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Nobel Laureate to Speak at Kent State, April 17

Nobel Laureate
to Speak at Kent State,
April 17

Jim Maxwell | 04/11/2012
Kent State University will host an organic photovoltaics (OPV) symposium to present current research and progress April 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva. The symposium is free and open to the public.
The symposium is a platform for OPV research, opportunities and development. OPV are specialized solar energy cells that use carbon-based polymer semiconductors, unlike typical solar cells that are silicon-based. OPV are flexible and have the potential to be produced at lower costs than conventional silicon-based photovoltaics using roll-to-roll manufacturing processes.

The symposium’s keynote speaker is Alan J. Heeger, Ph.D., a professor of physics and professor of materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Heeger received a Nobel Prize in 2000 for the discovery and development of conductive polymers and is a true pioneer in the field of semiconducting and metallic polymers.

Heeger’s presentation, “Plastic Solar Cells:  Self Assembly of Bulk Heterojunction Nano-Materials by Spontaneous Phase Separation,” will describe the discovery of ultrafast photo induced electron transfer as the scientific foundation for the creation of a technology for low-cost “plastic” solar cells.

Grant McGimpsey, Ph.D., Kent State’s vice president for research, said Kent State sees a high potential for the research and development of OPV and will hire several faculty and build labs specifically for research opportunities in the field.

“OPV fits well with our focus on sustainability at the university,” McGimpsey said. “We have a long-term commitment to build faculty expertise and capabilities in this area. We are also committed to providing our graduate and undergraduate students with a modern, relevant research experience in many technical areas in energy, and OPV is one such area.”

The symposium features numerous presentations from professionals around the country. Speakers include C. Daniel Frisbie of the University of Minnesota, L. Jay Guo of the University of Michigan, Paul Berger of The Ohio State University and Yo Shimizu of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Kansai Center, Japan. Kent State faculty members Brett Ellman and Robert Twieg also will present at the symposium.

The symposium is the first of many planned to “showcase some of our university’s top research areas,” McGimpsey said. “We want to highlight all our faculty and student research, particularly in those areas that have significant impact on the lives of the public,” he said. “We also see it as our mission to serve as a scientific forum for the public. Energy is a huge challenge that will require contributions from all of us in order to solve. Our symposium provides a venue for the exchange of ideas that must take place.”

The OPV symposium includes an informal networking session with a cocktail reception. For more information and to register, visit

To watch a video of McGimpsey discussing the OPV symposium, visit

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