Alex Zhukhovitskiy receives AFOSR Young Investigator Award



December 15, 2022 | UNC-Chapel Hill Chemistry Communication

Alex Zhukhovitskiy, assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected to receive the prestigious Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for 2023 – for his work on conjugate polymers and nanowires.  

“Through the YIP, the Department of the Air Force fosters creative basic research in science and engineering, enhances early career development of outstanding young investigators and increases opportunities for the young investigators to engage in forwarding the DAF mission and related challenges in science and engineering,” according to Ellen Robinson, YIP program manager. 

The three-award recognizes provides $450,000 to fund Zhukhovitskiy’s research on developing conjugate polymer nanowire heterojunctions as platform materials that embody a combination of processability, tunability, mechanical robustness, scalability, and high performance. The goals of this project are to “advance methodology for the controlled and living synthesis of conjugated polymers, delineate the principles that govern the crystallization-driven self-assembly of multi-block conjugated polymers, and develop a deeper understanding of how the chemical composition, heterojunction architecture, and nanoscopic dimensions of the resulting nanowires govern their photophysical and photoelectronic properties”. This research could potentially lead to the creation of devices like nanowire photodetectors, which will lay a further foundation for more complex nanoscopic optoelectronics. 

In addition to the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Zhukhovitskiy earned another prestigious young faculty award, the US. DOE Early Career Award earlier in 2022 for his work on diene polymers to transform rubber waste into building blocks for functional materials. Further, he has been recognized with an NSF Career Award and received 3M’s Non-Tenured Faculty Award for Early Career Achievements. 

Click here to learn more about the Zhukhovitskiy Research Group.