Fernando Soto, Ph.D.

Man smiling
Assistant Professor, Energy Engineering
Office Phone
Office Location
Frable Building, 213C
Penn State Greater Allegheny, 4000 University Drive, McKeesport, PA 15132

    Spring 2022

    On-Campus Office Hours:

    Monday: 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
    Tuesday: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Wednesday: 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
    Thursday: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

    Dr. Soto joined Penn State Greater Allegheny in 2021 after completing his Postdoctoral appointment at Texas A&M University (College Station) and his Ph.D. at Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Soto teaches courses in Energy Engineering, Materials Science, and Energy and the Environment. In his research, he applies an  integrative in silico approach, including first-principles calculations and atomistic-based simulations to gain a fundamental understanding of the interfacial region in multi-valent battery technologies multi-functional materials for energy, catalysis, and sustainability applications.

    Area(s) of Expertise: Computational materials science, density functional theory, ab-initio molecular dynamics

    Research Interests

    Dr. Soto’s research interests are in the areas of:
    - Electrochemical Energy Storage
    - Hydrogen Energy Storage
    - Catalysis
    - Sustainable Concrete Engineering
    - Corrosion Science
    - Optoelectronics
    - Additive Manufacturing


    He, X., Bresser, D., Passerini, S. et al. The passivity of lithium electrodes in liquid electrolytes for secondary batteries. Nat Rev Mater 6, 1036–1052 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-021-00345-5

    X. Liu, B. Li, F.A. Soto, X. Li, R.R. Unocic, P.B. Balbuena, A.R. Harutyunyan, J. Hone, D.V. Esposito, Enhancing Hydrogen Evolution Activity of Monolayer Molybdenum Disulfide via a Molecular Proton Mediator, ACS Catalysis, 11 (2021) 12159-12169.

    L. Cao, D. Li, F. A. Soto, V. Ponce, B. Zhang, L. Ma, T. Deng, J. M. Seminario, E. Hu, X.-Q. Yang, P. B. Balbuena, C. Wang, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 18845.

    Soto, F. A., Galvez-Aranda, D. E., Seminario, J. M., & Balbuena, P. B. (2021). Computational studies for understanding and developing silicon anodes. Lithium-Ion Batteries Enabled by Silicon Anodes, 169.

    J. Tan, F.A. Soto, J. Noh, P. Wu, D.R. Yadav, K. Xie, P.B. Balbuena, C. Yu, Large areal capacity and dendrite-free anodes
    with long lifetime enabled by distributed lithium plating with mossy manganese oxides, Journal of Materials Chemistry
    A, 9 (2021) 9291-9300.

    L. Cao, D. Li, F. A. Soto, V. Ponce, B. Zhang, L. Ma, T. Deng, J. M. Seminario, E. Hu, X.-Q. Yang, P. B. Balbuena, C. Wang,
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 18845.

    Sharifi-Asl, S., Soto, F. A., Foroozan, T., Asadi, M., Yuan, Y., Deivanayagam, R., Rojaee, R., Song, B., Bi, X., Amine, K., Lu, J.,
    Salehi-khojin, A., Balbuena, P. B., Shahbazian-Yassar, R., Anti-Oxygen Leaking LiCoO2. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 29,

    Y. Zheng, F.A. Soto, V. Ponce, J.M. Seminario, X. Cao, J.-G. Zhang, P.B. Balbuena, Localized high concentration electrolyte
    behavior near a lithium–metal anode surface, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 7 (2019) 25047-25055.

    Xiao, B., Soto, F. A., Gu, M., Han, K. S., Song, J., Wang, H., Engelhard, M. H., Murugesan, V., Mueller, K. T., Reed, D.,
    Sprenkle, V. L., Balbuena, P. B., Li, X., Adv. Energy Mater. 2018, 8, 1801441.


    Louisiana Tech University, Ph.D. Engineering (Micro & Nanoscale Systems), 2014
    Louisiana Tech University, M.S. Microsystems Engineering, 2011
    Louisiana Tech University, B.S. Industrial Engineering-Entrepreneurship minor, 2007

    Papers and Presentations

    Fernando A. Soto, Saul Perez-Beltran, Maria Angarita-Gomez, Yu Zheng and Perla B. Balbuena, Solvation Structure,
    Reactions and Rare-Event Dynamics in LCHE Solutions, Batt500 All-Hands Meeting, November 7, 2019. Austin, TX.

    Fernando A. Soto, Kie Hankins, and Perla B. Balbuena, Ab-Initio Molecular Dynamics of Lean Electrolytes for Li-S
    Batteries, Electrochemical Biannual Spring Meeting, May 28, 2019. Dallas, TX.

    Fernando A. Soto and Perla B. Balbuena, On the Road Towards Atom and Energy-Efficient Materials for Battery
    Applications, Second Annual Texas A&M Research Computing Symposium, June 13, 2018. College Station, TX.

    Fernando A. Soto, A. Marzouk, F. El-Mellouhi, and Perla B. Balbuena, Understanding Ionic Diffusion Through SEI
    Components for Lithium-ion and Sodium-ion Batteries, Materials Science and Engineering Symposium, February 26,
    2018. Doha, Qatar.

    Fernando A. Soto, Soroosh Sharifi-Asl, Reza Shahbazian-Yassar and Perla B. Balbuena, DFT Study of Surface and Interface
    Issues in LiCoO2 for Li-Ion Batteries, Electrochemical Biannual Spring Meeting, May 28, 2017. New Orleans, LA.