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Assistant Researcher (UC Professional Research Series)

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

University of California, Los Angeles

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

Nanotech Energy, Inc.

UCLA Address

607 Charles E. Young Dr. East

Molecular Sciences Building 2230

Los Angeles, CA 90095



Maher El-Kady is a professional researcher at the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Co-founder and chief technology officer at Nanotech Energy, Inc. His research focuses on the design and implementation of new materials and devices to address challenges in energy, electronics, and sustainability. This approach is interdisciplinary, bridging the fields of chemistry, materials science, and engineering along with molecular and cell biology, for the development of more effective batteries, implantable medical devices, nanogenerators for wearable and skin electronics, chemical sensors and biosensors, solar cells, artificial photosynthesis, water remediation, and environmental monitoring. He carried out his doctoral research with Prof. Richard Kaner, who holds the Chair in Materials Innovation at UCLA, where he made notable contributions to the chemistry of graphene and to the field of supercapacitors. 

His groundbreaking work on graphene led to the development of Nanotech Energy, Inc. where he is leading a team of scientists and engineers for converting his research from the laboratory scale to mass production. El-Kady has co-authored nearly 200 patents and patent applications and more than 60 papers in prestigious journals, attracting 15,000+ citations. His professional experiences resulted in numerous awards including C&EN Talented 12 from the American Chemical Society, the UCLA Herbert Newby McCoy Award, Amgen Postdoctoral Award, Lindau Graduate Student Award, the Cairo University Presidential Award for Excellence in Research in addition to a research award from the Government of Egypt. He discussed his research on a movie produced for the Sundance Film Festival on ideas that could change the world. He also appeared in the popular NOVA science show and on BBC Four screen in a series of episodes that tell the stories behind some of the most significant inventions that helped shape the world we live in today. He also featured with Nobel laureate, Harry Kroto, whose discovery of the fullerenes some 35 years ago spurred a global wave of research in nanotechnology. Throughout his career, El-Kady developed a long-standing passion for creating "smart" materials that will transform our lives. 

  • Papers 60, citations: 15000+; h-index: 40 as of Sep 30, 2022

  • Clarivate Analytics: 11 articles in the category of "highly cited papers", which features research papers in the top 1% of their academic field according to the Web of Science.

  • Developed extensive intellectual property with a global portfolio of 204 patents and patent applications

Google Scholar Citations as of July 20, 2022

​Professional Experience

  • 2019-present

Research Assistant professor (Researcher Series), University of California, Los Angeles

  • 2014-present

Co-founder and chief technology officer, Nanotech Energy, Inc.

Leading a team of scientists and engineers for transforming cutting edge research from the lab to the marketplace

  • 2017-2019

Postdoctoral research associate, University of California, Los Angeles

Developed tiny power generators for wearable electronics, electronic skin, water-splitting catalysts, solid-state batteries, and implantable medical devices

  • 2014-2017

Postdoctoral research fellow, University of California, Los Angeles

Team leader of the energy storage group in the Kaner Lab. The research focused on new graphene electronics, 2D materials, nanomaterial assembly, and targeted drug delivery and cellular imaging

  • 2014-2014 (6 months)

Research scientist, Draper Laboratories

Investigated methodologies for the fabrication of graphene micro-supercapacitors for down-hole applications

  • 2013-2015

Assistant professor of Chemistry, Cairo University

  • 2013-2014

Research scientist, NASA-Kennedy Space Center

Developed high energy density supercapacitors for space applications

  • 2012-2013 (1.5 years)

Research scientist, Maxwell Technologies

Working with the world’s largest producer of supercapacitors, I led a team from UCLA to develop carbon-based electrodes for high-power supercapacitors

  • 2009-2013

Doctoral student, University of California, Los Angeles

Developed a groundbreaking technique that uses lasers to fabricate graphene supercapacitors that store as much charge as traditional batteries, but can be recharged in seconds. This work has brought about a huge scientific and technological interest

  • 2004-2009

Lecturer of chemistry, Cairo University

Taught discussion and lab sections covering all aspects of undergrad chemistry including physical, organic, analytical and inorganic chemistry


Awards and Honors

  • 2022: Talented 12 from the American Chemical Society – for "Group of path-paving young scientists tackling the world's toughest problems with clever chemistry".

