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Alexei Sokolov

Alexei P. Sokolov

Professor, ORNL Governors Chair


Dynamics of Soft Matter; Glass transition and Polymer Dynamics, Polymers with dynamic bonds as new recyclable materials for sustainable future.

Materials for Clean Energy Technologies, including electrolytes for batteries and supercapacitors; and membranes for fuel cells and flow batteries, membranes for gas separation, CO2 capture and water desalination.

Dynamics and macroscopic properties of multicomponent polymeric materials, including polymer nanocomposite and block-copolymers. The role of interfacial region and proeprties.

Dynamics and functions of proteins and other biological macromolecules.


Alexei Sokolov received an MS in Physics in 1981 from the Novosibirsk State University (Russia), and a PhD in Physics in 1986 from the Russian Academy of Sciences. He worked several years in Germany before joining faculty in the College of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Akron, USA, in 1998. In 2009 he accepted Governor’s Chair position at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he leads the Soft Matter group. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement in Science. His current research interest focuses primarily on Dynamics of Soft Materials, including topics of the glass transition, polymer dynamics and dynamics of biological macromolecules, composite materials and materials for clean energy applications.


M.S. in Physics, Novosibirsk State University, Russia (1981)
PhD in Physics, Academy of Sciences of USSR (1986)

Awards and Recognitions

2012 Fellow of the AAAS

2011 Member of the National Academy of Inventors

2008 Fellow of the American Physical Society

2007 University of Akron Outstanding Researcher Award.


More than 350 publications in peer-reviewed journals; h-index > 70; 5 patents

Catalin P. Gainaru, Alexei P. Sokolov, Elastic Forces and Molecular Transport through Polymer Matrices, Macromolecules 55, 3762-3768 (2022).

Luo, Z. Demchuk, X. Zhao, T. Saito, M. Tian, A. P. Sokolov, P. F. Cao, Elastic Vitrimers: Beyond Thermoplastic and Thermoset Elastomers, Matter 5, 1391-1422 (2022).

Sirui Ge, Subarna Samanta, Bingrui Li, G. Peyton Carden, Peng-Fei Cao, Alexei P. Sokolov, Unravelling the Mechanism of Viscoelasticity in Polymers with Phase-Separated Dynamic Bonds, ACS Nano 16, 4746-4755 (2022).

Ghosh, S. Samanta, S. Ge, A. P. Sokolov, K. S. Schweizer, “Influence of attractive functional groups on the segmental dynamics and glass transition in associating polymers”; Macromolecules 55, 2345-2357 (2022).

Zhang, J. Luo, S. Zhao, S. Ge, J. M. Y. Carrillo, J. K. Keum, C. Do, S. Cheng, Y. Wang, A. P. Sokolov, P. F. Cao; Surpassing the Stiffness-Extensibility Trade-off of Elastomers via Mastering the Hydrogen-bonding Clusters, Matter 5, 237-252 (2022).

A. Rahman, C. Bowland, S. Ge, S. R. Acharya, S. Kim, V. R. Cooper, X. C. Chen, S. Irle, A. P. Sokolov, A. Savara, T. Saito, Design of tough adhesive from commodity thermoplastics through dynamic crosslinking, Science Adv. 7, eabk2451/1-11 (2021).

Gao, A. Cannon, F. Sun, Y. Pan, D. Yang, S. Ge, N. Liu, A.P. Sokolov, E. Ryan, H. Yang, P.F. Cao, Glass-Fiber Reinforced Polymeric Film as Efficient Protecting Layer for Stable Li Metal Electrode, Cell Reports Physical Science 2, 100534/1-18 (2021).

Samanta, S. Kim, T. Saito, A. P. Sokolov, Polymers with Dynamic Bonds: Adaptive Functional Materials for a Sustainable Future, J. Phys. Chem. B 125, 9389-9401 (2021). Invited Perspective Article. Cover Page.

M. Yavitt, D. Salatto, Y. Zhu, Z. Huang, M. Endoh, L. Wiegart, V. Bocharova, A. E. Ribbe, A. P. Sokolov, K. S. Schweizer, T. Koga, Collective Nanoparticle Dynamics Associated with Bridging Network Formation in Model Polymer Nanocomposites, ACS Nano 15, 11501-11513 (2021).

