Asbury wins 3M nontenured faculty award

February 12, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- John Asbury, assistant professor of chemistry, has won a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award to support his research on the chemical processes that occur in nanostructured thin-film materials. The award is given to nontenured faculty members who are nominated by 3M researchers and who are working on research topics that are of interest to 3M.

Asbury studies the structures of defects that limit the performance of such emerging solid-state, electro-active materials as organic photovoltaics used to generate solar power; organic diodes used in energy-efficient lighting; organic dielectrics used in artificial muscles; and organic semiconductors used in disposable, electronic, anti-theft tags in consumer electronics.

Scientists have identified state-of-the-art materials that have the potential to perform well and can be made economically in high volumes. But the performances of some of these materials are limited by the presence of defects where electrons, which should be mobile, get stuck. Asbury's goal is to identify the structures of these defects so that he can design synthetic routes that allow electrons to avoid getting stuck. He uses ultra-fast, multidimensional, infrared-vibrational spectroscopy and femtosecond lasers that operate at time scales of less than a millionth of a millionth of a second. With this time resolution, Asbury is able to capture electrons in the act of becoming trapped at defects.

Asbury received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2009, the Eli Lilly Analytical Chemistry New Faculty Award in 2007, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award in 2005. He received an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Scholar Award for excellence in graduate studies in 2000 and 2001 and an Osborne R. Quayle Fellowship for excellence in graduate studies in 1999. Prior to joining Penn State in 2005, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 2001 to 2005. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee in 1996, and was named the Hoeschst-Celanese Best Junior Chemistry Major in 1995. He received his doctoral degree from Emory University in 2001.

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