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UCSB and UTEP Organize Cuban Chemical Society Symposium

October 2015

Brought together through the MRL's NSF Partnership for Research and Education in Materials between UCSB and University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), Prof Luis Echegoyen (UTEP), Prof. Michael Chabinyc (UCSB, IRG-2), and Prof. Mark Thompson (USC) organized a symposium on next generation solar cells at the Cuban Chemical Society-sponsored conference Quimicuba’2015. This year’s meeting was the one of the first major scientific conferences in Cuba to occur after the U.S. and Cuba made strides to begin to normalize diplomatic relationships.

Researchers from around the world presented their research at Quimicuba’2015, which included topics such as next-generation solar cells, nano and supramolecular chemistry and biomaterials. Prof. Fred Wudl (Materials and Chemistry) gave a keynote lecture on new materials for organic solar cells, particularly bulk heterojunction solar cells invented at UCSB. Faculty from three departments at UCSB also gave talks on next generation solar cells including Prof. Gui Bazan (Materials and Chemistry/Biochemistry), Prof. Brad Chmelka (Chemical Engineering), Prof. Michael Chabinyc (Materials), and Prof. Quyen Nguyen (Chemistry).

Prof. Echegoyen said participating in Quimicuba’2015 was truly historic. “This is the first time that so many U.S. chemists participated in an event in Cuba after the reestablishment of relations.”

The participants also were encouraged to begin collaborating to bridge the gap between U.S.-based scientists and Cuban-based scientists. Prof. Chabinyc learned of the important need for open access journal articles from Cuban graduate students. “The students were excited to hear about the University of California Digital Library which allows them to learn about the latest research coming from UC campuses.”