Associate professor Alejandro L. Briseño, polymer science and engineering, has been selected to receive the 2017 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award by the American Chemical Society (ACS), an honor that recognizes and encourages “excellence in organic chemistry.”
Briseñowill receive a $40,000 unrestricted research grant for use in his research studies. He will also deliver an awards address at the Arthur C. Cope Symposium and may be invited to make a presentation at an ACS regional meeting during the year after the Cope Award and Cope Scholar Award Symposium. Briseno will formally accept the award at the 254th ACS National Meeting in Washington, D.C. in August 2017.
One of the major research interests of Briseño’s lab is improving the efficiency of organic materials for harvesting solar energy. In 2014 he and an international team including colleagues and graduate students at UMass Amherst reported that by using single-crystalline organic nanopillars, or “nanograss,” they could get around dead ends, also known as discontinuous pathways, that poses a serious drawback when using blended systems known as “bulk heterojunction donor-acceptor,” positive-negative (p-n) junctions for harvesting energy in organic solar cells. His research group is one of very few in the world to design and grow organic single-crystal p-n junctions.
He notes, “This work is a major advancement in the field of organic solar cells because we have developed what the field considers the ‘Holy Grail’ architecture for harvesting light and converting it to electricity.” The breakthrough in morphology control will have widespread use in solar cells, batteries and vertical transistors.
Briseño says of the ACS honor, “I’m so proud to receive this award. I’m even more proud of my students. It is their work that the Arthur C. Cope Foundation truly recognized.”