Recent work by David Ginger and coworkers published in Nature Materials

Recent work by Professor David Ginger and colleagues was published online on June 19 in Nature Materials. The research was also highlighted in a News & Views article.

Lead author Rajiv Giridharagopal, left, and co-author Lucas Flagg standing next to an atomic force microscope. Dane deQuilettes

The Ginger group, in collaboration with Professor Christine Luscombe (Materials Science & Engineering) and the Clean Energy Institute, has discovered the basic design principles for constructing polymers that can transport both electrons and ions. This is a critical step toward making polymer-based devices at the interface of biology and electronics, such as improved biosensors and bioelectronics implants.

“Most of our technology relies on electronic currents, but biology transduces signals with ions, which are charged atoms or molecules,” said David Ginger, Alvin L. and Verla R. Kwiram Endowed Professor of Chemistry and chief scientist at the UW’s Clean Energy Institute. “If you want to interface electronics and biology, you need a material that effectively communicates across those two realms.”

UW researchers directly measured a thin film made of a single type of conjugated polymer—a conducting plastic—as it interacted with ions and electrons. They show how variations in the polymer layout yielded rigid and non-rigid regions of the film, and that these regions could accommodate electrons or ions—but not both equally. The softer, non-rigid areas were poor electron conductors but could subtly swell to take in ions, while the opposite was true for rigid regions.

The Luscombe group made new P3HT films that had different levels of rigidity based on variations in polymer arrangement. Tests conducted by the Ginger group showed a clear correlation between polymer arrangement and electrochemical properties. The less rigid and more amorphous polymer layouts yielded films that could swell to let in ions, but were poor conductors of electrons. More crystalline polymer arrangements yielded more rigid films that could easily conduct electrons.

Their results demonstrate how critical the polymer synthesis and layout process is to the film’s electronic and ionic conductance properties. Their findings may even point the way forward in creating polymer devices that can balance the demands of electronic transport and ion transport.

“The implication of these findings is that you could conceivably embed a crystalline material—which could transport electrons—within a material that is more amorphous and could transport ions,” said Ginger. “Imagine that you could harness the best of both worlds, so that you could have a material that is able to effectively transport electrons and swell with ion uptake—and then couple the two with one another.”

See the UW News article for expanded coverage.

To learn more about Professor Ginger and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

To learn more about Professor Luscombe and her research, please visit her faculty page and research group website.

To learn more about the UW Clean Energy Institute, please visit the CEI website.

 

David Ginger receives 2017 Cottrell Scholars TREE Award

David Ginger, Alvin L. and Verla R. Kwiram Endowed Professor of Chemistry and Associate Director of the UW Clean Energy Institute, has received the 2017 Cottrell Scholars TREE Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. “TREE awards recognize the outstanding research and educational accomplishments of the community of Cottrell Scholars,” said RCSA Senior Program Director Silvia Ronco. She added, “The awards serve to encourage the improvement of science education at American universities and colleges.”

The RCSA stated in their press release: “Ginger is known for his pioneering development of powerful tools for new scanning probe microscopy, allowing scientists to visualize the dynamic behavior of electrons in new materials with unprecedented precision. Ginger has also pioneered the application of scanning probe microscopy tools to challenging problems in chemistry, physics, and materials science. His primary research focuses on what is arguably the most important challenge facing civilization today: how to supply our society with low-cost, environmentally benign sources of energy, such as solar power. He has made major contributions to understanding organic photovoltaic devices and to developing the optoelectronic properties of colloidal nanocrystals, and he is widely recognized as an international leader in the development of frontier scanning probe microscopy techniques. In addition, Ginger is noted for his work to improve the educational experience for his undergraduate students, receiving the UW Chemistry’s departmental teaching award in 2007. His teaching emphasizes computational problem solving of context-rich, inquiry-based problems.”

The TREE Award consists of an unrestricted $20,000 award sent to the awardee institution on behalf of the recipient’s educational and scholarly work. The recipient is encouraged to use these funds to foster advancements in his or her research and educational accomplishments. An additional $5,000 award is provided to the recipient to support lectures and travel to other institutions to help broadly communicate innovative research and educational accomplishments. For more information about the TREE Award, read the press release.

Recipients of the TREE Award must have previously been selected by the RCSA as Cottrell Scholars, an honor which Professor Ginger received in 2006. In 2011, he was named as a Scialog Fellow by the RCSA, along with his colleague, Professor Daniel Gamelin.

For more information about Prof. Ginger and his research, visit his faculty page or research group website.

Clean Energy Institute Launches

CleanEnergyInstKickoff_sqA new University of Washington institute to develop efficient, cost-effective solar power and better energy storage systems launched December 12 with an event attended by UW President Michael K. Young, Gov. Jay Inslee and researchers, industry experts and policy leaders in renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Institute formed when Washington’s governor and state legislators last summer allocated $6 million to create a research center at the university that will advance solar energy and electrical energy storage capacities. The institute will better connect and boost existing energy research at the UW as well as attract new partnerships and talent, including new faculty members.

The opening of the Clean Energy Institute was covered by KIRO 7 News, the Seattle Times, and UW News. Chemistry Professor David Ginger, Raymon E. and Rosellen M. Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry, is the Associate Director of the Clean Energy Institute.  Daniel Gamelin, Harry and Catherine Jaynne Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry, serves on the Faculty Advisory Board.

