Hemali Rathnayake, Ph.D.
Professor Nanoscience/Director of Graduate Studies
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.
- Organic materials (OLEDs, OPVs, and OTEGs).
- Nanomaterials and Polymer Chemistry.
- Supramolecular Self-assembly and Patterning
- Computational Chemistry
- American Chemical Society
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
From 2009 – 2016:
- Nominated for the Ogden College Faculty Award for Research and Creativity, January 2015, Western Kentucky University.
- First Time Awardee Recognition for the fiscal year 2013 from the Office of Research, December 2013, Western Kentucky University
- Most Prolific Proposer by College Award for the fiscal year 2013 from the Office of Research, December 2013, Western Kentucky University.
- Junior Investigator Award for the fiscal year 2013 from the Office of Research, December 2013, Western Kentucky University.
- In Recognition of Significant Progress Towards Commercialization from the Office of Research, November 2012, Western Kentucky University.
- Nominated for the Ogden College Faculty Award for Research and Creativity, January 2012, Western Kentucky University.
- Nominated for the Ogden College Faculty Award for student advisement, January 2010, Western Kentucky University.
- Bucks for Bright Ideas Award from Small Business Accelerator and the Center Region Innovation and Commercialization, 2010, Bowling Green, Ky.
- Outstanding Research Achievement Award in the 15th Annual Research Symposium 2005, Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- Outstanding Research Achievement Award in the 14th Annual Research Symposium 2004, Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- John R. Bertram, Aubrey Penn, Matthew J. Nee, and Hemali Rathnayake, “A Novel n-Type Organosilane-Metal Ion Hybrid of Rhodamine B and Copper Cation for Low-Temperature Thermoelectric Materials”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 10946-10954.
- Thulitha Abeywickrama, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Iron nanostructures and their metal-organic hybrids via an aqueous phase chemical reduction
method”, Adv. Today 2017, 3, 25264.
- Neerudu Niharika Sreeramulu and Hemali Rathnayake, “A versatile synthesis to novel binary reactive groups functionalized silsesquioxane microparticles”, Adv. Today 2017, 3, 25266.
- 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”, Poly.Sci.A, 2016 (DOI: 10.1002/pola.28189)
- Thulitha Abeywickrama, Lan Xu, and Hemali Rathnayake, “A Versatile Method to Prepare Size- and Shape-Controlled Copper Nanocubes using an Aqueous Phase Green Synthesis”, RSC Advances 2016, 6, 91949.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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)
- K. Woods, F. Ashrafzadeh, H. Rathnayake, “Organic solar cell energy harvesting, control, optimization, and commercialization – challenges & opportunities,” Proc. of IEEE/PEDG (Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems), July 2013.
- 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)
- 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)
- Aaron McKee, Jenna Binion, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Donor-Acceptor functionalized bridged siloxane nanoparticles: Synthesis, Particle morphology and Photovoltaic performance”, PMSE 2012, 108, 13.
- Nicholas Wright, Amar Patel, Jenna Binion, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Poly(3-hexylthiophene) functionalized siloxane nanoparticles for organic-based solar cells”, PMSE 2012, 106, 12.
- Christopher J. Simouth, Joseph A. Edge, Jenna Binion, and Hemali Rathnayake, “Fluorescein/FITC derivative functionalized silsesquioxane/bridge silsesquioxane nanoparticles: Synthesis, Characterization and Particle Morphology”, PMSE2010.
- Hemali P. Rathnayake, Todd Emrick, “Grafting-from nanoparticles using Aldol-Group Transfer Polymerization”, Macromolecules 2008, 41(09), 2969-2971.
- Hemali P. Rathnayake, Ali Cirpan, Michael Y. Odoi, Nathan I. Hammer, Michael D. Barnes, Frank E. Karasz, Paul M. Lahti, “Luminescence of Molecular and Block Copolymeric 2,7- Bis(phenylethenyl)-ﬂuorenones: Identifying Green Band Emitter Sites in a Fluorenes Based Luminophore”, Chem. Mater. 2007, 19(13), 3265-3270.
- Ali Cirpan, Hemali P. Rathnayake, Frank E. Karasz and Paul M. Lahti “Luminance studies and device performance of molecular 2,7-ﬂuorene vinylene pyrene and 2,7- ﬂuorene phenylene vinylene pyrene derivatives”, J. Mater. Chem. 2007, 17(29), 3030-3036.
- Michael Y. Odoi, Nathan I. Hammer, Hemali P. Rathnayake, Paul M. Lahti and Michael D. Barnes, “Single Molecular Studies of a Model Fluorenone”, ChemPhysChem. 2007, 8(10), 1481-1486.
- Hemali P. Rathnayake, Ali Cirpan, Zeynep Delen, Paul M. Lahti and Frank E. Karasz, “Optimizing OLED Efficacy of 2,7- Diconjugated 9,9-Dialkylﬂuorenes by Variation of Periphery Substitution and Conjugation Length”, Adv.Func. Mater. 2007, 17(1), 115-122.
- Hemali P. Rathnayake, Ali Cirpan, Paul M. Lahti and Frank E. Karasz, “Optimizing LED Luminescent Properties in 2,7-Bis(Phenylethenyl)ﬂuorenes”, Chem. Mater. 2006, 18, 560-566.
- Ali Cirpan, Hemali P. Rathnayake, Gorkem Gunbas, Frank E. Karasz and Paul M. Lahti “New conjugated materials containing cyano substituents for light-emitting diodes”, Synthetic Metals. 2006, 156, 282-286.
- 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
- Hemali Rathnayake, “Electronically active functionalized siloxane nanoparticles”, USA, Patent serial # 13/275,771.
- Hemali Rathnayake, “Process for Making Electronically Active Functionalized Silsequioxane Nanostructures of Controlled Morphology Through Covalent Synthesis”, USA, Patent serial # 14/032,650
Grants and Contracts
External Grants: Total Funds Awarded – $51,000
- Hemali Rathnayake (PI), “Multifunctional Metal alloy-Polyimides-Based Cellular Lattice Nanocomposites for Lightweight Spacecraft Shielding Structures”, NASA NC Space Consortium, 01/01/2018 -12/31/2018, $38,500, Funded.
- Hemali Rathnayake (Co-PI), Dhananjay Kumar (PI), “Development of titanium based oxynitirde nanowires for alternative energy generation and energy storage”, UNC-IPG, 09/01/2017 – 06/30/2018, $12,500, Funded.
Internal Grants: Total Funds Awarded – $39,000
- Hemali Rathnayake (PI), Kimberly Cunny (Co-PI), and Daniel Herr (Co-PI), “The INNOVATE Project – Research Learning in Pedagogical Scientific Communication Framework for Graduate Students’ Degree Success and Career Preparation”, $10,000, INNOVATE Projects for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Research Proposal, The Office of Provost, Spring 2018, UNCG.
- Hemali Rathnayake (PI), Mitchell Croatt (Co-PI), Kimberly Petersen (Co-PI), Dennis Lajeunesse (Co-PI), “Molecular Engineered Chemistry for Health and wellness, and Vibrant Communities”, $25,000, The Office of Provost, 01/01/2018-12/31/2018, UNCG
- Hemali Rathnayake, “Strategic Seed Grant – Teaching Innovation for Macromolecular and Supramolecular Chemistry (NAN 705)”, $4,000, Spring 2017, UNCG
External Grants (2009-2016): Total Funds Awarded – $947,142
- Hemali Rathnayake, “Next Generation Energy Harvesting Materials for Green Energy Technology”, KSEF-KCF, 1/1/2013-12/31/2015, $74,722, Funded.