Colorado State University’s Amy Prieto Named 2011 ExxonMobil Fellow by American Chemical Society

Note to Reporters: A photo of Amy Prieto is available with the news release at

Amy Prieto, a Colorado State University chemistry professor and founder of one of the university’s most prominent startup companies, Prieto Battery, has been named the 2011 ExxonMobil Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellow. The prestigious honor is given to one scientist who is chosen each year out of a national field.

Since 1979, two Colorado State University professors have received this award –the only university in Colorado to ever receive this honor. Peter Dorhout, vice provost for Graduate Affairs and chemistry professor, received the award in 1996.

The Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellowship recognizes a young scientist who has made substantial contributions to solid-state chemistry and has the potential to emerge as a leader in the field. The award is administered by the Division of Inorganic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

Prieto’s research focuses on developing methods for making nanoscale materials that have applications in solar cells, lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage.

Most recently, Prieto successfully turned a mineral compound into a material that can pass current through a nanoparticle network, an important discovery toward more efficient, inexpensive solar cell materials. Prieto discovered that dramatic reactions occur with copper selenide on the nanoscale. Reactions with air allow Prieto and her students to manipulate the properties of the device – such as a solar cell – containing copper selenide.

"Dr. Prieto is an entrepreneurial scientist whose innovative approach to developing new types of batteries through fundamental solid-state chemistry promises to revolutionize that industry,” said Ellen Fisher, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “She is a truly worthy recipient of the ExxonMobil Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellowship."

Prieto joined Colorado State in 2005 as an assistant professor. She is part of the university’s Clean Energy Supercluster commercialization arm, Cenergy. In 2009, Prieto co-founded Cenergy’s first startup company, Prieto Battery, a company expected to produce batteries theoretically up to 1,000 times more powerful and 10 times longer lasting and cheaper than traditional batteries. The development of this technology could revolutionize the military, automobile and healthcare industries.

In its 2012 edition of top graduate schools released today, U.S News and World Report named the graduate program in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado State one of the top 50 programs in the country.

The ExxonMobil Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellowship is sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation. Selection of the recipient is administered by the Solid State Subdivision of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry. The award includes an unrestricted grant of $10,000 and will be presented at the National ACS meeting in the fall.