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Christine Keiko Luscombe


After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2000, Christine worked with Profs. Andrew Holmes and Wilhelm Huck in the Melville Laboratory of Polymer Synthesis at the University of Cambridge where her Ph.D. research focused on surface modifications using supercritical carbon dioxide. She received the Syngenta Award for best organic chemistry project for her PhD. In January 2004, she joined the group of Prof. