Laboratory for Interface Science of Printable Electronic Materials News

Yes! SPECS is looking for postdocs and new PhD students! 

Future Postdocs - please look at our open ads associated with photocatalysis and photoelectrochemical cells.  Keep checking back - new posting will be coming out every few months and will link for others within SPECS!…

Future graduate students interested in working with the SPECS EFRC will be considered from engineering (chemical and materials) and science (chemistry and physics) - please apply directly to your desired home department and list Ratcliff (CHEE) as one of your interested advisors.  Will consider applications in December.  We are not accepting PHD students for perovskite projects for Fall 2023.  

What kind of students are we looking for?

Students with a strong interest in electrochemistry, solar, manufacturing and characterization techniques. If you are interested in exploring new types of materials, instrument design, possible programming and data science approaches, and working in a collaborative environment, we are the group for you!  We interface with a number of national and international collaborators, including national labs and companies.  



Latest and Greatest From LISPEM

October 2022 - Michel's paper is published in ACS Energy Letters! 

How Low Can You Go? Defect Quantification at the 1015 cm–3 Level in Mixed-Cation Perovskites Using Differential Pulse Voltammetry.  ACS Energy Letters 2022, 7, 4017-4027,

September 2022 - Our new environmental chamber has arrived! 

Looking forward to doing some controlled PV measurements for stability.  

August 2022 - Ratcliff to lead a new $11 Million Energy Frontier Research Center on Soft PhotoElectroChemical Systems sponsored by Department of Energy Office of Science

August 2022 - Dr. Mriganka Singh Joins LISPEM

Dr. Singh joins us in UArizona to work on perovskite stability.  Welcome Mriganka! 

July 2022 - Ratcliff group is selected for a SETO Small Innovative Projects in Solar 2022

This project is based on Michel's work with defect quantification in perovskites using electrochemistry!…

May 2022 - Spencer Yeager is off to an internship at Naval Research Laboratory

Spencer will spend the summer at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC as an NREIP intern, where he will be working on synthetically tuning the optical properties PbSe nanocrystals.

Feb. 2022 - Dr. Ratcliff is featured in this year's "Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research" by the American Chemical Society.

ACS Energy Letters 2022, 7, 1, 328-342:

and the nice write-up from NREL:…

Members of the Laboratory for Interface Science of Printable Electronic Materials in Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona. (Left to right, front) Dr. Michel De Keersmaecker, Dr. Joshua Hill, Prof. Erin Ratcliff (PI), Michael Anderson, and Spencer Yeager. (Back) Dr. Linze Du Hill, Alejandro Villalobos, Waleed Ahmad, Dr. Songyan Yu, and Anna Hamstra. (Photo courtesy Emily Diekman)

December 2021 - Collaborative paper with the Naval Research Laboratory on printable photodiodes using PbS quantum dots appears in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.  

 "Enhanced Infrared Photodiodes Based on PbS/PbClx Core/Shell Nanocrystals" ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2021

November 2021 - New papers involving photoelectron spectroscopy from LISPEM have appeared in Materials Horizons and Science!

Rationalizing energy level alignment by characterizing Lewis acid/base and ionic interactions at printable semiconductor/ionic liquid interfaces, Materials Horizons, 2022.  DOI: 10.1039/D1MH01306H

Metastable Dion-Jacobson 2D structure enables efficient and stable perovskite solar cells, Science2021DOI: 10.1126/science.abj2637.


October 2021 - Check out the new blade coater in action printing solar cells!


September 2021 - Congrats to Michael, whose paper just appeared in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces! 

A Multi-modal Approach to Understanding Degradation of Organic Photovoltaic Materials

August 2021 - A big LISPEM welcome to Waleed Ahmad, who has joined the group as a new PhD MSE student.  Welcome Waleed! 

July 2021 -  Congrats to Michel, whose paper just appeared in Energy and Environmental Science!

