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Researcher receives Young Investigator Award for photovoltaic nanomaterials

Mon, 08/04/2014

LAWRENCE — A researcher at the University of Kansas has earned an Army Research Office Young Investigator Award grant to conduct research on cutting-edge photovoltaic technology intended to give American forces tactical advantages in the field.

"My YIP Award primarily focuses on the material design and assembly to reach highly efficient photovoltaic nanodevice systems," said Shenqiang Ren, assistant professor of chemistry. "In addition, our discovery of multifunctional photovoltaic nanomaterials will enable us to build an integrated photovoltaic and sensing system, which has dual functionalities."

Ren's work focuses on materials chemistry, synthesis and self-assembly of low-dimensional nanomaterials. For the Army, the researcher said he would be investigating "flexible, durable and highly efficient nanosystems that could be manufactured at low cost for handheld and wearable nano-PV-sensing circuits to large arrays for Department of Defense applications."

Ren said his work could lead to improvements in a variety of devices used by the military by employing "self-assembled nanophotovoltaics" built upon less than a 100-nanometer-thickness photoactive layer.

As reference, a sheet of paper is roughly 100,000 nanometers thick.

"The less material usage but high efficiency could have multiple advantages, such as portability and flexibility, as well as environmental compatible processing," he said.

The three-year, $210,100 grant enables Ren and his team at KU to pursue work that lines up with “current Army interests” such as development of nanomaterials with exotic properties, which could enable applications like self-powered sensing nanodevices that don’t require batteries.

According to the Army Research Office, its mission is "to serve as the Army's premier extramural basic research agency in the engineering, physical, information and life sciences, developing and exploiting innovative advances to ensure the nation's technological superiority."

Ren said his lab would use a "bottom-up" approach tailored to the requirements of American forces.

"This is in comparison to the current 'top-down' method," he said. "We’ll start with the material design based on performance needs and build up the energy nanosystems by assembling the nanobuilding blocks, such as nanomaterials we synthesized in my lab."



When looking to tackle the issue of obesity in rural America, where should we start? The answer is not what you might think. Empathy, says Christie Befort, an associate professor at KU who has just won a $10 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to investigate solutions to rural obesity. Many physicians are embarrassed talking about weight—especially in a small town where everybody knows each other, Befort says. By providing obesity treatment options in rural primary care, she plans to start a conversation, and maybe a revolution, in rural health care. For more details on Befort's efforts, check out the 2015 Chancellor's Report: http://bit.ly/1D5A5MO and her video: http://bit.ly/1C5xYZa Tags: #KUcommunities #Obesity #Health #Rural #Midwest Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute - PCORI

Whistling the night away. #exploreKU shot by saamanthathomas on insta. http://t.co/JFZcj31X8h
Explore KU: Experience a KU Men's Basketball tradition It’s explosive. It’s dramatic. It’s intimidating. It’s a KU tradition (see more at http://bit.ly/KUtraditions) simply known as the Confetti Toss. But it creates a primal eruption of fan enthusiasm at the opening of every KU men’s basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse. It starts as the visiting team is introduced on court. The KU student section is visibly bored and unimpressed. The entire section under the north basket holds up University Daily Kansans — making the point they’d rather read the newspaper than even look at the other team. They shake and rustle the student newspapers. Then the moment they were waiting for arrives — the Jayhawks enter the court. All Rock Chalk breaks loose. Newspapers, confetti and thousands of thundering voices soar into already charged atmosphere of KU’s hallowed basketball arena. The confetti hits its high point, near the banner on the north wall reading “Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog.” And the confetti rains back into the stands, onto the court and into the memories of all at hand. It’s time to play.


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