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Samson A. Jenekhe is the Boeing-Martin Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington, beginning in 2000. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to his current positions, he was Principal Research Scientist, Honeywell Inc., from 1984-1987 and Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester from 1988-2000. His scientific expertise includes organic/flexible electronics, polymer-based photovoltaics, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) for displays and lighting, energy conversion and storage systems, molecular self-assembly and nanotechnology, and synthesis and properties of semiconducting polymers. He is the author of over 300 research publications, three edited books, and 28 patents. He is a member of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, and the Materials Research Society. Jenekhe has served on editorial advisory boards of several scientific journals, including Macromolecules and Chemistry of Materials. Jenekhe is a Fellow of the APS, the AAAS, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was awarded the Charles M. A. Stine Award for Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering from the AIChE in 2014 and was elected Member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2013. He was awarded the Polymer Physics Prize in 2021 by the American Physical Society.
- PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1985
- MA, Philosophy, University of Minnesota, 1981
- MS, Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1980
- BS, Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 1977
- Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Chemistry, University of Rochester, 1994-2000
- Assistant/Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Rochester, 1988-1994
- Principal Research Scientist, Honeywell Inc., Physical Sciences Center, 1984-1987
Overview of Our Research
The Jenekhe Research Laboratory is focused on basic and applied studies in the chemistry, physics, and engineering applications of organic/polymer semiconductors. We combine synthesis of well-defined semiconducting polymers and small-molecule organic semiconductors with detailed investigation of their charge transport, photophysics, electroluminescence, and photovoltaic properties towards understanding of underlying structure-property-morphology relationships. We explore applications of organic/polymer semiconductors in organic photovoltaics, organic/flexible electronics, energy conversion and storage systems, light-emitting diodes for displays and lighting, and nanotechnology.
Polymer Solar Cells
Organic photovoltaics (OPVs) represents a promising approach to low cost, scalable, and sustainable solar energy based electrical power generation technologies. Although much progress has been made in developing polymer-based single-junction OPV devices, their power conversion efficiencies are still substantially below the theoretical (thermodynamic) efficiency limit (~25-27%). Our goal is to close this efficiency gap through major innovations in organic/polymer semiconductor materials, nanoscale control of blend morphology and OPV device engineering. Our efforts in the molecular and morphology engineering of high-performance OPV devices include:
- design and synthesis of narrow optical bandgap small-molecule semiconductors
- design and synthesis of narrow optical bandgap n-type and p-type semiconducting polymers
- characterization of electronic structures of conjugated polymers via electrochemistry and photoelectron spectroscopy
- scanning probe microscopy and grazing-incidence wide-angle x-ray scattering investigation of photovoltaic polymer blend morphology
- fabrication and characterization of polymer solar cells
- investigation of photophysics, charge transport, and charge recombination processes in polymer solar cells
Organic Electronics and Optoelectronics
Semiconducting polymers and small-molecule organic semiconductors are enabling printed and flexible electronics and optoelectronics for diverse engineering applications. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are finding commercial uses in displays and efficient lighting. Organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) are finding applications in large-area printed electronics while organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) are used in bioelectronics. Other important polymer semiconductor based devices of growing interest include thermoelectric devices, photodetectors, and high-density organic memories. Our lab’s goal is to enable high performance organic electronics and optoelectronics for applications in diverse technologies through major advances in organic/polymer semiconductor materials, organic/organic interfaces, and device engineering. Our specific approaches in these areas include:
- design and synthesis of high carrier mobility n-type and p-type semiconducting polymers for OFETs, OECTs and thermoelectrics
- fabrication and characterization of OFETs and OECTs
- molecular design and synthesis of efficient light-emitting organic semiconductors for OLEDs
- design and synthesis of electron transport (n-type) materials for OLEDs and phosphorescent OLEDs
- molecular and interface engineering of organic electronic devices
- fabrication and characterization of OLEDs
- characterization of electronic structures of organic semiconductors via electrochemistry and photoelectron spectroscopy
- investigation of structure-property relationships
- Kolhe, N. B.; West, S. M.; Tran, D. K.; Ding, X.; Kuzuhara, D.; Yoshimoto, N.; Koganezawa, T.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Designing High Performance Nonfullerene Electron Acceptors with Rylene Imides for Efficient Organic Photovoltaics,” Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 195-204.