  • 2022: Innovation Award from the CES Show - World’s Largest Technology Tradeshow.

  • 2022: Advisory Board University of California, Santa Barbara Engineering Leadership Certificate Program

  • 2021: The 5 Largest LA Tech Startup Funding Rounds of August 2021, LA Tech Watch.

  • 2021: 12 of my patent applications were granted and more than 50 new patent filings over the last year only.

  • 2020: Extensive Media Coverage of our new discovery showing that snow could be the next clean energy source [Link].

  • 2019: UCLA Top Stories of the Year: UCLA Newsroom.

  • 2019: MRS Meeting Scene: My talk was featured by the world’s largest congregation of material scientists [Link]

  • 2019: Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed the World. Discussed how graphene can revolutionize the automobile in PBS and BBC TV series. The show was highlighted in Washington Post, 2019.   

  • 2018: Next Gen. Electronics: My achievements in the graphene industry celebrated by Aljazeera [Link].

  • 2018: The top 10 most cited research articles in the prestigious journal Science [Link]. 

  • 2017: NOVA science show! The interview was part of an episode titled “Search for the Super Battery” which aired on PBS on February 1, 2017.

  • 2017: Notable Scientific Contributions of the Year: the University of California selected our work on battery-free medical implants as an example of important UC discoveries made in 2017 [Link].

  • 2016: Henrik Fisker is using a revolutionary new battery to power his Tesla killer: Legendary Henrik Fisker proposed using batteries I developed for the next-generation electric cars [Link]. 

  • 2016: 10 game-changing graduate student startups. The University of California named Nanotech Energy among the top 10 startups based on UC graduate student research that are well on their way to being the next big thing [Link]. 

  • 2016: making graphene and the power of graphene technology and portable power: An interview with the legendary Grant Imahara.

  • 2015: Editors Raymond Chang and Kenneth Goldsby recognized my Ph.D. work on carbon-based supercapacitors in the latest edition of “Chemistry” 12e, published by McGraw Hill this year, more details here. So, undergraduate students around the world study my research discoveries in classes!

  • 2015: Groks Science Radio Show and Podcast: featured in an episode on 3-D Supercapacitors, 2015.

  • 2015: Amgen Postdoctoral Award: Molecular Biology Institute, 2015 [Link1, Link2].

  • 2015: UCLA Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Award.

  • 2014: Finalist, Muslim Star of the Year in the Field of Science: Nominated by On-Islam, Feb. 2014 [Link].

  • 2014: TEDx talk in the city of Cairo, Egypt. Title of the talk “The Super Supercapacitor: The battery tech that could charge your phone in seconds”. 

  • 2014: French TV Station, TF1 featured our research on graphene. 

  • 2013: Most Prominent Scientific Achievements of 2013 in the Arab World according to Aljazeera [Link].

  • 2013: Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower and Immigration also listed my research work as an example for highlighting the work of prominent Egyptian scholars, [Link here].

  • 2013: Cairo University Presidential Award for Excellence in Research, 2013. The award is so prestigious that the vice president of Cairo University, UCLA Dean of graduate research along with a delegate from the Embassy of Egypt in Washington provided the award in a celebration at UCLA [Link].

  • 2013: UCLA Herbert Newby McCoy Award, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. “for the student or faculty member in the Chemistry Department of the University of California at Los Angeles making the greatest contribution of the year to the science of chemistry” [Link]. 

  • 2013: My research has been named as the KCET ReWire’s most popular story of 2013. KCET is America’s Largest Independent Public Television Station.

  • 2012: Featured in a three-minute movie entitled “the Super Supercapacitor”, which was produced for the Sundance film festival by the videographer Brian Davis on ideas that could change the world. This movie was selected by the Fast Company Magazine on the list of best-designed videos of 2013 with an interview with Steve Jobs in the first place and our video came in the third place, link here.

  • 2009: Lindau Graduate Student Award, Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting, the largest regular congregation of Nobel laureates in the world, apart from the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm -  Lindau, Germany.

  • 2009: Nanotechnology, Use and misuse: Discussed the future of Nanotechnology with the 1996 chemistry Nobel laureate, Prof. Sir Harold Kroto. The movie was featured on the home page of the prestigious Nature journal.

