Meet the Winners of the 2018 Chemistry of Materials Lectureship and Best Paper Award

Chemistry of Materials and the ACS Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) are proud to announce Professor Darren Lipomi, Mohammad (Mo) A. Alkhadra, and Samuel (Sam) E. Root as the winners of the 2018 Chemistry of Materials Lectureship and Best Paper Award. The award honors the authors of an article, published in 2017, with outstanding influence across the field of materials chemistry. The award also recognizes the team aspect of research and celebrates the importance of co-authors and their contributions. Lipomi is an Associate Professor of Nanoengineering, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Chemistry at the University of California San Diego, and co-authors Alkhadra and Root are undergraduate and graduate students, respectively.

The winning paper, “Quantifying the Fracture Behavior of Brittle and Ductile thin Films of Semiconducting Polymers,” provides critical insights for flexible electronics applications. “Simply because an organic semiconductor film is expected to be flexible is not a guarantee that the electronic properties will withstand this mechanical stress. The work of the Lipomi Group walks us through what happens, at the molecular level, when semiconductor thin films are bent, stretched, and flexed, as they would be in real-world applications,” explains Professor Jillian M. Buriak, Editor-in-Chief of Chemistry of Materials.

“Darren has made important contributions to the field of stretchable electronics. The winning paper is a nice piece of work from his group, which provides much-needed quantitative understanding of fracture behavior of ductile polymer semiconductors,” says Dr. Zhenan Bao, K.K. Lee Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University.

One of the outstanding things about the nomination is the cultural backstory of the co-authors. Root hails from a Jewish family in New York while Alkhadra comes from a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia. Interestingly enough, they both had grandfathers born in what is now Israel. “One of the great pleasures of my job is to nurture relationships that cross racial, religious, national, and cultural boundaries. The ability for scientific research to bring people together is something that ought to be celebrated,” notes Lipomi.

Lipomi, Root, and Alkhadra will be presenting their research at a half-day symposium and award ceremony during the 2018 Fall ACS National Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

Fun fact: Lipomi has a long history of publishing in Chemistry of Materials, including being the first to publish an “Up & Coming Perspectives” titled “Molecularly Stretchable Electronics.” Here is a list of other contributions from Lipomi’s group,


Efficient Characterization of Bulk Heterojunction Films by Mapping Gradients by Reversible Contact with Liquid Metal Top Electrodes
Chem. Mater., 2017, 29 (1), pp 389–398
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b04192

[70]PCBM and Incompletely Separated Grades of Methanofullerenes Produce Bulk Heterojunctions with Increased Robustness for Ultra-Flexible and Stretchable Electronics
Chem. Mater., 2015, 27 (11), pp 3902–3911
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b00638

Mechanical Properties of a Library of Low-Band-Gap Polymers
Chem. Mater., 2016, 28 (7), pp 2363–2373
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b00525


Measuring the Glass Transition Temperature of Conjugated Polymer Films with Ultraviolet-Visible Spectroscopy
Chem. Mater., 2017, 29 (7), pp 2646–2654
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b00242

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