Samson Jenekhe

Samson Jenekhe, PhD.Professor of Chemistry

Boeing-Martin Professor of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1985

(Chemical Engineering)

(206) 543-5525


Research Interests

One of Professor Jenekhe’s main research interests focuses on electronic, optoelectronic, and photonic phenomena in polymers. Fundamental understanding of these phenomena and the related electroactive and photoactive properties in synthetic polymers is essential to their applications in diverse areas of technology ranging from imaging, photodetectors, batteries, sensors, electrochromic devices, and solar cells to light emitting diodes for flat panel displays. One perennial problem is elucidation of the structural origins of electronic and photonic properties of polymers; another is how to improve or control the efficiencies of the photophysical and charge transport processes. Our general approaches to these problems include the design and synthesis of new polymers, physical and photophysical measurements, structure-property correlations, computational modeling, thin film processing, and polymer device engineering.


In one area, we are exploring how the electronic, molecular, and supramolecular structures and morphology of conjugated polymers influence their photoconductivity, luminescence, and charge transport properties. Aggregation of conjugated polymers which can lead to diverse phenomena is under study, including the formation of excited-state and ground-state complexes which can significantly modulate the optical and photoelectronic properties of the materials. Our studies in the area of thin film device engineering are aimed at developing and producing high performance and durable electronic and optoelectronic devices (e.g. light-emitting diodes, photodetectors, thin film transistors, photovoltaic cells, sensors, etc.) from organic and polymeric materials. These issues include polymer thin film deposition processes, characterization of the electronic, optical and mechanical properties of polymer thin films and polymer/polymer, and polymer/metal interfaces, and the fabrication and evaluation of multilayer polymer thin film devices.


The study of synthetic self-assembling nanostructures and microstructures of well defined size, shape, and function represents another major research effort in the group. We are exploring molecular recognition-directed self-assembly of macromolecular building blocks into vesicles, tubules, honeycombs, and other functional mesostructures. Our initial studies of hydrogen-bonding rod-coil block copolymers have demonstrated the supramolecular self-assembly of diverse discrete objects with size scales in the 50 nm to 200 µm range and electronic and photonic functions. Major challenges include synthesis of complementary building blocks, controlled self-assembly of mesostructures, physicochemical characterization of large macromolecular assemblies, elucidation of structure-function relationships and exploitation of self-assembling electronic and photonic polymers in molecular devices, nanotechnologies, and other applications.

Representative Publications

"Self-Assembly of Ordered Microporous Materials from Rod-Coil Block Copolymers.", S. A. Jenekhe, and X. L. Chen, Science, 283 372 (1999).

"Electroluminescence and Photophysical Properties of Polyquinolines.", X. Zhang, A. S. Shetty, and S. A. Jenekhe, Macromolecules, 32 7422 (1999).

"X-ray Crystal Structures and Photophysical Properties of New Conjugated Oligoquinolines.", A. S. Shetty, E. B. Liu, R. L. Lachicotte, and S. A. Jenekhe, Chem. Mater., 11 2292 (1999).

"Self-assembled Aggregates of Rod-Coil Block Copolymers and Their Solubilization and Encapsulation of Fullerenes.", X. L. Chen, and S. A. Jenekhe, Science, 279 1903 (1998).

"Tunability of the Photoluminescence in Porous Silicon Due to Different Polymer Dielectric Environments.", H. A. Lopez, X. L. Chen, S. A. Jenekhe, and P. M. Fauchet,  J. Lumin., 80 115 (1998).

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Awards & Activities

Honeywell Star Inventor Award

Editorial Board, Macromolecules

Editorial Board, Chemistry of Materials

Director, MURI Center for Tunable Optical Polymer Systems.

More Awards and Activities

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