Elizabeth Elacqua, assistant professor of chemistry, is one of six Penn State faculty members to recieve the 2023 Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award, covering a wide range of research with societal impact. The award is presented by the Materials Research Institute (MRI) and recognizes recent interdisciplinary materials research at Penn State that yields innovative and unexpected results.
The award exists thanks to a gift from Della and Rustum Roy, who are both late alumni of Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and were long-serving faculty in the college. Elacqua received the award in the Early Career Faculty category. The awards
Elacqua’s research group focuses on developing ways to synthesize new polymers. This research is nature-inspired and founded on using polymer chemistry to address bottlenecks in organic synthesis and using organic chemistry to address challenges in polymer synthesis. Her group also studies the use of abundant chemicals, such as those left over from the petroleum refining process, to make new rigid, diamond-like polymers.
“The polymers we are making thus far have specific applications ranging from light-promoted catalysis to organic semiconductors and high tensile strength materials,” Elacqua said. “While everything is still in its infancy, we can envision accessing polymers that are integral components of future technologies, such as solar cells and composite materials.”
Read more about the other winners on Penn State News.