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, compliant 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, store, and save energy, and to improve human well-being.
Darren Lipomi earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University in June, 2010. 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 thirty-nine publications (including sixteen first-author, fifteen corresponding-author, and three cover articles) 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 and the NSF BRIGE 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.
Mechanical properties of semiconducting polymers. 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.
Design and synthesis of stretchable semiconductors. We use the insights from the project above to test ideas to render conjugated polymers - which are ordinarily stiff and brittle - deformable. This project involves synthetic polymer chemistry.
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.
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!