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Energy and Environment Directorate

Radha Motkuri

Radha Motkuri

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 371-6484


Dr. Motkuri is a senior research scientist with the PNNL Energy Processes and Materials Division. He has over 18 years of experience in material chemistry with an emphasis on nanoporous materials such as zeolites, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), covalent organic frameworks (COFs), mesoporous silica, and porous carbon for potential applications. He serves as principal investigator, co-principal investigator, project manager, and task manager for a diverse range of projects in material chemistry and chemical security. His research portfolio also includes developing MOFs for the sorption and separation of water and fluorocarbons for adsorption cooling applications, sorption/separation of CO2 from flue gas, methane from natural gas, Xenon/Krypton separation in nuclear power plants, and separation of polar/non-polar solvents. Highlights of his recent research include the development of novel materials for advanced adsorption chillers (US patent); new capability development for novel continuous production of MOFs/composites (US patent). Dr. Motkuri is the cognizant space manager and a member of PNNL's Division Safety Council. He organizes several sessions at for the American Chemical Society meeting, including Porous Materials for Energy Conversion (ACS 246th meeting); Carbon Dioxide Management (ACS 248th meeting), and Functional Porous Materials for Sustainable Energy (ACS 253rd). He is on the editorial boards of Synthesis and Catalysis: Open Access and the Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense.

Featured Research Highlights

Research Interests

  • Engineering of nanoporous Materials including MOFs, COFs, zeolites, mesoporous silica, and porous carbon
  • Gas adsorption and separation
  • Nanoporous materials for heating/cooling, adsorption chiller, and power generation
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Novel synthetic methodologies for continuous and bulk production of MOFs
  • Graphene and graphene oxide materials
  • Chemical safety and security
  • Supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D in Organic/supramolecular Chemistry,University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India 2003
  • M.S., Physical Chemistry, Osmania University, 1997
  • B.S., Industrial Chemistry, Osmania University, 1995

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Editorial Board Member (2016-present): Synthesis and Catalysis: Open Access Journal
  • Editorial Board Member (2015-present): Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense
  • Organizer/Co-organizer - Carbon Dioxide Management: Recent Advances in Carbon Dioxide Capture, Conversion, Utilization and Storage in 248th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Division of Fuel Chemistry, August 10-14, 2014, San Francisco, California
  • Organizer/Co-organizer - Porous Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage in the Division of Energy and Fuels at the 246th ACS Meeting, September 8-12, 2013, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Peer Reviewer: Science Advances (AAAS); Journal of the American Chemical Society, Crystal Growth & Design, Inorganic Chemistry (ACS); Angewandte Chemie International Journal, Chemistry European Journal, ChemSelect (Wiley); Energy & Environment Science, Chemical Communications, CrystEngComm, Green Chemistry, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Journal of Material Chemistry A, Inorganic chemistry Frontiers, New Journal of Chemistry, RSC Advances, Dalton Transactions (RSC); Journal of Porous Materials, Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry, Inorganica Chimica Acta, Journal of Solid State Chemistry (Springer); Journal of CO2 utilization, Journal of Solid State Chemistry (Elsevier); Synthetic Communications (Taylor & Francis); Reviews in Chemical Engineering (DE Gruyter)
    • Grant Reviewer for Department of Energy – Basic Energy Science (DOE-BES); American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF); Laboratory Development Research and Development at PNNL
    • Key Member of Divisional Safety Organization Committee for Energy and Environment Directorate at PNNL for safe lab operations
    • Key Member of VOTES (Voice of the EED Staff at PNNL) committee which serves as an advisory group to EED management on a variety of topics to make a great organization
    • Cognizant Space Manager for two chemical labs at PNNL and empowered to provide leadership to the workers and act as the steward in this space for safe lab operations
    • Member - American Chemical Society, Alexander von Humboldt foundation