Liang, et al., Engineering the Interlayer Spacing by Pre-Intercalation for High Performance Supercapacitor MXene Electrodes in Room Temperature Ionic Liquid, Advanced Functional Materials 2104007, 1-9 (2021).

Hansol Lee, Andrew Erwin, Madeline L. Buxton, Minkyu Kim, Alexander V. Stryutsky, Valery V. Shevchenko. Alexei P. Sokolov, Vladimir V. Tsukruk, Shape Persistent, Highly Conductive Ionogels from Ionic Liquids Reinforced with Cellulose Nanocrystal Network, Advanced Functional Materials 2103083, 1-14 (2021).

Ge, Sirui; Samanta, Subarna; Tress, Martin; Li, Bingrui; Xing, Kunyue; Dieudonne-George, Philippe; Genix, Anne-Caroline; Cao, Peng-Fei; Dadmun, Mark; Sokolov, Alexei, The critical role of the interfacial layer in associating polymers with microphase separation, Macromolecules 54, 4246-4256 (2021).

Yang, X. Li, Y. Cheng, M. Wang, D. Ma, A. P. Sokolov, S.V. Kalinin, G. M. Veith, J. Nanda, Distilling Nanoscale Heterogeneity of Amorphous Silicon using Tip-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) via Multiresolution Manifold Learning, Nature Communications 12, 578 (2021).

 Lu Han, Mechelle L. Lehmann, Jiadeng Zhu, Tianyi Liu, Zhengping Zhou, Xiamin Tang, Chien-Te Heish, Alexei P. Sokolov, Pengfei Cao, Xi Chelsea Chen, Tomonori Saito. Recent Developments and Challenges in Hybrid Solid Electrolytes for Lithium-Ion Batteries. Frontiers in Energy Research 8, 202/1-19 (2020).

Ivan Popov, Karolina Biernacka, Haijin Zhu, Frederick Nti, Luca Porcarelli, Xiaoen Wang, Airat Khamzin, Catalin Gainaru, Maria Forsyth, Alexei P. Sokolov, Strongly Correlated Ion Dynamics in Plastic Ionic Crystals and Polymerized Ionic Liquids, J. Phys. Chem. C 124, 17889-17896 (2020).

Kumar, J.P. Malik, K. S. Silmore, Z. Wojnarowska, A. Erwin, J. F. Ankner, A. P. Sokolov, B. G. Sumpter, V. Bocharova, Capacitance of thin films containing polymerized ionic liquids, Science Advances 6, eaba7952/1-7 (2020).

Bocharova, A.P. Sokolov, Perspectives for Polymer Electrolytes: A View from Fundamentals of Ionic Conductivity, Macromolecules 53, 4141-4157 (2020). Invited Perspective Article. Cover page

Cheng, A.P. Sokolov, Correlation between the temperature evolution of the interfacial region and the growing dynamic cooperativity length scale, J. Chem. Phys. 152, 094904/1-6 (2020). Cover page

Sirui Ge, Martin Tress, Kunyue Xing, Peng-Fei Cao, Tomonori Saito, and Alexei P. Sokolov, Viscoelasticity in associating oligomers and polymers: experimental test of the bond lifetime renormalization model, Soft Matter 16, 390-401 (2020).

Martin Tress, Kunyue Xing, Sirui Ge, Pengfei Cao, Tomonori Saito, Alexei P. Sokolov, What dielectric spectroscopy can tell us about supramolecular networks, Euro. Phys. J. E 42, 133 (2019).

Tao Hong, Peng-Fei Cao, Sheng Zhao, Bingrui Li, Connor Smith, Michelle Lehmann, Andrew J. Erwin, Shannon M. Mahurin, Surendar R Venna, Alexei P. Sokolov, Tomonori Saito, Tailored CO2-philic Gas Separation Membranes via One-pot Thiol-ene Chemistry, Macromolecules 52, 5819-5828 (2019).

