Hemali Rathnayake, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Nanoscience

Phone: 336.285.2860

Fax: 336.500.0115

Email: hprathna@uncg.edu

Research Interests

Organic and Organic-Inorganic Hybrid materials

Energy harvesting nanomaterials, Polymer synthesis, and thin film assembly.

My research focus divides into two research fronts: Novel materials synthesis and Nanoelectronics. The bulk of my current research efforts is focusing on making novel carbon-based nanomaterials for green energy applications. My group has been developing organic semiconductors functionalized nanostructures to harvest solar energy for the generation of electricity. The stability and brightness of these fluorescent materials make them promising as active layers for organic solar cells. These nanomaterials are low-cost plastic semiconducting materials derived from a silicon-based core structure and able to produce in large-scale. Also, my group explores the potential utilization of carbon-based polymeric materials for thermoelectric applications, particularly in waste heat recovery from human body heat. Developing novel organic-based thermoelectric materials with tailored structures and studying their thermoelectric properties will explore untapped opportunities for producing easy-to-manufacture, light-weight, flexible, inexpensive, and nontoxic energy recovery and solid-state cooling.

Selected Publications

  1. Hemali Rathnayake, Jenna Binion, Aaron McKee, Debra Jo Scardino, and Nathan Hammer, “Perylenediimide functionalized bridged-siloxane nanoparticles for bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaics”, Nanoscale 2012, 4(15), 4631-4640; (Impact Factor 6.0)
  2. Hemali Rathnayake, Nicholas Wright, Amar Patel, Jenna Binion, Louis E McNamara, Debra Jo Scardino, and Nathan Hammer, “Synthesis and characterization of poly(3-hexylthiophene)-functionalized siloxane nanoparticles”, Nanoscale 2013, 5, 3212-3215; (Impact Factor 6.0)  
  3. Lan Xu, Manda Venkata Ramana, John Ferguson, Louise McNamara, Muhammad Jahan, Hemali Rathnayake, and Nathan I Hammer, “Covalent synthesis of perylenediimide-bridged silsesquioxane nanoribbons and their electrical properties RSC Advances 2014, 4 (57), 30172-30179 (Impact Factor 3.70)   
  4. Manda Venkata Ramana, Steven Guffery, Jeremiah Sharpensteen, John Ferguson, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Enhancing Device Performance of P3HT/PDIB Donor-Acceptor System using Spray-Coating Fabrication”, ScienceJet 2015, 4, 153 (Impact Factor 1.9).
  5. Begum Fouzia, John Ferguson, Kelly McKenna, Louise McNamara, Nathan I Hammer, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Preparation of n-Type Semiconducting Polymer Nanoarrays by Covalent Synthesis Followed by Crystallization”, New Journal of Chemistry 2015, 39, 2004-2010 (Impact Factor 3.0).
  6. Paige Huzyak, John Ferguson, Jeremiah Sharpensteen, Lan Xu, Soundaram Ananthakrishnan, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Fused Arenes-Functionalized Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxanes as Thermoelectric Materials”, RSC Advances 2015, 5, 37859-37868 (Impact Factor 3.70).
  7. Dhamesh Patel, David Brown, Thulitha Abeywickrama, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Preparation of Semiconducting Polymer Nanorods by Base-Catalyzed Covalent Synthesis”, Science Advances Today, 2015, 1, 25221.
  8. Ananthakrishnan Soundaram, Jacob Strain, Abu Mitul, Louis McNamara, Nathan Hammer, Qiquan Qiao, and Hemali Rathnayake, “P3HT-block-Poly(anthracene-9,10-diyl) Donor-Donor polymer Dyad for Organic Photovoltaics”, J.Poly.Sci.A, 2016, DOI: 10.1002/pola.28189.

See more (CV)...


  1. Hemali Rathnayake, “Electronically active functionalized siloxane nanoparticles”, USA, Patent serial # 13/275,771.
  2. Hemali Rathnayake, “Process for Making Electronically Active Functionalized Silsequioxane Nanostructures of Controlled Morphology Through Covalent Synthesis”, USA, Patent serial # 14/032,650


Founder of Serendib Solar Plastics, LLC, which received Phase Zero from Kentucky Science & Engineering Foundation and Entrepreneurship internship grant from NSF EPSCoR EI program.


  1. Hemali Rathnayake (Co-PI), Stuart Williams (PI), and Gerald Willings (Co-PI), Influence of Gravity on Electrokinetic and Electrochemical Colloidal Self-Assembly for Future Materials”, NASA EPSCoR, 10/01/2014 – 9/30/2017, $183,398 (subaward), Funded.
  2. Hemali Rathnayake (PI), Rajalingam Dakshinamurthy (co-PI), Rodney King (co-PI), Muhammad Jahan (co-PI), Shivendra Shahi (co-PI), “MRI: Acquisition of an Analytical Transmission Electron Microscope with Cryogenic Imaging Capabilities for Research and Teaching at a PUI”, MRI-NSF/CHE, 08/01/2013-07/31/2016, $425,000, Funded.
  3. Muhammad Jahan (PI), Hemali Rathnayake (co-PI), Rajalingam Dakshinamurthy (co-PI), and Sanju Gupta (co-PI), “MRI: Acquisition of an Analytical Scanning Electron Microscope for Engineering and Natural Sciences Research”, MRI-NSF/CMMI, 07/01/2014 - 06/31/21017, $193,695, Funded.
  4. Hemali Rathnayake, “Next Generation Energy Harvesting Materials for Green Energy Technology”, KSEF-KCF, 1/1/2013-12/31/2015,  $74,722, Funded.
  5. Hemali Rathnayake (PI), "Carbon-Based Siloxane Nanoarrays for Power Generation from Waste Heat”, KSEF-RDE, 7/1/2014-6/30/2015, $30,000, Funded.
  6. Hemali Rathnayake (PI), “Small molecular donor-acceptor dyads as additives for organic solar cells”, NSF EPSCoR-RSP, 1/1/2015 – 8/30/2015, $7,500, Funded.
  7. Hemali Rathnayake (PI), “Next Generation Flexible Organic Solar cells through Roll-to-Roll Fabrication”, NSF EPSCoR-EI, 05/01/2015 – 7/31/2015, $10,000, Funded.
  8. Hemali Rathnayake (PI), "Carbon-Based Siloxane Nanoarrays for Power Generation from Waste Heat”, NSF/EPSCoR/R-REG, 2/1/2013-8/30/2013, $22,522, Funded.


Office Hours

By Appointment


Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Polymer Science & Engineering

University of Massachusetts - Amherst, 2007-2009

Ph. D. in Chemistry

Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, 2002-2007

B.Sc. in Chemistry

University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka 1996 -2000

Authored Papers

Book Chapter:

Hemali Rathnayake and John Ferguson, Book Chapter on “Donor-Acceptor Functionalized Silsesquioxane Nanostructures for Organic-Based Photovoltaic devices”, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Cat/ISBN:  K22630 / 9781482229837