleate and grow in nonequilibrium plasma?
  • How do the properties of materials with a crystalline atomic structure that is not the equilibrium state at any temperature and pressure compare to a material of the same composition that has an equilibrium atomic configuration? 

The Interface Research Group is interested in the following technological applications:

  • Advanced structural ceramics
  • Photonics enabled by nanostructured semiconductors
  • Lignocellulosic biomass utilization
  • Liquid transportation fuels synthesized from sustainable feedstocks and renewable electricity
  • Environmental remediation and recycling


Elijah Thimsen is an associate professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering.  He has over 19 years of experience in technical research, primarily focused on chemical and material transformations with an emphasis on aerosol processes, plasma processes, materials science, and energy applications. He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and his PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering. His current research is focused on thermodynamics, including methods to describe end-directed time evolution in nonlinear, nonequilibrium systems. The systems used for these explorations involve nonequilibrium plasma, aerosols, chemical catalysis, electrochemistry, optoelectronic semiconductors, and advanced ceramics. His work has been recognized by a number of organizations, recently by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy early career awards.