People » Lei Zhai

Multifunctional Polyelectrolyte Nanofibers.
Polyelectrolyte nanofibers are produced through electrospinning. The research focuses on loading various metal ions in polyelectrolyte fibers and fabricate materials on fibers through chemical reactions such as hydrolysis and reduction, and etc. The obtained multifunctional nanofibers have potential applications in catalysis, water treatment and tissue engineering.

Polymer and ceramic composites with carbon nanotubes and graphene
Carbon nanotubes and graphene are used to improve the electrical conductivity and mechanical properties of various polymers. Carbon nanotubes and graphene are also added to preceramic polymers to produce polymer derived ceramics (PDCs) with high electrical conductivity and thermal/chemical stability.

Conjugated Polymer Self-assembly Structures
The major research themes in molecular electronics are the construction of electronic circuits in which molecular systems act as connection elements, measurement and understanding of their voltage-current response. The research aims at investigate assembling behavior of conjugated polymers on graphitic surfaces. It is discovered that the assembly structure depends on polymer molecular structures and surface curvature of graphitic surfaces.


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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