We bid farewell to “super star REU” Angela Harper

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University rising senior physicist, Angela Harper, spent a summer in the Clancy group as an NSF REU student in Cornell MRSEC program. Angela is a Goldwater Scholar for 2016-17. At Cornell, Angela worked with mentor, Blaire Sorenson, to investigate the reason behind THTO’s effectiveness as an additive in producing highly efficient solar cells. Angela is a co-author on our recent paper with the Choi group.

J. Foley, J. Girard, A. Z. Chen, M. R. Alpert, D. M. Smilgies, W. A. Saidi, B. Sorenson, A. Harper, P. Clancy and J. J. Choi, Controlling Nucleation, Growth, and Orientation of CH3NH3PbI3 Perovskite Thin Films with a Sulfoxide Additive, J. Mater. Chem. A, accepted Oct 18 (2016).

Ace ‘aces’ Admission to [PhD] Candidacy exam

ace_headshotYaset “Ace” Acevedo gave a compelling presentation that allowed him to pass his Admission to Candidacy exam with flying colors. His past work provided a multiscale modeling view of C60 growth on the organic semiconductor, pentacene. This was published in Langmuir in 2016.

Y. M. Acevedo, D. L. Koch and P. Clancy, Multiscale Simulation and Theoretical Description of Multilayer Heteroepitactic Growth of C60 on Pentacene, Langmuir, 32(12), 3045-3056 (2016)


Sai Vineeth Bobbili defends his MS defense

vineeth_pic1Congratulations to Sai Vineeth Bobbili for defending his MS thesis today. A BS graduate of IIT Madras, Vineeth studied the conformational changes induced in semiconducting polymer, P3HT, in blends with the fullerene derivative, PCBM, as you shear the material. With Clancy group post-doc, Dr. Binit Lukose, Vineeth showed that side-chain rotation is responsible for flipping P3HT’s thiophene rings from trans to cis orientation. This creates disorder and lowers the electrical mobility of the material. Vineeth has now joined Penn. State University as a PhD candidate. This work was done in collaboration with Zhenan Bao’s group at Stanford.

B. Lukose, S. V. Bobbili and P. Clancy, Factors Affecting Tacticity and Aggregation of P3HT polymers in P3HT:PCBM blends submitted (2016)

Nikita Sengar successfully defends her MS defense

nikita_pic2Congratulations to Nikita Sengar for successfully defending her MS thesis today. Nikita tackled a challenging task to understand why a saddle-shaped contorted molecule called OBCB can selectively pick out certain carbon nanotube chiralities with great precision. She found an intriguingly subtle interaction between the nanotubes, the solvent and the side-chains on OBCB all play a role in c-OBCB’s very high selectivity for chirality. This was a fruitful collaboration with Princeton researchers Dr. Jia Gao and Professor Lynn Loo (Chem & Biol. Engr.). Nikita is now continuing her studies as a PhD student, following a 6-month internship at GlobalFoundries in Malta NY.

J. Gao, N. Sengar, Y. Wu, S. Jockusch, C. Nuckolls, P. Clancy and Y.-L. Loo, Contorted octabenzocircumbiphenyl shows diameter and chirality selectivity towards semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes, Chemistry of Materials, under revision (2016)


New research collaboration with Professor Josh Choi (U.Va.)

Photo credit: Alex Tokarev, Ella Maru Studio

Photo credit: Alex Tokarev, Ella Maru Studio

The large lead halide-perovskite team in the Clancy group was excited to start a new collaboration with Prof. Joshua Choi’s experimental group at the University of Virginia. Their first joint publication has come quickly (J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016). Our group’s contribution was to explain the molecular-scale origin of the Choi group’s demonstration of THTO’s considerable effectiveness as an additive.

J. Foley, J. Girard, A. Z. Chen, M. R. Alpert, D. M. Smilgies, W. A. Saidi, B. Sorenson, A. Harper, P. Clancy and J. J. Choi, Controlling Nucleation, Growth, and Orientation of CH3NH3PbI3 Perovskite Thin Films with a Sulfoxide Additive, J. Mater. Chem. A, accepted Oct 18 (2016).

Clancy group wins Cornell MRSEC CCMR seed award

Paulette Clancy’s proposal to Cornell’s MRSEC, the Center for Materials Research, was funded this summer to study the early-stage nucleation of moieties that form in solution and ultimately give rise to lead halide-based perovskite materials. This seed creates a new interdisciplinary effort with Prof. Lara Estroff and Peter Frazier. Estroff and her students will provide experimental data using CHESS. Frazier’s post-doc, Dr. Matthias Polocek, will contribute vital accelerated search techniques to inform the Clancy group’s molecular-scale simulations.

James Stevenson gives a chalk talk on “life on Titan” to Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute.

james_awardProving that chalk is still an effective medium for teaching, recent Clancy group graduate James Stevenson gave an illuminating talk about his work to identify chemical species on Titan that could form liposome-like vesicles. A lively audience of astronomers, chemists and physicists, who form Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute, discussed the role of Cassini data and excitement about next steps in the search for life on Titan.


Aron Coraor joins group to study rough films on smooth surfaces

Cornell rising senior, Aron Coraor, joined the group in the summer of 2016 under the supervision of senior graduate student, Yaset (Ace) Acevedo. Aron is bringing his strong programming skills to bear on a new project that will use coarse-grained Molecular Dynamics simulation techniques to simulate the growth of C60 (buckyballs) on graphene. While graphene is an ultra-smooth surface, its interactions with buckyballs show a strong tendency for the C60 molecules to dewet the surface.

Dr. James Stevenson successfully defends his PhD thesis


Congratulations to James Stevenson for successfully defending his PhD thesis today. James has impressively contributed in a significant way to several fields, from the self-assembly of liposome analogs that could form in Titan’s frigid methane seas, to a metric for solvent engineering in the solution processing of lead-based hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite solar cell precursors, to the creation of a simple reactive force field suitable for complex multi-species systems, like lead-based quantum dots.

James’s work led to the creation of six papers, four of which are already published, including one in Science Advances. He will join Schrodinger Inc. in June. He will be missed as an outstanding mentor, teacher and selfless contributor to the Clancy group’s research endeavors as well as an incredibly creative force in understanding complex chemical reactions.

J.M. Stevenson, J. Lunine and P. Clancy, Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome, Nature Advances, 1 (1) e1400067 (2015).