MRSEC Visiting Scholar/Professor

Zakya H. Kafafi

Department of Chemistry
Department of Materials Science and Engineering



Ph.D., M.A. Chemistry, Rice University
B.Sc. Chemistry (cum laude) with Mathematics (Minor), University of Houston


Office: Cook Hall, Room 2041
Phone: 847-467-0155

Dr. Zakya Kafafi is presently on sabbatical leave from the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lehigh University. Last year, Dr. Kafafi spent part of her sabbatical in the laboratory of Professor Cherie Kagan where she was a Visiting Scholar/Professor, in the Departments of Electrical & Systems Engineering, Material Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Kafafi is the former Director of the Division of Materials Research (DMR) at NSF. During her tenure, she managed a budget portfolio close to one billion dollar, and oversaw the funding of single and group investigators, interdisciplinary research teams and centers, instrumentation and major facilities such as the National High Magnetic Field laboratory (NHMFL) and Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). Soon after her arrival at NSF, Dr. Kafafi launched an interdisciplinary program named SOLAR with the Chemistry and Mathematical Sciences Divisions, and later expanded it to include the Engineering Divisions which became a NSF flagship and a model for an interdisciplinary effort foundation-wide. Based on the recommendations of the National Academies National Research Council (NRC) report, NSF’s MRSEC Program: Looking Back, Moving Forward, she reorganized the MRSEC program and established a two-tier program for Materials Research Centers and Teams. Dr. Kafafi has contributed significantly to enhancing DMR’s international activities with more than 32 countries and 50 international funding agencies participating in the DMR international flagship program, the Materials World Network (MWN). She traveled to China, S. Korea, Japan, and African countries to develop strong ties, forge new collaborations and develop international programs. She expanded the Division’s international activities to new territories and championed the idea of establishing a yearly US-Africa Advanced Materials Institute that will rotate between countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The first US-Africa Advanced Materials Institute for Sustainable Energy will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from December 8 to 20, 2012.

Prior to joining NSF Dr. Kafafi spent 20 years at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC where she founded the research group on Organic Optoelectronics, and later on established and was the Head of the Organic Optoelectronics Section at the Optical Sciences Division of NRL.

Zakya's research interests focus on newly emerging technologies in organic electronics and photonics, spanning a wide spectrum of disciplines in condensed matter and materials research. The development and characterization of organic semiconductors, light-emitting materials and diodes, and light-harvesting and photovoltaic devices using optical, fluorescence, and electroluminescence spectroscopies represent some of the research topics pursued in Kafafi's group at NRL. Energy and charge transfer processes were studied using steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence. The surface and interface properties of nanostructures, molecular and polymeric materials were investigated using photoemission spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy. Dr. Kafafi is the editor of more than 20 books and conference proceeding volumes. She published more than 200 manuscripts, review articles, and book chapters, in addition to several US patents. She received the Thomas Edison Patent Award for the invention of a simple and an economic method for patterning conducting polymer electrodes, and the IR 100 Award for the invention of "Cryolink".

Dr. Kafafi is the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the new electronic Journal of Photonics for Energy. She chairs the annual SPIE Symposium on Organic Photonics + Electronics and the Conference on Organic Photovoltaics. She serves on the International Advisory Board of the Conferences on “Spins in Organics” (SPINOS) and the Advisory Board of the IEEE Journal of Photonics. Dr. Kafafi is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Materials Research Society (MRS), and Sigma Xi. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

Selected Recent Publications:

Qiaoqiang Gan, Filbert J. Bartoli, and Zakya H. Kafafi, “Plasmonic-Enhanced Organic Photovoltaics: Breaking the 10% Efficiency Barrier,” Adv. Mater. (submitted).

Qiaoqiang Gan, Filbert J. Bartoli, and Zakya H. Kafafi, “Research Highlights on Organic Photovoltaics and Plasmonics,” IEEE J. of Photonics, Vol. 4, No. 2, 620 (2012).

