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  • John C. Hubbard Professor of Chemistry
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Faculty Director, Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Associate Editor, Chemistry of Materials
  • Chemistry
  • Materials
  • Physical
276 CAER Laboratory 2, 150 Chemistry-Physics Building
Other Affiliations:

Chad Risko

Research Interests:
Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
Materials Chemistry
Organic Electronics
Energy Storage
Solar Energy

B.S. Baker University, Baldwin City, KS, 1998
Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 2005


Research in the Risko laboratory is inspired by the opportunities offered by complex synthetic materials and the desire to discover the fundamental connections among the chemical and physical phenomena that ultimately determine their performance. Too often, macro-scale experiments cannot provide the physicochemical knowledge required to truly understand why materials work, or fail, in particular applications as the intrinsic phenomena that determine performance are multiscale, beginning at the atomic level. Such limited insight, in turn, leads to materials design misconceptions that permeate the chemical literature.

With a focus on materials envisioned for semiconductors and power generation and storage, research in the Risko laboratory probes questions that connect molecular, polymer, and nanostructure composition and structure, materials creation, and molecular and material electronic, redox, optical, and mechanical characteristics. We develop our theoretical materials chemistry models and computational approaches by bridging quantum chemistry, equilibrium and non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (MD), condensed matter and device physics, data science, and materials and polymer science. This blend of expertise allows us to discover and exploit multidisciplinary connections to enable new understanding that can be transitioned across materials types. Further, we have grown an extensive, international group of collaborators whose expertise spans materials synthesis, processing, and characterization so that the understanding that we gain has decisive and immediate impact. Our perspective, ultimately, allows us to establish the knowledge required to facilitate the creation of in silico materials design paradigms that will spearhead transitions away from costly, time-consuming Edisonian approaches to materials development.

Honors & Awards

2021 University of Kentucky Alumni Association Great Teacher Award

2020 University of Kentucky Center for Appalachian Research in Environmental Sciences (UK CARES) Faculty Fellow in Science Communication

2019 University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring

2018 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

2018 Cottrell Scholar (Research Corporation for Science Advancement, RCSA)

2018 Scialog Fellow for Advanced Energy Storage (Research Corporation for Science Advancement, RCSA)

2016 Emerging Investigator, Journal of Materials Chemistry (Royal Society of Chemistry)


Selected Publications:

The Role of Crystal Packing on the Optical Response of Trialkyltetrelethynyl Acenes. L.Y. Huang, Q. Ai & C. Risko. Journal of Chemical Physics (2022), online. DOI: 10.1063/5.0097421

Challenges in Information-Mining the Materials Literature: A Case Study and Perspective. A. Smith, V. Bhat, Q. Ai & C. Risko. Chemistry of Materials (2022), online. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.2c00445

The Solution is the Solution: Data-Driven Elucidation of Solution-to-Device Feature Transfer for π-Conjugated Polymer Semiconductors. C.P. Callaway, A.L. Liu, R. Venkatesh, Y. Zheng, M. Lee, J.C. Meredith, M. Grover, C. Risko & E. Reichmanis. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2022), 2022, 14, 3, 3613-3620. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c20994

Following the Crystal Growth of Anthradithiophenes through Atomistic Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Graph Characterization. S.M. Ryno, R. Noruzi, C. Karunasena, B.S.S. Pokuri, S. Li, B. Ganapathysubramanian & C. Risko. Molecular Systems Design & Engineering (2022), 7, 112-122. DOI: 10.1039/D1ME00157D

Nanoribbons or Weakly Connected Acenes? The Influence of Pyrene Insertion on Linearly Extended Ring Systems. Q. Ai, T. Smith, A.D. Thilanga Liyanage, S.M. Mazza, S.R. Parkin, J.E. Anthony & C. Risko. Journal of Materials Chemistry C (2021), 9, 16929-16934. DOI: 10.1039/D1TC05193H

Reconsidering the Roles of Noncovalent Intramolecular “Locks” in π-Conjugated Molecules. C. Karunasena, S. Li, M.C. Heifner, S.M. Ryno & C. Risko, Chemistry of Materials (2021), 33, 9139-9151. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c02335

Lowering Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction Overpotential Using N-Annulated Perylene Diimide Rhenium Bipyridine Dyads with Variable Tether Length. J.D. B. Koenig, Z.S. Dubrawski, K.R. Rao, J. Willkomm, B.S. Gelfand, C. Risko, W.E. Piers & G.C. Welch, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2021), 143, 16849-16864. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c09481

Thermomechanical Enhancement of DPP-4T through Purposeful π-Conjugation Disruption. C.P. Callaway, J.H. Bombile, W. Mask, S.M. Ryno & C. Risko, Journal of Polymer Science (2022), 60, 559. DOI: 10.1002/pol.20210494

