Prashant K. Jain

Alumni Scholar and Professor

Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar

Department of Chemistry, ​​Materials Research Lab, and Beckman Institute

Affiliate Faculty Member of Physics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chemical & Life Sciences A224

217-333-3417, Fax: (217)244-3186

jain (at) illinois (dot) edu

(Click PDF) Curriculum Vitae 

BIOGRAPHY: Prashant Jain grew up in Bombay where he completed his undergraduate education in polymer engineering at the Institute of Chemical Technology. Because of his strong interest in physics and chemistry, he switched disciplines when he started graduate school at Georgia Tech. With M. A. El-Sayed at Georgia Tech, Prashant studied the nature of energy and carrier relaxation in photoexcited metal nanoparticles using ultrafast spectroscopy and theoretical electrodynamics. He also developed now well-known scaling rules for nanoscale electromagnetic interactions. Following his PhD, Prashant moved to Harvard as the very first postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Adam Cohen. At Harvard, Prashant learned single-molecule microscopy and helped launch a research program on magneto-optical and chiro-optical phenomena. An offer of a prestigious Miller Research Fellowship took Prashant to UC Berkeley, where he was hosted by A. P. Alivisatos. In the Alivisatos group, Prashant established the topotactic nature of cation exchange reactions in ionic nanocrystals and uncovered the plasmonic origin of optical resonances induced in semiconductor nanocrystals upon doping. Prashant now directs a research laboratory on nanoscale light-matter interactions at UIUC, where he is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Materials Research Lab, and the Beckman Institute and an affiliate faculty member in Physics.


His lab is best known for using nanoscale-confined light for artificial photosynthesis and for probing the hidden workings of complex materials and catalysts. His lab has also discovered new solid-state phases and expanded the phenomenon of plasmon resonancesbeyond metal nanostructures. Although he no longer performs experiments, he complements the brilliant experimentalists in his lab with his theoretical modeling. Prashant teaches graduate & undergraduate physical chemistry for which he has received considerable recognition, including the School of Chemical Sciences Faculty Teaching Award and a mention on the Excellent Teachers list for every course he has taught. Prashant is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, a member of the 2020-22 Defense Science Study Group (DSSG), and the lead developer of nanoDDSCAT, an open-source computational toolkit for nano-optics and photonics. Prashant's research has been cited ~23,000 times (Scholar profile) and highlighted in science media (links). His career's scientific milestones are listed below along with citations.


Developed plasmonic photosynthesis & photoredox chemistry

Angew Chem 2020, MRS Bulletin 2020, Nature Comm 2019, Nature Chem 2018, ACS Energy Lett 2019, JPC C 2019, Nature Comm 2018, ACS Nano 2018, JACS 2018, Nano Lett 2018, Nano Lett 2018, ACS Energy Lett, 2018, Nano Lett 2016, ACS Catalysis 2017, Angew Chem 2019, Nano Today 2015.

Co-discovered plasmon resonances in doped quantum dots

Nature Comm. 2017, JPC Lett. 2014, JPC Lett. (Perspective) 2014, Angew. Chem. 2013, JPC Lett. 2013, PRL 2013, Israel J. Chem. 2012, Nature Mater. 2011, TR35, Google SfX

Engineered super-ionicity on the nanoscale

Nature Comm. 2019, Nature Comm 2019, Angew Chem 2019, Chem Mater 2019, Angew Chem 2018, JPC Lett 2018, Nature Comm. 2017.

Recalssified chemical reactions as co-operative phase transitions

Nature Comm 2013, Nano Lett 2014, Angew. Chem. 2014, Nano Lett 2015, Angew. Chem. 2016, JACS 2016, Chem. Mater 2016, PCCP 2016, JMC A 2017.

Co-developed nanostructured sorbents for sulfur cleanup

Nature Nanotech. 2012, Angew Chem 2015, US Patent 2016, US Patent 2017, IChemE Energy Award Highly Commended Technology, RSC Advances 2018

Employed cation exchange for new nanocrystalline phases

Nature Comm. 2017, Angew Chem 2019, Angew Chem 2018, Chem Mater 2017, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2013, Angew. Chem. 2011, JACS 2010, Chem. Mater 2016, Chem Mater 2019.

Developed scaling rules and bonding model of plasmonic fields

JPC Lett 2018, Nano Lett. 2014, JPC C 2015, Nano Lett. 2010, JPC B 2006, ACS Nano 2010, Chem. Phys. Lett. 2010, Nano Lett. 2008, JPC Lett. 2008, Nano Lett. 2007


Formulated new spectroscopic selection rules in near-fields

JPCC 2014, PNAS 2011, Nano Lett. 2008


Developed guidelines for biomedical use of Au nanoparticles

Acc. Chem. Res. 2008, Nano Today 2007, JPCB 2006



2015 SCS Faculty Teaching Award

UIUC List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent

(Sp' 20Fa'19, Sp' 18, Fa'16, Fa'15, Sp'15, Sp'14, Fa'12)

Outstanding Ratings in Fa'19 and Spr'20.

Chem 444: Physical Chemistry II

Spring 2015, 18, and 20 | Fall 2019, 20 

(Course Webpage)

Chem 445/7: Physical Principles Lab I/II

Spring 2013, 14, and 18 | Fall 2013, 14, 15 and 16

Chem 544A: Graduate Statistical Mechanics

Fall 2011 | Fall 2012

Chem 545: Graduate Physical Chemistry Seminar

Spring 2019



Alumni Scholar

Blavatnik National Awards Finalist & Medalist

Campus Distinguished Promotion Award

Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering

Beilby Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry & IOM3

Defense Science Study Group Member

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Highly Cited Researcher, Clarivate Analytics

Editorial Advisory Board, J. Phys. Chem.

Chemistry Discovery Fund Award

Richard & Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar

Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lectureship

Campus Distinguished Promotion Award

AVS Prairie Chapter Early Career Award


Beckman Young Investigator

Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship

Most Cited Researchers in ChemE, Elsevier Scopus

I. C. Gunsalus Scholar

JPC C Lectureship Award

Dupont Young Professor Award

TR35, 35 Innovators under 35

ACS Unilever Award

Center of Advanced Studies Beckman Fellow

3M Nontenured Faculty Award

ACS/PRF Doctoral New Investigator

IACAT Faculty Fellow, NCSA

US NAE Frontiers of Engineering

Golden Jubilee Visiting Fellowship, ICT

NAE E2I Innovator

Google SfX Moonshot thinker/speaker


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