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)
Elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (1987)
Guest Professor of the Collège de France (1982)
Battery Research Awards, The Electrochemical Society (1978)


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

  • Wood SM, Powell EJ, Heller A, Mullins CB. Lithiation and Delithiation of Lead Sulfide (PbS). Electrochem. Soc. 2015, 162: A1182-A5.
  • Klavetter KC, Pedro de Souza J, Heller A, Mullins CB. High tap density microparticles of selenium-doped germanium as a high efficiency, stable cycling lithium-ion battery anode material. Mater. Chem. A 2015, 3: 5829-34.
  • Dang HX, Klavetter KC, Meyerson ML, Heller A, Mullins CB. Tin microparticles for a lithium ion battery anode with enhanced cycling stability and efficiency derived from Se-doping. Mater. Chem. A 2015, 3: 13500-6.
  • Klavetter KC, Snider JL, de Souza JP, Tu H, Cell TH, Cho JH, Ellison CJ, Heller A, Mullins CB. A free-standing, flexible lithium-ion anode formed from an air-dried slurry cast of high tap density SnO2, CMC polymer binder and Super-P Li. Mater. Chem. 2014, A 2: 14459-67.
  • Klavetter KC, Garcia S, Dahal N, Snider JL, Pedro de Souza J, Cell TH, Cassara MA, Heller A, Humphrey SM, Mullins CB. Li- and Na-reduction products of meso-Co3O4 form high-rate, stably cycling battery anode materials. Mater. Chem. 2014, A 2: 14209-21.
  • Dang HX, Lin Y-M, Klavetter KC, Cell TH, Heller A, Mullins CB. Lithium insertion/deinsertion characteristics of nanostructured amorphous tantalum oxide thin films. ChemElectroChem 2014, 1: 158-64.
  • Abel PR, Klavetter KC, Jarvis K, Heller A, Mullins CB. Sub-stoichiometric germanium sulfide thin-films as a high-rate lithium storage material. Mater. Chem. 2014, A 2: 19011-8.
  • Abel PR, Klavetter KC, Heller A, Mullins CB. Thin Nanocolumnar Ge9 Se0.1 Films Are Rapidly Lithiated/Delithiated. J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118: 17407-12.
  • Abel PR, Fields MG, Heller A, Mullins CB. Tin-Germanium Alloys as Anode Materials for Sodium-Ion Batteries. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2014, 6: 15860-7.
  • Klavetter KC, Snider JL, de Souza JP, Tu H, Cell TH, Cho JH, Ellison CJ, Heller A, Mullins CB. 2014. A free-standing, flexible lithium-ion anode formed from an air-dried slurry cast of high tap density SnO2, CMC polymer binder and Super-P Li. Mater. Chem. 2014, A 2: 14459-67.

Complete list of publications and issued patents for Adam Heller