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2016: Outstanding Performance Award, PNNL, USA, for going above and beyond to ensure a successful workshop with IICT-India under US State department’s Chemical Security Program
  • 2014: PNNL Staff Accomplishment Award, 2014 for organizing successful American Chemical Society symposiums.
  • 2013: Outstanding performance award, PNNL, USA: In appreciation of extraordinary engagement in safe lab move during the Energy and Environment Directorate moves
  • 2012: Outstanding Performance Award, PNNL, USA: In appreciation of extraordinary help and support during the Energy and Environment Directorate moves
  • 2010: Outstanding Performance Award, PNNL, USA: Outstanding efforts in developing flexible metal-organic frameworks for gas, vapor sorption, and separation.
  • 2005: Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Germany: Development of Rotaxane-based novel topological chiral architectures coined as "Bonnanes"
  • 2003: Hindustan Platinum Award for best oral presentation: Best orator in 1st Indo-German Conference & 16th National Symposium on Catalysis, IICT-Hyderabad, India, Feb 6-8, 2003
  • 2002: DFG (Germany) - DST (India) Award & Participation in the Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Lindau, Germany: One among a team of 20 young researchers chosen to represent INDIA in this meeting from July 1-5th, 2002
  • 2002: Dr. K.V. Rao Research Award: Dr. K.V. Rao Research Award-2002, for the title "Molecular Sieves to Macrocycles and Macrocycles to Molecular Sieves"
  • 2000: Prolog to Discovery - New idea scheme (IICT / CSIR- India): A competitive based financial support (3 years) for the concept "Molecular sieves to Supra molecules and vice versa"
  • 2000: Senior Research Fellowship, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India
  • 1997: University Second Rank holder in M.Sc., Physical Chemistry, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India

PNNL Patents

PNNL Publications


  • Sabale SR, P Kandesar, V Jadhav, RE Komorek, RK Motkuri, and XY Yu. 2017. "Recent Developments in Synthesis, Properties, and Biomedical Applications of Core/Shell Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles with Gold." Biomaterials Science 5(11):2212-2225.  doi:10.1039/C7BM00723J
  • Zheng J, VRS Vemuri, L Estevez, PK Koech, T Varga, DM Camaioni, TA Blake, BP McGrail, and RK Motkuri. 2017. "Pore-Engineered Metal-Organic Frameworks with Excellent Adsorption of Water and Fluorocarbon Refrigerant for Cooling Applications." Journal of the American Chemical Society 139(31):10601-10604.  doi:10.1021/jacs.7b04872


  • Banerjee D, CM Simon, AM Plonka, RK Motkuri, J Liu, X Chen, B Smit, JB Parise, M Haranczyk, and PK Thallapally. 2016. "Metal-Organic Framework with Optimal Adsorption, Separation, and Selectivity towards Xenon." Nature Communications 7:Article No. ncomms11831.  doi:10.1038/ncomms11831
  • Das AK, VRS Vemuri, IV Kutnyakov, BP McGrail, and RK Motkuri. 2016. "An Efficient Synthesis Strategy for Metal-Organic Frameworks: Dry-Gel Synthesis of MOF-74 Framework with High Yield and Improved Performance." Scientific Reports 6(28050):, doi:10.1038/srep28050
  • Oleksiak MD, A Ghorbanpour, MT Conato, BP McGrail, LC Grabow, RK Motkuri, and JD Rimer. 2016. "Synthesis Strategies for Ultrastable Zeolite GIS Polymorphs as Sorbents for Selective Separations." Chemistry - A European Journal 22(45):15961.  doi:10.1002/chem.201603995
  • Oleksiak MD, A Ghorbanpour, MT Conato, BP McGrail, LC Grabow, RK Motkuri, and JD Rimer. 2016. "Synthesis strategies for ultrastable zeolite GIS polymorphs as sorbents for selective separations." Chemistry - A European Journal 22(45):16078-16088.  doi:10.1002/chem.201602653
  • Prodinger S, VRS Vemuri, T Varga, BP McGrail, RK Motkuri, and MA Derewinski. 2016. "Impact of chabazite SSZ-13 textural properties and chemical composition on CO2 adsorption applications." New Journal of Chemistry 40(5):4375-4385.  doi:10.1039/C5NJ03205A
  • Sabale SR, J Zheng, VRS Vemuri, XY Yu, BP McGrail, and RK Motkuri. 2016. "Recent Advances in Metal-Organic Frameworks for Heterogeneous Catalyzed Organic Transformations." Synthesis and Catalysis : Open Access 1(1):Article No. 5. 
  • Zhang W, D Banerjee, J Liu, HT Schaef, JV Crum, CA Fernandez, RK Kukkadapu, Z Nie, SK Nune, RK Motkuri, KW Chapman, MH Engelhard, JC Hayes, KL Silvers, R Krishna, BP McGrail, J Liu, and PK Thallapally. 2016. "Redox-Active Metal-Organic Composites for Highly Selective Oxygen Separation Applications." Advanced Materials 28(18):3572-3577.  doi:10.1002/adma.201600259