- Tran, D. K.; Kolhe, N. B.; Hwang, Y. J.; Kuzuhara, D.; Yoshimoto, N.; Koganezawa, T.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Effects of a Fluorinated Donor Polymer on the Morphology, Photophysics, and Performance of All-Polymer Solar Cells based on Naphthalene Diimide-Arylene Copolymer Acceptors,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interf. 2020, 12, 16490-16502.
- Tran, D. K.; Robitaille, A.; Hai, I. J., Ding, X.; Kuzuhara, D.; Koganezawa, T.; Chu, Y.-C.; Leclerc, M.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Elucidating the Impact of Molecular Weight on Morphology, Charge Transport, Photophysics and Performance of All-Polymer Solar Cells,” J. Mater. Chem. A 2020, 8, 21070-21083.
- Xu, K.; Sun, H.; Ruoko, T. P.; Wang, G.; Kroon, R.; Kolhe, N. B.; Puttisong, Y.; Liu, X.; Fazzi, D.; Shibata, K.; Yoshida, H.; Chen, W. M.; Fahlman, M.; Kemerink, M.; Jenekhe, S. A.; Müller, C.; Berggren, M.; Fabiano, S. “Ground-state electron transfer in all-polymer donor-acceptor heterojunctions,” Nature Mater. 2020, 19, 738-744.
- Kolhe, N. B.; Tran, D. K.; Lee, H.-J.; Kuzuhara, D.; Yoshimoto, N.; Koganezawa, T.; Jenekhe, S. A. “New Random Copolymer Acceptors Enable Additive-Free Processing of 10.1% Efficient All-Polymer Solar Cells with Near Unity Internal Quantum Efficiency,” ACS Energy Lett. 2019, 4, 1162−1170.
- Kim, F. S.; Park, C. H.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Effects of Ladder Structure on the Electronic Properties and Field-effect Transistor Performance of Poly(benzobisimidazobenzophenanthroline),” Org. Electronics 2019, 69, 301-307.
- Kim, K.-Y.; Park, M. S.; Na, Y.; Choi, J.-W.; Jenekhe, S. A.; Kim, F. S. “Preparation and application of polystyrene-grafted alumina core-shell nanoparticles for dielectric passivation in solution-processed polymer thin film transistors,” Org. Electronics 2019, 65, 305-310.
- Xin, H.; Yan, W.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Color Stable White Organic Light-Emitting Diodes Utilizing a Blue-Emitting Electron-Transport Layer,” ACS Omega 2018, 3, 12549−12553.
- Murari, N. M.; Hwang, Y.-J.; Kim, F. S.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Organic Nonvolatile Memory Devices utilizing Intrinsic Charge-Trapping Phenomena in an n-Type Polymer Semiconductor,” Org. Electronics 2016, 31, 104-110.
- Jeon, S. O.; Earmme, T.; Jenekhe, S. A. “New Sulfone-Based Electron-Transport Materials with High Triplet Energy for Highly Efficient Blue Phosphorescent Organic Light-Emitting Diodes,” J. Mater. Chem. C 2014, 2, 10129 – 10137.
- Li, H.; Kim, F. S.; Ren, G.; Hollenbeck, E. C.; Subramaniyan, S.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Tetraazabenzodifluoranthene Diimides: New Building Blocks for Solution Processable N-Type Organic Semiconductors,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 5513-5517.
- Li, H.; Kim, F. S.; Ren, G.; Jenekhe, S. A. “High Mobility n-Type Conjugated Polymers for Organic Electronics,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 14920-14923.
- Earmme, T.; Jenekhe, S. A. “Solution-Processed Alkali Metal Salt Doped Electron-Transport Layers for High Performance Phosphorescent Organic Light-Emitting Diodes,” Adv. Funct. Mater. 2012, 22, 5126-5136.
- Kim, F. S.; Guo, X.; Watson, M. D.; Jenekhe, S. A. “High-Mobility Ambipolar Transistors and High-Gain Inverters from a Donor-Acceptor Copolymer Semiconductor,” Adv. Mater. 2010, 22, 478-482.
Honors & awards
- Polymer Physics Prize, American Physical Society, 2021
- Highly Cited Researcher in Materials Science, Clarivate Analytics, 2017-2018
- World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds list, Clarivate Analytics/Thomson Reuters, 2015-2017
- Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom), 2015
- Charles M. A. Stine Award for Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2014
- Elected Member, Washington Academy of Sciences, 2013
- Elected Fellow, American Physical Society, 2003
- Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2003
Jenekhe featured as C&EN Trailblazer
Jenekhe's pioneering polymer work paved the way for commercial OLEDs