Jean Paul Allain




Prof. Jean Paul Allain completed his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He received a M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering from the same institution. Prof. Allain joined Argonne National Laboratory as a staff scientist in 2003 and joined the faculty in the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University in Fall of 2007 with a courtesy appointment with the School of Materials Engineering. Prof. Allain recently joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering. He is an affiliate faculty with the Department of Bioengineering and the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab. Prof. Allain is the author of over 90 papers in both experimental and computational modeling work in the area of particle-surface interactions. His research includes developing in-situ surface structure and composition evolution characterization of heterogeneous surfaces under low-energy irradiation promoting structure and function at the nanoscale. Prof. Allain was recipient of numerous awards including the DOE Early Career 2010 Award and the Research Excellence Award in 2011.


Excellence in Research Award, Purdue University, 2011
Department of Energy, Office of Science 2010 Early Career Award
Paul Zmola Young Scholar Award 2008-2013
Distinguished Performance Award, Argonne National Laboratory 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006
List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students Fall 2013, University of Illinois
Best Teacher of the Year Award for 2008 in the School of Nuclear Engineering, Purdue University


The Radiation Surface Science and Engineering Laboratory (RSSEL) group headed by Prof. J.P. Allain focuses on the design of self-organized nanostructures with two techniques he has pioneered: directed irradiation synthesis (DIS) and directed plasma nanosynthesis (DPNS). Both approaches are used to enable multi-functional and multi-scale properties at surface and interfaces of dissimilar material systems (e.g. polymer and metals, ceramics and biomaterials). RSSEL research themes include: advanced functional biointerfaces, advanced fusion interfaces, multi-scale computational irradiation surface science, nanostructured functional materials, sustainable nanomanufacturing, and in-situ, in-operando diagnostics.

One aspect of research is the interaction of plasma and particle irradiation with inorganic and organic surfaces and interfaces from the nanoscale across the mesoscale to the macroscale. We achieve this by coupling in-situ and in-operando multi-particle and plasma-based modification in a state-of-the art facility known as IGNIS (latin for “fire”). This custom-designed facility established by our group enables the study of fundamental particle-driven synthesis during diagnosis of the surface structure and composition. We directly couple this knowledge synergistically with multi-scale predictive computational codes also developed by our group. Our interests are broad and are strategically connected by our intent to decipher the process-structure-property and multi-function relationships that result in rational design of complex materials for applications in extreme environments. Our work is focused on tailoring surfaces at the first-layer-of-atoms (FLOA) and interfaces in 2D and 3D systems depending on the specific application. Systems we currently study include: nanopatterning of III-V semiconductors and silicon, lithiated graphite, extreme-refined nanocrystalline refractory metals, bacterial nanocellulose, mesoporous and porous metal sponges.


  • 2014
    • El-Atwani, O., Hinks, J., Greaves, G., Gonderman S., Qiu, T., Efe, M., Allain, J.P. (2014): In-situ TEM observation of the response of ultrafine- and nanocrystalline-grained tungsten to extreme irradiation environments, Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group. 4, 4716.

    • Taylor, C.N, Allain, J.P., Krstic, P.S., Dadras, J., Luitjohan, K.E., Skinner, C.H. (2014): Differentiating the role of lithium and oxygen in retaining deuterium on lithiated plasma-facing components Physics of Plasmas, 21, 057101, Invited Article.

  • 2013
    • Yang, Z., Lively, M., Allain, J.P. (2013) Atomistic simulations of ion-beam patterning with crater functions, Nuclear Instruments and Methods Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 307, 189.

    • Taylor, C.N., Luitjohan, K.E., Heim, B., Kollar, L., Allain, J.P., Skinner, C.H., Kugel, H.W., Kaita, R., Roquemore, A.L., Maingi, R. (2013): Surface chemistry analysis of lithium conditioned NSTX graphite tiles correlated to plasma performance. Fusion Engineering and Design, 88, 3157-3164.

    • Taylor, C.N., Luitjohan, K.E., Allain, J.P., Krstic, P.S., Dadras, J. (2013): The role of oxygen in the uptake of deuterium in lithiated graphite, Journal of Applied Physics 114, 223301.

    • Krstic, P.S., Allain, J.P., Taylor, C.N., Dadras, J., Maeda, S., Morokuma, K., Allouche, A., Skinner, C.H. (2013) Deuterium uptake in magnetic fusion devices with lithium conditioned carbon walls. Physical Review Letters, 110, 10, 105001.

    • El-Atwani, O., Fowler, J., Gonderman, S., Allain, J.P. (2013): Near sputter-threshold GaSb nanopatterning, Journal of Applied Physics 114,104308.

    • El-Atwani, O., Efe, M., Heim, B., Allain, J.P. (2013): Surface damage in ultrafine and multimodal grained tungsten materials induced by low energy helium irradiation. Journal of Nuclear Materials 434, 1, 170-177.

    • El-Atwani, O., Suslova, A., DeMasi, A., Gonderman, S., Fowler, J., El-Atwani, M., Ludwig, K., Allain, J.P. (2013): Nanopatterning of metal-coated silicon surfaces via ion beam irradiation: real time x-ray studies reveal the effect of silicide bonding. Journal of Applied Physics 113, 12,124305.


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