Dr. Yu Zhu is the latest UA faculty member to be awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
An assistant professor in the Department of Polymer Science, Zhu was awarded $538,679 for his project — "Molecular Packing of Pi-Conjugated Polymers Through Fused Hydrogen Bond-mediated Self-assembly." This five-year project will begin on Aug. 1, 2016.
"Understanding and controlling molecular packing in electrically conducting polymers could lead to the design of high-performance polymer electronics, which is important for applications requiring flexible, light and economical electronic materials," says Zhu, whose CAREER research involves the study of new types of conjugated polymers that have fused sites along their molecules enabling hydrogen bonding.
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award is one of the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research.
The educational and outreach component of Zhu's project is to motivate and inspire students about science and technology and encourage their consideration of careers in STEM fields, especially targeting underrepresented groups such as women and minorities. In partnership with Akron Global Polymer Academy, among Zhu's outreach efforts will be the designing of lectures for middle school students and providing summer internships in the lab for high school students.