People » Lei Zhai

Dr. Zhai’s research group focuses on fabricating polymer and ceramic composites of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene and polyelectrolyte nanostructures.  His lab has used conjugated block copolymers to disperse CNTs with good solubility and stability in different solvents and host polymer matrices. Such noninvasive approach offers a simple and versatile method to disperse and functionalize CNTs and graphene. His research group is also interested in utilizing polyelectrolyte nanostructures (i.e. nanofibers and nanoparticles) for nanofabrication, sensing and drug delivery.

Selected Publications

  1. Church, J.; Wang, X.; Calderon, J.; Lee, W. H.; Cho, H. J.; Zhai, L. “A Graphene-Based Nanosensor for In Situ Monitoring of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)” J. Nanosci. Nanotech. 2016, 16, 1620.
  2. Spradlin, C.; Sullivan, M.; Dodson, D.; Zhai, L.; Lunsford, S. “An Experience with P3HT Modified CNT Working Electrode to Detect Lead by Square Wave Anodic Stripping Voltammetry” Chem. Educator, 2015, 20, 256.
  3. Yu, Z.; Moore, J.; Calderon, J.; Zhai, L.; Thomas, J. “Coil-Type Asymmetric Supercapacitor Electrical Cables” Small, 2015, 5289.
  4. Zhai, L.; Thomas, J.; Khondaker, S.; McInnis, M.; Chen, S. “Ordered Conjugated Polymer Nanoand Microstructures: Structure Control for Improved Performance of Organic Electronics” Nano Today, 2015, 11, 705.
  5. Yu, Z.; Tetard, L.; Zhai, L.; Thomas, J. “Supercapacitor Electrode Materials: Nanostructures from 0 to 3 Dimensions” Energy & Environmental Science, 2015, 8, 702. 3
  6. Yu, Z.; McInnis, M.; Calderon, J.; Seal, S.; Zhai, L.; Thomas, J. “Functionalized Graphene Aerogel Composites for High-Performance Asymmetric Supercapacitors” Nano Energy, 2015, 11, 611.
  7. An, D.; Ji, Y.; Chiu, A.; Lu, Y.; Song, W.; Zhai, L.; Qi, L.; Luo, D.; Ma, M. “Developing Robust, Hydrogel-based, Nanofiber-Enabled Encapsulation Devices (NEEDs) for Cell Therapies” Biomaterials, 2015, 37, 40.
  8. Chantharasupawng, P.; Christenson, C.; Philip, R.; Tetard, L.; Zhai, L.; Winiarz, J.; Yamamoto, M.; Nari, R. R.; Thomas, J. “Photorefractive Performances of a Graphene-doped PATPD/7-DCST/ECZ Composite” J. Mater. Chem. C., 2014, 2, 7639.
  9. Liu, J.; Moo-Young, J.; McInnis, M.; Pasquinelli, M. A.; Zhai L.; “Conjugated Polymer Assemblies on Carbon Nanotubes” Macromolecules, 2014, 47, 705.
  10. Zhai, L. “Stimuli-Responsive Polymer Films” Chem. Soc. Rev. 2013, 42, 7148.


Graduate and undergraduate students will be trained in a multidisciplinary environment. Students will have the opportunity to acquire the skill in using various material characterization instrument and develop problem solving skills.

Congratulations, Summer 2018 Ph.D. Grads!

The College of Sciences celebrated its new Ph.D. graduates in a reception hosted by Dean Michael Johnson. Twenty students were recognized at the ceremony with their family members and faculty advisors by thei... Read more

College of Sciences Celebrates 18 new PH.D.s

Thursday, Dec. 11, the College of Sciences celebrated 18 new Ph.Ds at a special graduation reception. The graduation celebration took place in the atrium of the Physical Sciences building.  In attendance were ... Read more

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