Wenli Bai, Qiaoqiang Gan, Guofeng Song, Lianghui Chen, Zakya Kafafi, and Filbert Bartoli, “Double Plasmonic Nanostructure Design for Broadband Absorption Enhancement in Organic Photovoltaics,” J. of Photonics for Energy, Volume 1, 011121 (2011).

Zakya H. Kafafi, Guest Editor, Christoph Brabec and Paul A. Lane, Guest Associate Editors, “Organic Photovoltaics,” J. of Photonics for Energy, Volume 1 (2011).

Kaushik Roy Choudhury, Franky So, and Zakya H. Kafafi, “Colloidal Semiconductor Nanocrystal- Enabled Organic/Inorganic Hybrid Light-Emitting Devices,” in Comprehensive Nanoscience and Technology, D. L. Andrews, G. D. Scholes and G. P. Wiederrecht, Editors, Volume 4, 183 (2011).

Wenli Bai, Qiaoqiang Gan, Guofeng Song, Lianghui Chen, Zakya Kafafi, and Filbert Bartoli, “Broadband Short-Range Surface Plasmon Structures for Absorption Enhancement in Organic Photovoltaics,” Optics Express 18 (104), A620 (2010).

Zakya H. Kafafi, Guest Editor, Rene Janssen, Kwanghee Lee, and Barry Rand, Guest Associate Editors, “Next Generation Organic and Hybrid Solar Cells,” IEEE J. Selected Topics in Quantum  Electronics, Volume 16, Issue 6 (November/December 2010).

C. S. Kim, M. Kim, D. C. Larrabee, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer, S. H. Lee and Z. H. Kafafi, “Enhanced Performance of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes Using Two-Dimensional Zinc Sulfide Photonic Crystals,” J. Appl. Phys. 106, 113105 (2009).

Zakya H. Kafafi and Paul A. Lane, “Organic Photovoltaics X,” Editors, Proc. SPIE 7416 (2009).

Leonidas C. Palilis, Paul A. Lane, Gary P. Kushto, Balaji Purushothaman, John E. Anthony, and Zakya H. Kafafi, “Organic Photovoltaic Cells with High Open Circuit Voltages Based on Pentacene Derivatives,” Organic Electronics 9, 742 (2008).

Isabella L. Karle, Raymond J. Butcher, Mason A. Wolak, Demetrio A. da Silva Filho, Manabu Uchida, Jean-Luc Bredas, and Zakya H. Kafafi, “Cooperative CH...Pi Interactions in the Crystal Structure of 2,5-Di(3-biphenyl)-1,1-dimethyl-3,4-diphenyl-silole, and its Effect on its Electronic Properties,” J. Phys. Chem. C. 111, 9543 (2007).

G. P. Kushto, N. J. Watkins, A. J. Makinen, and Z. H. Kafafi, “Molecular Engineering in Symmetric End-Substituted Oligothiophene Derivatives: Analysis of Condensed Phase Photoemission Spectra using Semi-empirical Hartree-Fock Calculations,” J. Phys. Chem. B. 111, 5794 (2007).

N. J. Watkins, J. P. Long, Z. H. Kafafi, and A. J. Makinen, “Fiber Optic Light Collection System for STM-Induced Light Emission,” Rev. Sci. Instr. 78, 053707 (2007).

Paul A. Lane, Gary P. Kushto and Zakya H. Kafafi, “Molecular Organic Light-Emitting Diodes with No Hole Transport Layer,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 023511 (2007).

I. L. Karle, R. Butcher, M. A. Wolak, S. H. Lee, and Z. H. Kafafi, “Conformational Diversity: Six Conformers Side-by-Side in the Crystal Cell of 2,2’,7,7’-Tetramethoxy-9,9’-spiro-9-silabifluorene,” J. Chem. Cryst. 37, 171 (2007).



The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Number DMR-1121262. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
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