Professor David Ginger and Affiliate Professor Sotiris Xantheas are among the 29 new members of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, in recognition of their “outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington.” The Washington State Academy of Sciences provides expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policy-making, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in the State of Washington. The new members, elected based on their achievements, will be inducted during the academy’s eleventh annual meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on September 13, 2018.
David S. Ginger, Jr., Alvin L. and Verla R. Kwiram Professor of Chemistry, University of Washington, “pioneered the application of scanning probe and multimodal microscopy to study the optoelectronic properties of thin film semiconductor materials including organic semiconductors, quantum dots, and halide perovskites.”
Sotiris Xantheas, Laboratory Fellow, PNNL and Affiliate Professor of Chemistry, UW-PNNL Distinguished Faculty Fellow, “is renowned for his physical chemistry research involving the nature of intermolecular interactions in aqueous clusters and liquid water/ice. He has served the scientific community through participation in Department of Energy and National Science Foundation workshops and advisory committees, where he has focused on computation’s role in addressing topics such as advanced materials, catalysis, and carbon management.”
As the WSAS noted in their press release, of the 29 new members, 16 were elected directly by the WSAS membership, while the other 13 reflect “a re-doubling of WSAS’s efforts to invite members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine living in Washington State to serve as members of our Academy.” Professors Ginger and Xantheas were among those directly elected by the WSAS membership, which has a total of 286 members including those newly elected.
Many innovations of 21st century life, from touch screens and electric cars to fiber-optics and implantable devices, grew out of research on new materials. This impact of materials science on today’s world has prompted two of the leading research institutions in the Pacific Northwest to join forces to research and develop new materials that will significantly influence tomorrow’s world.
PNNL and UW leaders attend the launch of NW IMPACT at the PNNL campus on Jan. 31. Left-to-right: NW IMPACT co-director David Ginger; UW President Ana Mari Cauce; PNNL Director Steven Ashby; NW IMPACT co-director Jim De Yoreo. Andrea Starr/PNNL
“This partnership holds enormous potential for innovations in materials science that could lead to major changes in our lives and the world,” said Cauce. “We are excited to strengthen the ties between our two organizations, which bring complementary strengths and a shared passion for ground-breaking discovery.”
“The science of making new materials is vital to a wide range of advancements, many of which we have yet to imagine,” said Ashby. “By combining ideas, talent and resources, I have no doubt our two organizations will find new ways to improve lives and provide our next generation of materials scientists with valuable research opportunities.”
The goal is to leverage these respective strengths to enable discoveries, innovations and educational opportunities that would not have been possible by either institution alone.
UW President Ana Mari Cauce speaking with Miqin Zhang, a UW professor of materials science and engineering, at the launch of NW IMPACT on Jan. 31. Andrea Starr/PNNL
“By partnering the UW and PNNL together through NW IMPACT, the sum will truly be greater than the parts,” said David Ginger, a UW professor of chemistry and chief scientist at the UW Clean Energy Institute. “We are joining together our expertise and experiences to create the next generation of leaders who will create the materials of the future.”
Ginger will co-lead the institution in its initial phase with Jim De Yoreo, chief scientist for materials synthesis and simulation across scales at PNNL and a joint appointee at the UW.
Over its first few years, NW IMPACT aims to hire a permanent institute director, who will be based at both PNNL and the UW; create at least 20 new joint UW-PNNL appointments among existing researchers; streamline access to research facilities at the UW’s Seattle campus and PNNL’s Richland campus for institute projects; involve at least 20 new UW graduate students in PNNL-UW collaborations; and provide seed grants to institute-affiliated researchers to tackle new scientific frontiers in a collaborative fashion.
Some of the areas in which NW IMPACT will initially focus include:
Materials for energy conversion and storage, which can be applied to more efficient solar cells, batteries and industrial applications. These include innovative approaches to create flexible, ultrathin solar cells for buildings or fabrics, long-lasting batteries for implantable medical devices, catalysts to enable high efficiency energy conversion and industrial processes, and manufacturing methods to synthesize these materials efficiently for commercial applications.
Quantum materials, such as ultrathin semiconductors or other materials that can harness the rules of quantum mechanics at subatomic-level precision for applications in quantum computing, telecommunications and beyond.
Materials for water separation and utilization, which include processes to make water purification and ocean desalination methods faster, cheaper and more energy-efficient.
Biomimetic materials, which are synthetic materials inspired by the structures and design principles of biological molecules and materials within our cells — including proteins and DNA. These materials could be applicable in medical settings for implantable devices or tissue engineering, and for self-assembled protein-like scaffolds in industrial settings.
“The science of making materials involves understanding where the atoms must be placed in order to obtain the properties needed for specific applications, and then understanding how to get the atoms where they need to be,” said De Yoreo.
NW IMPACT will draw on the unique strengths and talents of each institution for innovative collaborations in these areas. For example, PNNL has broad expertise in materials for improved batteries. The lab also offers best-in-class imaging, NMR and mass spectrometry capabilities at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science user facility. DOE supports fundamental research at PNNL in chemistry, physics and materials sciences that are key to materials development. The UW brings complementary facilities and equipment to the partnership, such as the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds and a cryo-electron microscopy facility, as well as expertise in a variety of “big data” research and training endeavors, highly rated research and education programs, and ongoing materials research projects through the National Science Foundation-funded Molecular Engineering Materials Center.
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.”
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.
A 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.