New research published in Nature explores organic solar cells

A vial holds a solution that contains the UW-developed polymer “ink” that can be printed to make solar cells.

A vial holds a solution that contains the UW-developed polymer “ink” that can be printed to make solar cells.

David Ginger, Professor and Raymon E. and Rosellen M. Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry, and Alex Jen, Boeing/Johnson Chair Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, along with other researchers, have recently reported on the role of electron spin in creating efficient organic solar cells. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature.

Organic solar cells that convert light to electricity using carbon-based molecules have shown promise as a versatile energy source but have not been able to match the efficiency of their silicon-based counterparts. These researchers have discovered a synthetic, high-performance polymer that behaves differently from other tested materials and could make inexpensive, highly efficient organic solar panels a reality. The polymer, created at the University of Washington and tested at the University of Cambridge in England, appears to improve efficiency by wringing electrical current from pathways that, in other materials, cause a loss of electrical charge.

More information can be found at Nature and in the UW News press release.

To learn more about Professor Ginger and Professor Jen, please visit their research group websites.

Ginger Research Group: http://depts.washington.edu/gingerlb/

Jen Research Group: http://depts.washington.edu/jengroup/

Four Faculty Members Elected Fellows of AAAS

Four faculty members from the Department of Chemistry were among the 701 newly elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow of the AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members of the organization by their peers. The newly elected AAAS Fellows will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum on February 16, 2013 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

Eleven University of Washington researchers were among the 701 AAAS Fellows elected in 2012, including the following four from the Department of Chemistry:

David S. Ginger, Professor and Raymon E. and Rosellen M. Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry

D. Michael Heinekey, Professor of Chemistry

Sarah L. Keller, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean for Research Activities

František Tureček, Professor of Chemistry

For additional coverage of the UW researchers receiving this honor, please see the UW News article.

David Ginger wins 2012 Microscopy Society of America Burton Award

Professor David Ginger, the Raymon E. and Rosellen M. Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry, has been awarded the Microscopy Society of America Burton Medal for 2012. This Medal is presented annually to an outstanding young scientist under the age of 40 for exceptional achievement in microscopy and microanalysis. Presented annually since 1975, this Award honors the memory of Professor Eli Burton of the University of Toronto who, with his students Hillier and Probus, designed and built one of the earliest electron microscopes in 1938. The award will be presented at the 70th Annual Meeting of MSA in Phoenix, Arizona on July 30, 2012.

To learn more about Professor Ginger and his research, please visit his faculty web page and his research group site.

UW documentary features four Chemistry faculty

Professors Michael Gelb, David Ginger, Alvin Kwiram, and Pradip Rathod of the Department of Chemistry are among the notable University of Washington scientists highlighted in a new documentary released this month. “Timeless Discoveries,” a documentary made possible by the generosity of the Leonard P. & Helen M. Kammeyer Endowed Fund, highlights major breakthroughs, groundbreaking research, and practical applications revealed by the scientific community at the College of Arts & Sciences. The film, which will air on UWTV, follows professors and students as they discuss their challenges and discoveries ranging from the Hepatitis B vaccine to advances in solar energy.  The film was also featured in the Local News section of the Seattle Times.

To learn more about Professor Gelb and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

To learn more about Professor Ginger and his research, please visit his faculty web page and his research group site.

To learn more about Emeritus Professor Kwiram and his research, please visit his faculty page.

To learn more about Professor Rathod and his research, visit his faculty web page.

David Ginger named Lawton Distinguished Scholar

We are pleased to announce that Prof. David Ginger has been named the Raymon E. and Rosellen M. Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry. Research in the Ginger Lab focuses on the physical chemistry of nanostructured materials with potential applications in low cost photovoltaics (solar cells), energy efficient light-emitting diodes, and novel biosensors.

The Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry position is funded by an annual gift by Dr. Raymon Lawton, who graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors in 1946. He went on to earn his M.D. from the University of Oregon. He had a distinguished career in medicine in San Diego, CA. We are deeply honored to have Dr. Lawton as a friend of Chemistry.

To learn more about Prof. Ginger’s research, visit his faculty page and his research group page.

David Ginger promoted to Full Professor

Prof. David GingerThe Department of Chemistry congratulates Associate Professor David Ginger on his promotion to the rank of Professor, effective September 16, 2010. David Ginger studies the physical chemistry of nanostructured materials with potential applications in low-cost photovoltaics (solar cells that convert sunlight directly to electricity), energy efficient light-emitting diodes, and novel biosensors.  His group studies conjugated polymers, semiconductor nanocrystal quantum dots, and plasmon resonant metal nanoparticles using both scanning probe microscopy and optical spectroscopy.  His group is known for pioneering the development and application of scanning probe microscopy methods to understand how to improve nanostructured solar cells.  For instance, by using a sharp metal probe to collect current from very small regions of a solar cell they can determine which regions give the most photocurrent–and which don’t.  These experiments can be used to improve the manufacturing of thin film solar cells and to test basic theories of charge transport in disordered materials.

For more information about David Ginger and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.