  • 2009: Full Ph.D. scholarship, General Missions Program, Government of Egypt.

  • 2009: Best M.Sc. Thesis Award from the School of Physical Sciences at Cairo University.

  • 2008: Distinguished Teaching Award, School of Physical Sciences, Cairo University

  • 2007: Distinguished Teaching Award, School of Physical Sciences, Cairo University


Nanotech Energy Announces Nonflammable Battery 

Lithium-ion batteries have transformed the way society uses energy. They can hold a lot of charge in a small volume, allowing cell phones, laptop computers, and even electric cars to exist. So, they are closely related to our daily lives but they have obvious safety issues. A battery, if shorted, could become a fireball bomb nearly impossible to extinguish using conventional techniques. In this interview, our teams at Nanotech Energy and UCLA present a game-changing non-flammable battery smothering the potential of a flame or explosion and providing a safer battery solution. 

The Search for the Super Battery - NOVA Science Show - PBS TV 

We live in an age when technological innovation seems to be limitlessly soaring. But for all the satisfying speed with which our gadgets have improved, many of them share a frustrating weakness: the batteries. Though they have improved in the last century, batteries remain finicky, bulky, expensive, toxic, and maddeningly short-lived. A new way of making supercapacitors may help them store more energy than normal batteries.

The Power of Graphene Technology with Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara speaks with Power Industry leaders and innovators to discuss the future of power, from GaN to Graphene technology. Hear from supplier partners Infineon and TDK as well as UCLA Chemist and Graphene Experts Richard Kaner and Maher El-Kady

Making Graphene - Dr. Maher El-Kady and Grant Imahara

Dr. Maher El-Kady shows Grant Imahara the process for making Graphene, the material behind a remarkable portable power breakthrough.

Nanotechnology: Use and Misuse - Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting - Germany 2009 - Nature Publishing Group

Sir Harry Kroto won the Nobel Prize for discovering the soccer-ball-shaped fullerenes, strangely-structured carbon molecules also known as buckyballs. These molecules led to the development of carbon nanotubes and the burgeoning field of nanoscience. But young chemists Stephanie Benight and Maher El-Kady want to know how we can use buckyballs in the future, and whether we should be worried by some aspects of these new nano-scale technologies.

The Super Supercapacitor - How to Charge your Phone in Seconds | Maher El-Kady | TEDxCairo 2014

Maher El-Kady is a researcher at UCLA who developed a new battery technology - the super supercapacitor - that will revolutionize how we store and use energy from the charging of our phones to enabling electric cars with longer range. 

Advancing Education in Egypt - MBC Group 

Interview with Sherif Amer in his famous talk show on MBC Masr in which they discussed everything from the future of batteries and electric vehicles to advancing science education in Egypt and the Middle East. 

New Research Directions - Alghad TV

Maher El-Kady discusses his latest research on fast-charging batteries and tiny power generators that can harvest body motion to create sustainable power for portable electronics. He also describes a breakthrough energy storage device that may allow future pacemakers to be used for a lifetime without the need for batteries. Done in collaboration with researchers from the University of Connecticut, the so-called biological supercapacitor is capable of turning the body's own ions into storable energy.

مقدمة القناة: يعكفُ العالمُ المصريُ الشاب ماهر القاضي على تطويرِ اختراع توصل إليه منذ سنوات وهو عبارة عن بطارياتٍ حديثةٍ للهواتف يتم شحنها خلال ثوانٍ معدودة ويستمر عملُها لعدة ساعات وذلك بعد دراسات أجراها على مادة الجرافين، الاختراع - بحسب القاضي - يمهد السوقَ لاكتساح السيارات الكهربائية فالمكثفاتُ الخارقةُ التي يتم صُنعُها من الجرافين قادرةٌ على تخزين الطاقة بصورة مضاعفة، تفاصيل أكثر حول هذا الاختراع وانعكاساته وفوائده الاقتصادية نتابعها مع الدكتور ماهر القاضي العالم المصري والباحث في جامعة كاليفورنيا مع الإعلاميين ولاء غانم وعمر الأطرقجي في برنامج يوم جديد.

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