David Herlihy
David M. Herlihy, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Mechanical Engineering
Menlo Park

Dr. Herlihy specializes in transferring technology from the laboratory into industrial applications, including prototype demonstrations for internal review and external clients. He leverages his experience developing cutting edge instrumentation for fundamental and applied research to help clients quickly build, test, and refine their latest innovations. On the assessment side, Dr. Herlihy performs independent technical audits to help clients identify promising technology, minimize risk, and achieve due diligence with respect to their investments.

Before joining Exponent, Dr. Herlihy consulted directly with founders of laboratory-originating startups, developing pathways-to-market for their entry products and informing their designs to maximize product-market fit. He has worked with startups in photovoltaics, biofuels, food and water processing, agriculture and smart lighting. He completed the Cleantech-to-Market program at the Berkeley Haas business school and was selected to expand the program to promising startups funded through the California Energy Commission’s Energy Deployment and Market Facilitation Office.

Dr. Herlihy has a formal background in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He used infrared, visible and x-ray spectroscopy to study artificial photosynthesis, the direct conversion of sunlight to usable fuels. His research experience includes building an ultrafast laser spectroscopy laboratory, operando electrochemical flow cells for inline sensing, ultrahigh vacuum systems, quantum yield sensing chambers, electrochemical analytic cells, and LabVIEW programming for data acquisition, sensing, data analysis, and intelligent automation. He studied systems as varied as semiconductors, inorganic-biotic hybrid bacteria, and nanoparticle photo-catalysts.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2016
  • Sc.B., Chemistry, Brown University, 2012


Kornienko N, Sakimoto K, Herlihy DM, Nguyen SC, Alivisatos AP, Harris CB, Schwartzberg AM, P. Yang. Spectroscopic elucidation of picosecond energy transfer pathways in hybrid inorganic-biological organisms for solar-to-chemical production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2016; 113(42):11750-11755.

Herlihy DM, Waegele M, Chen X, Pemmaraju CD, Prendergast D, Cuk T. Detecting the oxyl radical of photocatalytic water oxidation at an n-SrTiO3/aqueous interface through its subsurface vibration. Nature Chemistry 2016; 8:549-555.

Waegele M, Chen X, Herlihy DM, Cuk T. How surface potential determines the kinetics of the first hole transfer of photocatalytic water oxidation. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014; 136:10632-10639.


Herlihy DM, et al. Direct observation of the oxyl radical of photocatalytic water oxidation. Speaker, discussion leader, and poster presentation, Gordon Research Conference and Seminar on Molecular Interactions and Dynamics. Stonehill College, MA, 2016.

Herlihy DM, et al. Direct observation of the oxyl radical of photocatalytic water oxidation. Poster presentation, Molecular Foundry Users Meeting, LBNL, Berkeley, CA, 2015.

Herlihy DM, et al. Ultrafast infrared spectroscopy of catalyst surfaces in situ. Speaker and discussion leader, Graduate Research Conference, College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley, CA, 2013.

Prior Experience

Pathway to Market Specialist, California Energy Commission (Energy Deployment and Market Facilitation Office), 2016 -2017

Graduate Student Researcher, University of California, Berkeley, 2012–2017

Lead Scientist, Cleantech-to-Market (Folium team), 2013

Project Experience

Developed pathways to market for laboratory-derived startups with the potential to make significant impact on energy and water usage within the state of California. Outlined market entry strategies to move technology from bench-scale demonstration through piloting and into manufacturing.

Collaborated with a team of students from business, law and policy backgrounds to develop a market entrance strategy for FOLIUM, an ARPA-E funded ($4.8M) advanced biofuel technology.