  • Annapureddy HVR, SK Nune, RK Motkuri, BP McGrail, and LX Dang. 2015. "A Combined Experimental and Computational Study on the Stability of Nanofluids Containing Metal Organic Frameworks." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 119(29):8992-8999.  doi:10.1021/jp5079086
  • Banerjee D, A Cairns, J Liu, RK Motkuri, SK Nune, CA Fernandez, R Krishna, DM Strachan, and PK Thallapally. 2015. "Potential of Metal-Organic Frameworks for Separation of Xenon and Krypton." Accounts of Chemical Research 48(2):211-219.  doi:10.1021/ar5003126
  • Jenks JWJ, WE TeGrotenhuis, RK Motkuri, B Paul, and BP McGrail. 2015. "A COMPUTATIONAL AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF METAL AND COVALENT ORGANIC FRAMEWORKS USED IN ADSORPTION COOLING." In ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels collocated with the ASME 2015 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems, July 6-9, 2015, San Francisco, California, pp. Paper No. ICNMM2015-48822; V001T03A012.  ASME, New York, NY.  doi:10.1115/ICNMM2015-48822
  • Jeon JW, L Zhang, J Lutkenhaus, DD Laskar, JP Lemmon, D Choi, MI Nandasiri, A Hashmi, J Xu, RK Motkuri, CA Fernandez, J Liu, MP Tucker, BP McGrail, B Yang, and SK Nune. 2015. "Controlling Porosity in Lignin-Derived Nanoporous Carbon for Supercapacitor Applications." ChemSusChem 8(3):428-432.  doi:10.1002/cssc.201402621
  • Motkuri RK, PK Thallapally, HV Annapureddy, LX Dang, R Krishna, SK Nune, CA Fernandez, J Liu, and BP McGrail. 2015. "Separation of polar compounds using a flexible metal-organic framework." Chemical Communications 51(40):8421-8424.  doi:10.1039/c5cc00113g
  • Sevigny GJ, RK Motkuri, DW Gotthold, LS Fifield, AP Frost , and W Bratton. 2015. SEPARATION OF TRITIATED WATER USING GRAPHENE OXIDE MEMBRANEPNNL-24411, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Annapureddy HV, RK Motkuri, PT Nguyen, TB Truong, PK Thallapally, BP McGrail, and LX Dang. 2014. "Computational studies of adsorption in metal organic frameworks and interaction of nanoparticles in condensed phases." Molecular Simulation 40(7-9):571-584.  doi:10.1080/08927022.2013.829224
  • Conato MT, MD Oleksiak, BP McGrail, RK Motkuri, and JD Rimer. 2014. "Framework Stabilization of Si-Rich LTA Zeolite Prepared in Organic-Free Media." Chemical Communications 51(2):269-272.  doi:10.1039/c4cc07396g
  • Motkuri RK, HV Annapureddy, M Vijayakumar, HT Schaef, PF Martin, BP McGrail, LX Dang, R Krishna, and PK Thallapally. 2014. "Fluorocarbon Adsorption in Hierarchical Porous Frameworks." Nature Communications 5:Article No. 4368.  doi:10.1038/ncomms5368
  • Motkuri RK, J Liu, CA Fernandez, SK Nune, PK Thallapally, and BP McGrail. 2014. "Metal-Organic Frameworks - Synthesis and Applications." Chapter 3 in Industrial Catalysis and Separations: Innovations for Process Intensification, ed. KV Raghavan and BM Reddy, pp. 61-103.  Apple Academic Press Inc., Waretown, NJ. 
  • Sreedhar I, RK Motkuri, and KV Raghavan. 2014. "Microenvironment Management in Heterogeneous Catalysis." Chapter 2 in Industrial Catalysis and Separations: Innovations for Process Intensification, ed. KV Raghavan and BM Reddy, pp. 43-57.  Apple Academic Press, Inc., Waretown, NJ. 