Defect quantification in metal halide perovskites: The solid-state electrochemical alternative


June 2021 - 

EMPOWER STEM Program Creates Student Pathways to Jobs in National Labs

Funded by $748,000 from the Office of Naval Research, the EMPOWER STEM program aims to provide a route to government research jobs, particularly for students from diverse backgrounds.…

May 2021 - LISPEM in the clean room! 

April 2021 - LISPEM welcomes new postdoc Dr. Joshua Hill!

 Dr. Hill joins us from the University of Wyoming and will be working on electrochemistry of semiconductor materials and interfaces.  Welcome Josh! 

March 2021 - Congratulations Michael on being selected an ARCS Foundation Scholar!


January 2021 - Our collaboration with NREL is out in Matter!

"High-performance methylammonium-free ideal-band-gap perovskite solar cells" Matter, 2021:

January 2021 - Welcome Dr. Linze Du!

Dr. Du joins us to work on characterization of chemical and electronic structure of interfaces.  Welcome Linze! 

December 2020 - Congrats to Spencer!

He took part in the Naval Horizons/ASEE Challenge, providing a summary of the state of organic optoelectronics and how the field impacts the future of the Navy! 

October 2020 - Our ACS Energy Letters paper is out!

Nice collaboration with NREL and SLAC looking at chemical degradation of mixed cation metal halide perovskites.  "Surface-Activated Corrosion in Tin-Lead Halide Perovskite Solar Cells" ACS Energy Letters2020, 5, 11, 3344-3351.

September 2020 - Congrats to Michael on publication of his collaboration with the Welch group (Univ. Calgary), Leclerc group (Univ. Laval), Brilliant Matters and the new Laventure Lab (Univ. Montreal) looking at structure in slot-die-coated ternary blend organic photovoltaics for indoor PV!

"Slot-Die-Coated Ternary Organic Photovoltaics for Indoor Light Recycling" ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces,

September 2020 - Congrats to Jon on publication of his paper on anomalous diffusion of ions in conductive polymers in Journal of Materials Chemistry C!

"Ion diffusion coefficients in poly(3-alkylthiophenes) for energy conversion and biosensing: role of side-chain length and microstructure"

August 2020 - Welcome to Dr. Michel De Keersmaecker!

Dr. De Keersmaecker joins us to work on electrochemistry and spectroscopy of printed electronic materials from Georgia Tech. Welcome to LISPEM Michel!

August 2020 - Welcome Alejandro, Anna, and Spencer and Congratulations to Alejandro!

We welcome Alejandro, Anna, and Spencer to LISPEM as new PhD students. Alejandro joined the group in June and he is going to be staying on with us for a PhD. A big congratulations to Alejandro for receiving the "Initiative for Maximizing Student Development" Graduate Student Award for his first year as a PhD student.  

August 2020 - Newest work from Bharati and Kristen on degradation of F4TNCQ-doped P3HT is published in JPCL.

Thermally Induced Formation of HF4TCNQ in F4TCNQ-Doped Regioregular P3HT, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

July 2020 - Our NSF DMR grant has been renewed! 

"Degradation of Organic Semiconductors: Functional and Mechanistic Descriptions from Macroscale to Nanoscale" has been funded by NSF DMR#2003631 through the Solid State Materials Chemistry program.  Looking forward to three more years of fruitful collaborations with Jeanne Pemberton's group in Chemistry and thank you NSF!


July 2020 - Our first perovskite paper is out in Joule!

Our work on identifying and overcoming voltage limits in perovskite solar cells with nickel oxide hole-selective contacts in now online in Joule.  A collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, UC Boulder, Stanford, and ASU.

June 2020 - Congratulations to Zhiting for being awarded the Sulzer Mines Scholarship!

May 2020 - Congratulations to Dr. Ratcliff on being promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure!

May 2020 - LISPEM selected for Office of Naval Research funding!

We have a new 3-year grant from ONR on interfaces in perovskite solar cells, a collaborative effort with Neal Armstrong in Chemistry!

