How to Succeed at Scientific Collaboration | Part 1: A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Late last year @ACS4Authors surveyed over 1,500 researchers on Twitter and found that 30% of researchers surveyed report participating in a research collaboration in 2017.

Researchers worldwide are expanding their networks and frequently collaborating with other scientists from other countries as communication technology continues to improve. These collaborations grant them access to new perspectives and often times better lab equipment. We tapped into the Twitter community to bring you a few stories and tips for successful collaboration in 2018. We’ll be sharing one a week for the first few weeks of the year.

A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration: Zenkina Lab, Easton Lab, and Gaspari Lab

Terpyridine-Based Monolayer Electrochromic Materials

ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9 (46), pp 40438–40445
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b11848

This work reports on new electrochromic materials (ECMs) that are able to reversibly change their color under applied voltages. Recent technologies of “smart” devices, including smart windows for the Boeings Dreamliner aircrafts, battery charge sensors, and especially modern monitors utilize different ECMs. Close collaboration between inorganic/materials chemists (Zenkina lab), electrochemists (Easton lab), and physicists (Gaspari lab), led to the invention of a new material architecture that is highly promising and could potentially satisfy the demands of rapidly developing industrial applications.

Professor Zenkina conceived the concept and led the project. Synthetic studies were carried out in Zenkina’s lab. Professor Gaspari’s lab developed the screen printing methodology resulting in solid supports with an improved surface area. Further functionalization of the supports with as low as a monolayer of the EC molecule performed in Zenkina’s lab resulted in novel ECMs. The assembly of the novel materials into EC devices and their stability studies was performed in Zenkina’s and Professor Easton’s labs. All electrochemical experiments were designed and carried out in Easton lab. The spectro-electrochemical experiments were performed in Easton and Gaspari labs. Each group contributed to the physical characterization of the materials. This work was a result of close collaboration between three research groups at UOIT, and included several co-supervised postdocs and students.

Stay tuned for another collaboration story next week and for further reading, check out Why the Future of Research is Collaborative.

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