Dr. Kafafi Named OSA Fellow

4/10/2007 - 12-07r
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Dr. Zakya Kafafi, a research chemist in the Optical Sciences Division of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has been elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA). Dr. Kafafi, who has served with distinction in the advancement of optics, is recognized for her pioneering work in organic optoelectronic materials and devices.

According to Elizabeth Rogan, OSA's executive director, "The distinction of fellows at OSA is reserved for those members of the optics and photonics community who are at the top of the profession. Dr. Kafafi fits this distinction and has offered valuable insights and significant contributions to the ongoing understanding of optical science." OSA Fellows are selected on a variety of criteria such as remarkable achievements in optics, record of significant publications related to optics, invited papers presented at international conferences, substantial service to OSA, and outstanding management ability. The number of fellows is limited by the bylaws to 10 percent of the total membership.

Dr. Kafafi is an internationally recognized authority in the field of organic photonics and electronics. She pioneered new research areas spanning a wide spectrum of disciplines including nonlinear optics of fullerenes and polymers, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and organic photovoltaics (OPVs). Dr. Kafafi's achievements are reflected in her over 200 publications and more than 3500 citations, her role as a book editor with over 20 proceeding volumes, her keynote/plenary and invited presentations in international conferences, and her active roles in organizing/chairing conferences and, serving on various technical committees and review panels.

Dr. Kafafi has made contributions in the field of organic photonics and electronics covering many aspects of chemistry, physics, and materials science. Her scientific work includes the design of both molecular and polymeric electro-active materials, the elucidation of their chemical and electronic structures, and optical properties, and the development of novel photonic, electronic and optoelectronic devices. Very recently, Dr. Kafafi reported in Nanoletters on the first smallest, nanoscale OLED (NanoOLED) fabricated in her lab using simple photolithographic techniques. These devices are promising for direct-writing nano-photolithography, quantum communication, optical interconnects, readouts for molecular-electronic circuit diagnostics, chemical and biological sensors, and sources for nanoplasmonic circuits. This work received publicity, including articles in Nature (Vol. 438, p 715, December 8, 2005), Photonics Spectra (p. 135 January 2006) and the SPIE newsroom article.

Dr. Kafafi served for several years on the technical program committee on organic thin films for photonics for OSA/American Chemical Society (ACS) which alternates yearly between the OSA and the ACS annual meetings. In 2005, she launched a new OSA Symposium on "Organic Optoelectronics" at the annual meeting in Tucson, AZ. This new symposium that she chaired proved successful and is now offered annually at FiO, the annual OSA meeting. Dr. Kafafi is a member of the the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) program committee on LEDs, OLEDs, and Solid-State Lighting from 2005-present. She was vice-chair from 2003-2004, and presently is a chair of the OSA Thin Films Technical Group from 2005-present.

Dr. Kafafi was elected Fellow by the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) board of directors in 2005. She has chaired the SPIE track program on "Organic Photonics & Electronics" and reorganized it to include "state-of-the art" technologies. She introduced new conferences with "hot topics" such as organic thin film transistors, and strengthened others by merging together conferences with strongly overlapping topics such as the conference on "Linear and Nonlinear Optics of Organic Materials." In the last decade, she chaired and organized conferences including four from 1994-1997 on "Fullerenes and Photonics," 11 from 1997-2007 on "Organic Light-Emitting Materials & Devices" and eight from 2000-2007 on "Organic Photovoltaics." Dr. Kafafi will be also chairing the new SPIE symposium in 2007 on "Photonic Devices and Applications." She has also served as the editor of more than 20 SPIE proceeding volumes based on these conferences, and introduced for the first time the peer-review system to the SPIE proceedings thus bringing them to an outstanding quality.

Dr. Kafafi's awards and honors include the IR 100 Award, Research & Development Magazine 1986, for the invention of a cryolink, a link that maintains the cryogenic temperature of a multi-surface substrate that rotates and translates in vacuum, and the Edison Patent Award, 2003, for the development of conducting polymer electrodes for rigid and flexible organic photonics and electronic devices such as light-emitting organic displays, solid-state lighting, thin film transistors and solar cells. She is a member of ACS, the Materials Research Society (MRS), OSA, the Society for Information Display (SID), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and SPIE.

Dr. Kafafi was one of the pioneers of the NRL mentor program whose primary objective was to help young NRL scientists and engineers develop and advance their careers. She received the NRL Commanding Officer's Award, 1995, for achievements in the field of Equal Employment Opportunity for the creation of a mentor program for scientists and engineers. Dr. Kafafi received her B.Sc. degree (cum laude) in chemistry from the University of Houston, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Rice University, Houston, TX. From 1982-1986, Dr. Kafafi served as a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Chemistry, Rice University; and served as President, The Spectroscopic Associates, Inc., Houston, TX, from 1985-1989.

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