May 2020 - Congrats Michael on your travel award!

Michael was awarded the Carter Travel Award by the UArizona Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDP) to attend the 2020 MRS Spring Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Due to COVID-19, Michael can apply his award to a future conference in 2020 or 2021!  Congrats Michael and best of luck finding a conference in Hawaii!

April 2020 - Congrats Jon on your collaborative paper in SENSORS!

Jon's collaborative paper with AFRL has been accepted in Sensors ( "Impact of Self-Assembled Monolayer Design and Electrochemical Factors on Impedance-Based Biosensing"  This exciting work was done summer 2019 when Jon was a Repperger Research Intern at the 711th Human Performance Wing at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).  Way to go Jon and congrats to all our co-authors (Michael C. Brothers, David Moore, Michael St. Lawrence, Ronald M. Joseph, Oscar N. Ruiz, Nicholas Glavin and Steve S. Kim)!

March 2020 - Best of luck Dr. Bharati Neelamraju!

We bid farewell to Bharati, who has started a position at Micron Technology, Inc.  Best of luck B, we know you will do great things! 

February 10, 2020 - Scientists Study Sweat, the Small Stuff

We are excited about our new project - developing methods to collect and analyze sweat for clues about how the body is functioning - funded by SEMI-NBMC (Nano-Bio Materials Consortium).

January 2020 - New Year, New Decade, New Awards!

Congratulations to Michael for winning the top graduate student prize for Environmental Impact and to Zhiting for winning second place in the ACS Women's Chemist Group at the Graduate Professional Student Council Student Showcase! Their award-winning posters are the products of their Institute for Energy Solutions Summer 2019 Fellowships.  Well done Michael and Zhiting!

January 2020 - Welcome Dr. Songyan Yu!

Dr. Yu joins us to work on wearable sweat sensors and conductive polymer electrochemistry from Auburn University.  Welcome to LISPEM Songyan! 


December 2019 - Congratulations Dr. Neelamraju!

Bharati successfully defended her PhD entitled "Doping and Stability of Organic Semiconductors". She was selected as the top graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Arizona, an award presented to her by Dean Hahn. Way to go Bharati! 

November 2019 Congratulations to Zhiting!

Her collaboration paper with Pat Uniwn's group University of Warwick was just accepted in ACS Nano.

September 2019 LISPEM receives DOE BES funding!

August 2019 Congrats to Kristen, Trung, Bharati, and Michael!

Their collaborative paper with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on degradation of organic donors for solar cells was accepted for publication in Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

July 2019 Congrats to Dr. Ratcliff! 

July 2019 Congrats to Jon and Bharati!

Their manuscript was accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials. 

July 2019 Congrats to Kristen and Bharati!

Their manuscript was accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials. 

May 2019 Congrats to Dr. Ratcliff - she was selected for the Award for Excellence at the Student Interface: Most Supportive Junior Faculty

May 2019 Congrats to Sean!

Sean graduates this month with his Master's in Materials Science and Engineering, which has been published in Synthetic Metals.  

April 2019 Congrats to Jon! 

Jon was named a Repperger Research Intern at the 711th Human Performance Wing at the Air Force Research Laboratory for Summer 2019!


March 2019 Congrats to Zhiting and Michael! 

Both were named as 2019 Institute for Energy Solutions Summer Fellows:


March 2019 Congrats to Bharati for passing her oral exam!

February 2019 Congrats to Zhiting!

Her poster won the American Chemical Society Women's Chemistry Group Award at the 2019 GPSC Student Showcase. 

December 2018 Congrats to Bharati!

Her travel grant from the GPSC was funded to attend the Fall 2018 MRS meeting.  


November 2018 Congratulations to Bharati and Kristen for their paper published in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters!

October 2018  Dr. Ratcliff gives an invited talk at Orbitaly 2018 

"Gating strategies in organic electrochemical transistors: Fundamental mechanisms, transport effects, and materials design"  Milan, Italy

September 2018  Congratulations to Bharati and Melanie!  

Their paper "Controlling the Kinetics of Charge Transfer at Conductive Polymer/Liquid Interfaces through Microstructure" was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2018, 122 (37) 21210-21215

August 2018  Our MRI proposal "Acquisition of a Cryogenic Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope with Spatially Resolved Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy" with Brian LeRoy, John Schaibley, Robert Norwood, and Sefaattin Tongay was selected for funding by NSF DMR (Award #1828427)!  Thank you NSF! 

August 2018 Ratcliff selected to be member of the BIO5 Institute.

August 2018 Zhiting Chen joins the Ratpack.  Welcome Zhiting!

July 2018 Our collaboration on MoOx/PbS interfaces with Naval Research Laboratory "Energy Level Alignment of Molybdenum Oxide on Colloidal Lead Sulfide (PbS) Thin Films for Optoelectronic Devices" is published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 10, 30, 24981-24986  


July 2018 Michael Anderson joins the Ratpack.  Welcome Michael!

June 2018 Our new step-scan FT-IR with electrochemical capabilities is delivered and installed!


May 2018 Jon collects NEXAFS spectra on a recent trip to SSRL



April 2018 Justin and Bharati work on depositing thin films of organic semiconductors


March 2018 Sean gets the last piece of GIWAXS data he needs for his thesis!


February 2018 Bharati is named as one of twelve 2018 Carson Scholars! Congratulations Bharati!  

MSE Grad Student Cultivates Communication Skills…



October 2017 Melanie's paper is published in Nature Communications

"Normal and inverted regimes of charge transfer controlled by density of states at polymer electrodes” is now available online:  

Nature Communications 8, Article number: 1048 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01264-2

Researchers demonstrate new ways to achieve selectivity for biomarkers in bioelectronics

Postdoctoral associate Melanie Rudolph pours electrolyte onto a thin-film polymer for experiments on electron transfer reactions. Credit: University of Arizona

October 2017 Ratcliff lab in the news!  

Researchers demonstrate new ways to achieve selectivity for biomarkers in bioelectronics

Engineers at the University of Arizona have experimentally verified the electrochemical processes that control charge transfer rate from an organic polymer to a biomarker molecule, using common materials and measurement techniques to make their results widely accessible and reproducible.


Erin Ratcliff, left, and undergraduate student Zachary Kushlan examine an organic semiconductor thin film prepared in the Ratcliff lab. Credit: University of Arizona

Read more at:



September 2017 Ratcliff Co-PI of $3 million National Science Foundation grant to help fit sustainable systems to existing infrastructure with the Navajo Nation…

new five-year, $3-million NSF-funded program(link is external) will develop a diverse STEM workforce with the intercultural awareness and multidisciplinary knowledge necessary to address this problem. Through the program, at least 26 University of Arizona graduate students will apply their STEM education to food, water, and energy-related challenges in Navajo Nation.  


August 2017 New paper on "Critical Interface States Controlling Rectification of Ultrathin NiO–ZnO p–n Heterojunctions" published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9 (36), pp 31111–31118  DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b08899

Abstract Image

July 2017 Jonathan Harris joins the RatPack.  Welcome Jon!

May 2017 Trung Nguyen graduates with his masters in MSE.  Congrats Trung!  

February 2017 Ratcliff named Summer Fellow in 2017 ONR Summer Faulty Research Program at the Naval Research Laboratory

USN Office of Naval Research (ONR) Science & Technology Seal

September 2016 - Ratcliff lab on YouTube.  


August 2016 Our pilot proposal "Wearable sensor arrays for real-time analysis of sweat biofluid" is funded by UA Office of Research and Discovery!  

July 2016 - Our NSF grant is featured in UANews!


June 2016 - Sean Arnold and Zack Kushlan join the Ratpack

Welcome Sean and Zack!


May 2016 - Release of Advanced Materials Special Issue:  Metal Oxide Heterointerfaces in Hybrid Electronic Platforms

Advanced Materials

Dr. Ratcliff's co-edited special issue of Advanced Materials can be found here:

And our editorial with Martyn McLachlan

May 2016

Bharati Neelamraju joins the Ratpack as a PhD student.  Welcome Bharati!

April 2016

Thank you to the National Science Foundation Division of Materials for awarding our joint proposal with Jeanne Pemberton (Chemistry, University of Arizona).  

The project entitled "In Operando Characterization of Degradation Processes in Organic Semiconductor Materials" is for $590,000 and runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019.  

March 2016

Congratulations to Ankush!  His poster "Band gap Engineering of ZnO Selective Contacts with Mg Additives" was nominated for best poster award at the Spring MRS 2016 meeting!


March 2016

The RatPack visits Phoenix for the Spring 2016 MRS meeting.  Come join us at Symposium EP5: Metal Oxide Hetero-Interfaces in Hybrid Electronic Platforms, chaired by Dr. Ratcliff.

December 2015

Dr. Ratcliff gives an invited talk at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source (SSRL) and conducts experiments with Dr. Leah Kelly.  

Dr. Kelly at beam line 8-2 (SSRL)

December 2015

Dr. Ratcliff gives an inivted talk at Fall MRS in Boston "Doping and nano-texturing of polymer semiconductors" in Symposium AA: Organic Semiconductors -Surface, Interface and Bulk Doping.  

November 2015

Dr. Melanie Rudolph joins the group as a postdoctoral researcher after completing her Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany.  Welcome to the University of Arizona Melanie!

October 2015

The new IPES has arrived!  Assembly is underway.......

September 2015

Dr. Ratcliff travels to Arizona State University to meet with researchers part of QESST.  The title of her seminar talk was "Selectivity of Contacts in Thin Film Photovoltaics".  

August 2015

Dr. Ratcliff gives a seminar "Overcoming Materials Challenges with Interfaces in Thin Film Optoelectronic Devices" and visits with researchers at US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC.  

August 2015

Trung Nguyen (Ph.D. student in MSE) joins the Ratcliff group and our organic thermoelectric effort.  Welcome to the group and to Tucson Trung!

August 2015

Dr. Leah Kelly joins us as joint postdoctoral researcher with Oliver Monti's group in Chemistry.  Leah is working on characterizing doping in organic semiconductors.  Welcome Leah!

July 2015

Dr. Ratcliff travels to Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Source (SSRL) for spectroscopy experiments of colloidal quantum dots with Naval Research Laboratory collaborators.  

June 2015

Ankush Nayak (Masters student, MSE) and Zack Fortuno (undergraduate, MSE) join the lab to work on photoelectrochemistry of oxides and polymers.  Welcome Ankush and Zack!

Congratulations to Kira Rundel on graduating with a Bachelor's degree from University of Arizona.  Kira leaves us for first a summer internship at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO) before heading off to Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) to pursue a Ph.D.  Best of luck Kira!

May 2015

Ratcliff proposal funded with Oliver Monti (UA Chemistry) "Organic Thermoelectrics: Breaking the Barrier for Conversion of Heat to Electricity"   by TRIF UA Renewable Energy Network  $60,000.  Thank you REN!

April 2015

Kira Rundel wins the Distinguished Poster Award at the Arizona Student Energy Conference (AzSEC).  Congratulations Kira!

January 2015

Ratcliff proposal "Inverse Photoemission Spectrometer" was selected for funding by the Water, Environmental and Energy Solutions (WEES) competitive equipment grants program.  Thank you WEES!

Homecoming 2014

Kira Rundel and her poster “Exploring the Effect of Donor Polymer Molecular Weight in Bulk Heterojunction All-Polymer Solar Cells” win multiple prizes at UA Homecoming, including First Place in Undergraduate Division of Engineering Student Showcase, First Place from the American Chemical Society Women’s Chemistry Group, and the President’s Award for the Best Undergraduate Research Project.  Excellent work Kira!