Evolution of Chain Dynamics and Oxidation States with Increasing Chain Length for a Donor–Acceptor-Conjugated Oligomer Series. S. Chaudhry, Y. Wu, Z. Cao, S. Li, J.L. Canada, X. Gu, C. Risko & J. Mei. Macromolecules (2021), 54, 8207-8219. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c00963

Genetic Algorithms and Machine Learning for Predicting Surface Composition, Structure, and Chemistry: A Historical Perspective and Assessment. J. Roberts, J.R.S. Bursten & C. Risko. Chemistry of Materials (2021), 33, 6589-6615. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c00538

Modification of the LiFePO4 (010) Surface Due to Exposure to Atmospheric Gases. K. Jarolimek & C. Risko. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2021), 13, 29034-29040. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c01394

OCELOT: An Infrastructure for Data-driven Research to Discover and Design Crystalline Organic Semiconductors. Q. Ai, V. Bhat, S.M. Ryno, K. Jarolimek, P. Sornberger, A. Smith, M.M. Haley, J.E. Anthony & C. Risko. Journal of Chemical Physics (2021) 154, 174705. DOI: 10.1063/5.0048714

Suppressing Bias Stress Degradation in High Performance Solution Processed Organic Transistors Operating in Air. H.F. Iqbal, Q. Ai, K.J. Thorley, H. Chen, I. McCulloch, C. Risko, J.E. Anthony & O.D. Jurchescu. Nature Communications (2021), 12, 2352. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22683-2

Reactivity of an Air-Stable Dihydrobenzoimidazole n-Dopant with Organic Semiconductor Molecules. S. Jhulki, H.I. Un, Y.F. Ding, C. Risko, S.K. Mohapatra, J. Pei, S. Barlow & S.R. Marder. Chem (2021), 7, 1050-1065. DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2021.01.020

A Molecular Interaction–Diffusion Framework for Predicting Organic Solar Cell Stability. M. Ghasemi, N. Balar, Z. Peng, H. Hu, Y. Qin, T. Kim, J.J. Rech, M. Bidwell, W. Mask, I. McCulloch, W. You, A. Amassian, C. Risko, B.T. O’Connor & H. Ade. Nature Materials (2021) 20, 525-532. DOI: 10.1038/s41563-020-00872-6

Steric Manipulation as a Mechanism for Tuning the Reduction and Oxidation Potentials of Phenothiazines. C.F. Elliott, K.E. Fraser, S.A. Odom & C. Risko. Journal of Physical Chemistry A (2021), 125, 272-278. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.0c09801

n-type Charge Transport in Heavily p-Doped Polymers. Z. Liang, H.H. Choi, X. Luo, T. Liu, A. Abtahi, U.S. Ramasamy, J.A. Hitron, K.N. Baustert, J.L. Hempel, A.M. Boehm, A. Ansary, D.R. Strachan, J. Mei, C. Risko, V. Podzorov & K.R. Graham. Nature Materials (2021), 20, 518-524. DOI: 10.1038/s41563-020-00859-3

Acid Dyeing for Green Solvent Processing of Solvent Resistant Semiconducting Organic Thin Films. C.R. Harding, J. Cann, A. Laventure, M. Sadeghianlemraski, M. Abd-Ellah, K.R. Rao, B.S. Gelfand, H. Aziz, L. Kaake, C. Risko & G.C. Welch. Materials Horizons (2020), 7, 2959-2969. DOI: 10.1039/D0MH00785D

A Genetic Algorithmic Approach to Determine the Structure of Li-Al Layered Double Hydroxides. J. Roberts, Y. Song, M. Crocker & C. Risko. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (2020), 60, 4845-4855. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.0c00493

Determination of the Free Energies of Mixing of Organic Solutions through a Combined Molecular Dynamics and Bayesian Statistics Approach. S. Li, B.S.S. Pokuri, S.M. Ryno, A. Nkansah, C. De'vine, B. Ganapathysubramanian & C. Risko. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (2020) 60, 1424-1431. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.9b01113

Computationally Aided Design of a High-Performance Organic Semiconductor: The Development of Universal Crystal Engineering Core. A.J. Petty II, Q. Ai, J.C. Sorli, H.F. Haneef, G.E. Purdum, A. Boehm, D.B. Granger, K. Gu, C.P. Lacerda Rubinger, S.R. Parkin, K.R. Graham, O.D. Jurchescu, Y.L. Loo, C. Risko & J.E. Anthony. Chemical Science (2019) 2019,10, 10543-10549. DOI: 10.1039/C9SC02930C