M.L. Lehmann, G. Yang, D. Gilmer, K.S. Han, E.C. Self, R.E. Ruther, S. Ge, B. Li, V. Murugesan, A.P. Sokolov, F.M. Delnick, J. Nanda, T. Saito, Tailored Crosslinking of Poly(Ethylene Oxide) Enables Mechanical Robustness and Improved Sodium-Ion Conductivity, Energy Storage Materials 21, 85-96 (2019).

Nanda, G. Yang, T.Z. Hou, D.N. Voylov, X. Li, R.E. Ruther, M. Naguib, K. Persson, G.M. Veith, A.P. Sokolov, Unraveling the Nanoscale Heterogeneity of Solid Electrolyte Interphase Using Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, Joule 3, 2001-2009 (2019).

Peng-Fei Cao, Guang Yang, Bingrui Li, Yiman Zhang, Sheng Zhao, Shuo Zhang, Andrew Erwin, Zhengcheng Zhang, Alexei P. Sokolov, Jagjit Nanda, Tomonori Saito, Rational Design of a Multifunctional Binder for High-Capacity Silicon Based Anodes, ACS Energy Let. 4, 1171-1180 (2019).

A.C. Genix, V. Bocharova, B. Carroll, M. Lehman, T. Saito, S. Krueger, L. He, P. Dieudonne-George, A. P. Sokolov, J. Oberdisse, Understanding the Static Interfacial Polymer Layer by Exploring the Dispersion States of Nanocomposites, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 11, 17863-17871 (2019).

 Kunyue Xing, Martin Tress, Pengfei Cao, Fei Fan, Shiwang Cheng, Tomonori Saito, Alexei P. Sokolov, The role of chain-end association life time in segmental and chain dynamics of telechelic polymers, Macromolecules 51, 8561-8573 (2018).

W. Stacy, C.P. Gainaru, M. Gobet, Z. Wojnarowska, V. Bocharova, S. G. Greenbaum, A. P. Sokolov, Fundamental limitations of ionic conductivity in polymerized ionic liquids, Macromolecules 51, 8637-8645 (2018).

Genix, Anne-Caroline; Bocharova, Vera; Kisliuk, Alexander; Carroll, Bobby; Zhao, Sheng; Oberdisse, Julian; Sokolov, Alexei, Enhancing Mechanical Properties of Glassy Nanocomposites by Tuning Polymer Molecular Weight, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10, 33601-33610 (2018).

Wieland, A.P. Sokolov, R. Bohmer, C. Gainaru, Transient Nonlinear Response of Dynamically Decoupled Ionic Conductors, Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 064503/1-6 (2018).

Peng-Fei Cao, Bingrui Li, Tao Hong, Jacob Townsend, Zhe Qiang, Kunyue Xing, Konstantinos D. Vogiatzis, Yangyang Wang, Jimmy W. Mays, Alexei P. Sokolov, Tomonori Saito, Superstretchable, Self-healing Polymeric Elastomers with Tunable Properties, Adv. Functional Materials 28, 1800741/1-9 (2018).


Carroll, Bobby; Bocharova, Vera; Carrillo, Jan-Michael; Kisliuk, Alexander; Cheng, Shiwang; Yamamoto, Umi; Schweizer, Kenneth; Sumpter, Bobby; Sokolov, Alexei; Diffusion of Sticky Nanoparticles in a Polymer Melt: Crossover from Suppressed to Enhanced Transport. Macromolecules 51, 2268 (2018).


Peng-Fei Cao, Michael Naguib,  Zhijia Du, Eric Stacy, Bingrui Li, Tao Hong, Kunyue Xing, Dmitry N. Voylov, Jianlin Li, David L. Wood, III,  Alexei P. Sokolov, Jagjit Nanda Tomonori Saito, Effect of Binder Architecture on the Performance of Silicon/Graphite Composite Anodes for Lithium-ion Batteries, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 10, 3470-3478 (2018).

Kunyue Xing, Martin Tress, Pengfei Cao, Shiwang Cheng, Tomonori Saito, Vladimir N. Novikov, Alexei P. Sokolov, Hydrogen-bond strength changes network dynamic in associating telechelic PDMS, Soft Matter 14, 1235-1246 (2018).

Additional Information

Lab Address: 327/316 SERF

Alexei Sokolov

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