  • Motkuri RK, PK Thallapally, and BP McGrail. 2013. "Porous Hexacyanometalates for CO2 capture applications." Proceedings of A.P. Akademi of Sciences XV(2):81-84. 


  • Thallapally PK, JW Grate, and RK Motkuri. 2012. "Facile xenon capture and release at room temperature using a metal-organic framework: a comparison with activated charcoal ." Chemical Communications 48(3):347-349.  doi:10.1039/c1cc14685h


  • Motkuri RK, PK Thallapally, SK Nune, CA Fernandez, BP McGrail, and JL Atwood. 2011. "Role of hydrocarbons in pore expansion and contraction of a flexible metal-organic framework." Chemical Communications 47(25):7077-7079.  doi:10.1039/c1cc11738f


  • Thallapally PK, CA Fernandez, RK Motkuri, SK Nune, J Liu, and CHF Peden. 2010. "Micro and Mesoporous Metal Organic Frameworks for Catalysis Applications." Dalton Transactions 39(7):1692 - 1694.  doi:10.1039/b921118g
  • Thallapally PK, RK Motkuri, CA Fernandez, BP McGrail, and GS Behrooz. 2010. "Prussian Blue Analogues for CO2 and SO2 Capture and Separation Applications." Inorganic Chemistry 49(11):4909-4915.  doi:10.1021/ic902397w
  • Fernandez CA, PK Thallapally, RK Motkuri, SK Nune, JC Sumrak, J Tian, and J Liu. 2010. "Gas-Induced Expansion and Contraction of a Fluorinated Metal-Organic Framework." Crystal Growth & Design 10(3):1037-1039.  doi:10.1021/cg9014948
  • Fernandez CA, SK Nune, RK Motkuri, PK Thallapally, CM Wang, J Liu, GJ Exarhos, and BP McGrail. 2010. "Synthesis, characterization, and application of metal organic framework nanostructures." Langmuir 26(24):18591-18594.  doi:10.1021/la103590t
  • Motkuri RK, PK Thallapally, BP McGrail, and BS Ghorishi. 2010. "Dehydrated Prussian Blues for CO2 Storage and Separation Applications." CrystEngComm 12 (12):4003 - 4006.  doi:10.1039/C0CE00199F
  • Motkuri RK, J Tian, PK Thallapally, CA Fernandez, SJ Dalgarno, JE Warren, BP McGrail, and JL Atwood. 2010. "Flexible metal-organic supramolecular isomers for gas separation." Chemical Communications 46(4):538-540.  doi:10.1039/b913910a
  • Tian J, RK Motkuri, PK Thallapally, and BP McGrail. 2010. "Metal-Organic Framework Isomers with Diamondoid Networks Constructed of a Semi-Rigid Tetrahedral Linker." Crystal Growth & Design 10(12):5327-5333.  doi:10.1021/cg101222w
  • Tian J, RK Motkuri, and PK Thallapally. 2010. "Generation of 2D and 3D (PtS, Adamantanoid) Nets with a Flexible Tetrahedral Building Block." Crystal Growth & Design 10(9):3843 - 3846.  doi:10.1021/cg1005677


  • Thallapally PK, J Tian, RK Motkuri, CA Fernandez, SJ Dalgarno, BP McGrail, JE Warren, and JL Atwood. 2008. "Flexible (Breathing) Interpenetrated Metal-Organic Frameworks for CO2 Separation Applications." Journal of the American Chemical Society 130(50):16842-16843.  doi:10.1021/ja806391k

Selected Publications


  • Kossev I, W Reckien, T Felder, Motkuri Radha Kishan, CA Schalley, and M Sokolowski. 2009. “Molecular Recognition between the Constituents of a Pseudorotaxane Studied by Scanning Tunneling Microscopy.” The Journal of Physical Chemistry 113 (29), pp 12870–12877. doi: 10.1021/jp903668x.

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas