Laboratory for soft electronics, solar cells, and nanomanufacturing
Department of NanoEngineering
University of California, San Diego
to The Lipomi Research Group in the Department of NanoEngineering at the University of California, San Diego. We are a team of scientists and engineers interested in the overlap between three areas: energy, biomimetic materials and devices, and green chemistry and nanomanufacturing. We are interested in fundamental and applied studies that relate molecular and nanoscale structure to function, and in devices that incorporate new physical effects to solve real-world problems. What motivates us is the potential of new materials and new forms of old materials to produce and save energy, and to improve human well-being.
Our defining mission and strength, however, is our tireless support of our students and postdocs, most of whom have won prestigious awards, gone on to do postdoctoral research in top-five institutions, commercialize their own inventions, and work in several of the most groundbreaking companies on Earth. Thanks for visiting our site.
Darren Lipomi earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Boston University in 2005 and his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University in June, 2010. At Harvard, he worked in the laboratory of Professor George M. Whitesides in the areas of materials chemistry; nanofabrication, including soft lithography and nanoskiving; materials for optics and electronics; chemical synthesis; and organic photovoltaics. From August 2010 to July 2012, he was a US Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University, department of Chemical Engineering, in the Laboratory of Professor Zhenan Bao, where his work focused on organic materials for mechanically compliant photovoltaic cells and electronic skin. He earned a certificate ("mini MBA") from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (now Stanford Ignite). He was appointed in July 2012 as member of the faculty in the Department of NanoEngineering, at the University of California, San Diego, in a search across all departments of the Jacobs School of Engineering in the area of Advanced Energy Technologies, where he also serves as the departmental Diversity Officer. He is an author of 52 publications (including 16 first-author, 28 corresponding-author, and 3 cover articles), five issued patents and patent applications, and has been supported by three competitive fellowships, including the Beckman Scholars Program (at Boston University), the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Fellowship (at Harvard), and the US Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship (at Stanford). At UCSD, he has received the AFOSR Young Investigator Program award, the NSF BRIGE award, and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. His research has been covered by around one hundred news organizations and sci-tech websites, including CNN, Nature, Popular Science, Wired, Physics World, CNET, PCWorld, and Gizmodo.
Projects in the Lipomi Group are interdisciplinary. They typically combine at least two of the following attributes: solar energy, green synthesis and fabrication, and stretchable electronics. Below is a sampling of some of the broad research areas in the group. These areas tend to overlap, and every project is collaborative.
Semiconducting polymers with properties inspired by biological tissue. We are studying the structural determinants of the mechanical properties of conjugated (semiconducting) polymers. This project combines mechanical testing with the physics of devices under strain. We also use the insights from the project above to test ideas to render conjugated polymers - which are ordinarily stiff and brittle - deformable, biodegradable, and self-healing. This project involves synthetic polymer chemistry, molecular modeling, and the characterization of soft materials.
Green nanofabrication. This broad topic encompases three separate projects: nanoskiving (the use of an ultramicrotome to generate nanostructures for optical and electronic applications), resist-free abrasion lithography (use of a stylus to generate simple micro and nanopatterns on a surface), large-area synthesis of graphene, and the use of biofeedstock-derived organic semiconductors for photovoltaics.
Green chemistry. One of our goals is to use green chemistry to synthesize conjugated polymers for large-area implementation of organic photovoltaic devices.
New concepts in organic photovoltaics. We are exploring new ways of optimizing solar cells, new concepts in generating transparent electrodes, and stretchable solar cells for applications requiring mechanical robustness, integration with moving parts, and bonding to non-planar surfaces.
January 10, 2017. Check out Darren's YouTube channel for all videos related to research and teaching.
November 18, 2016. Congratulations to Andrew Chiang for winning the poster award at the Louis Stokes Midwest Center for Excellence conference!
August 19, 2016. New group photo!
July 27, 2016. Congratulations to Sam Root for winning the Achievement Reward for College Scientists (ARCS)!
July 22, 2016. Congratulations to Brandon Marin for receiving the supplemental Diversity Fellowship from the NIH New Innovator program!
July 8, 2016. Darren, Suchol, Brandon, and Tim presented the group's research at IUMRS-ICEM in Singapore.
June 30, 2016. Tim O'Connor's work featured on the University of California news!
June 8, 2016. Congratulations to Dr. Alex Zaretski for successfully defending his PhD!
June 2, 2016. Darren has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure, effective July 1st.
May 12, 2016. Congratuations to Dr. Suchol Savagatrup for successfully defending his PhD!
May 9, 2016. Congratulations to Dr. Adam Printz for winning the Chancellor's Dissertation Medal in Engineering! This is the top prize given to graduating PhD students in engineering at UC San Diego.
April 25, 2016. Rachel Miller wins both the UC LEADS and another prestigious undergraduate research fellowship!
April 18, 2016. Prof. Lipomi wins the Graduate Student Association Faculty Teaching Award, which honors faculty who are "exceptional educators at the graduate level."
April 14, 2016. Congratulations to Tim O'Connor for winning the award for Best Poster at the Jacobs School Research Expo!
April 7, 2016. Prof. Lipomi's work featured on the NIH Director's Blog!
March 30, 2016. Congratulations to Julian Ramirez for winning the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
March 14, 2016. Congratulations to Brandon Marin for winning the Barbara and Paul Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Students!
March 7, 2016. Congratulations to Dr. Dan Burke for accepting an offer at Tesla Motors!
February 2, 2016. Congratulations to Dr. Adam Printz for starting his postdoctoral position at Stanford!
November 20, 2015. Congratulations to Liban for winning the Federal McNair Fellowship!
November 16, 2015. Congratulations to Dr. Adam Printz for the successful defense of his PhD thesis. Our group's first PhD graduate!
November 12, 2015. Tim and Kirtana win 1st and 2nd place in the Center for Wearable Sensors Summit Poster Pitch Competition. Congratulations!
October 6, 2015. Professor Lipomi wins the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. Congratulations to the whole group!
October 3, 2015. New group photo!
July 23, 2015. Congratulations to Tim for winning the Achievement Reward for College Scientists (ARCS), which provides an additional $7,500 per year on top of his NDSEG fellowship!
July 15, 2015. Congratulations to Casey for being the first M.S. graduate of the group, and also for securing an awesome first job at General Atomics!
May 22, 2015. Deepest congratulations to Suchol for winning the Kaplan Dissertation Year Fellowship, $22,000, for the 2015-2016 academic year. Only ONE of these awards is given on the entire campus per year!
May 14, 2015. Professor Lipomi wins the 2015 Hellman Fellowship, a research award of up to $50,000 given to young faculty members who "show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities."
May 11, 2015. Congratulations to Suchol, Daniel, and Adam for their paper on the influence of the size and purity of fullerenes on the mechanical stability of organic solar cells, which was just accepted to Chemistry of Materials! This project was a collaboration with Alex Sieval and Kees Hummelen at Solenne and U Groningen.
May 1, 2015. Alex's minireview article in Nanoscale on non-destructive graphene transfer was published today!
April 23, 2015. Alex's work on nanoskiving graphene was covered in a press release by the Jacobs School's new science journalist Leizel Labios!
April 8, 2015. Suchol Savagatrup (first row, second from the right) wins the MRS Graduate Student Silver Award at the MRS Spring Meeting. This is a fantastic accomplishment for anyone, but especially considering that Suchol is in only his third year!
March 31, 2015. For the second year in a row, TWO students in the group have won the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! This year, the winners are Daniel Rodriquez (current graduate student in the group) and Eduardo Valle (current undergraduate who is headed to Stanford for the Ph.D. program in ChemE next fall). Congratulations!!
February 19, 2015. Prof. Lipomi delivers the keynote presentation at the Benefunder Innovation Showcase in Rancho Santa Fe. Our Benefunder profile is located here.
January 2, 2015. Congratulations to the group for a very productive 2014, which included thirteen submitted manuscripts, most of which are now published or in press. The most recent is Alex's work in Nano Letters on Using the Thickness of Graphene to Template Lateral Sub-Nanometer Gaps between Gold Nanostructures.
October 10, 2014. New group photo!
October 8, 2014. Prof. Lipomi was selected as Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014 in the Department of NanoEngineering.
September 5, 2014. Over the spring and summer, we welcomed PhD students Eric Sawyer, Kirtana Rajan, and Sam Root to the group. Welcome!
August 15, 2014. Congratulations to Suchol Savagatrup for winning a $7500 fellowship (in addition to his NSF Fellowship) from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists program!
May 8, 2014. Alex Zaretski wins 2nd place in the First Look West (FLOW) competition at Caltech! The prize money of $40,000 will support the growth of Alex's spin-out, GrollTex.
May 6, 2014. Our work is featured on gigaom.com "Forget flexible: stretchy electronics will make devices truly wearable"!
May 1, 2014. Congratulations to Tim O'Connor for winning the prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship!
April 23, 2014. Congratulations to the group for our new Invited Perspective article on "Molecularly Stretchable Electronics" in Chemistry of Materials!
April 1, 2014. Congratulations to Alex Zaretski for winning the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship!
March 7, 2014. Congratulations to Adam and Suchol and coworkers for publishing TWO co-first author papers this week on the mechanical properties of semiconducting polymers for robust thin-film solar cells and molecularly stretchable electronics in Macromolecules and RSC Advances.
December 30, 2013. Congratulations to Adam, Esther, Celine, and Rene for their paper in PLoS One on the invention and use of abrasion lithography to fabricate low-cost transparent electrodes for thin-film solar cells.
November 15, 2013. Congratulations to Tim, Alex, Bijan, Suchol, Adam, and Ivana for their paper in Energy & Environmental Science on bonding organic solar cells to complex 3D surfaces, which is now available online as an Accepted Manuscript.
October 15, 2013. Congratulations to Suchol and Adi for their paper in Advanced Functional Materials on the mechanical properties of conjugated polymers, which appeared online this week!
August 9, 2013. The Group receives an award from the National Science Foundation for a project on optimizing the process by which organic photovoltaic materials are evaluated and for its outreach efforts from the Broadening Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE) program! The project will start November 1.
June 7, 2013. Alex Zaretski, Adam Printz, and Tim O'Connor win the grand prize ($21,000 in cash and $20,000 in legal services) at the UCSD Entrepreneur Challange Finals!
May 15, 2013. Our first paper appeared online today in Energy and Environmental Science, "Green Chemistry for Organic Solar Cells."
April 21, 2013. Alex Zaretski wins a $40,000 fellowship + $5,000 in supplies for GrollTex from the SoCal Clean Energy Technology Acceleration Program from the von Liebig Center at UCSD and the US Department of Energy.
February 13, 2013. Alex Zaretski, along with teammates Adam Printz and Tim O'Connor win the popular prize of $500 at the UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition.
February 1, 2013. New, new group photo!
Left to right: Darren Lipomi, Herad Moetazedi, Amy Mao, Jeremy Morales Madrigal, Adam Printz, Bijan Shiravi, Rene Martinez, Suchol Savagatrup, Adi Makaram, Tim O'Connor, Trevor Purdy, Esther Chan, Dan Burke, Aliaksandr Zaretski.
January 9, 2013. Darren Lipomi and the Group win the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award.
December 20, 2012. This Winter Quarter we will welcome Aliaksandr Zaretski (M.S. student, nanoengineering) to the group.
November 2, 2012. New group photo!
Left to right: Darren Lipomi, Adam Printz, Tim O'Connor, Adi Makaram, Esther Chan, Jeremy Morales Madrigal, Dan Burke, Zooey Burke (seated).
August 1, 2012. We are officially moved in. Equipment is arriving. The lab is coming together!
July 1, 2012. Darren is the newest member of the faculty of the Department of NanoEngineering at the University of California, San Diego. He will be moving into the new lab on August 1st.
May 3, 2012. Darren was the top applicant for the faculty search for Advanced Energy Technologies in the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego! I will be starting a new faculty position in the Department of NanoEngineering on July 1st!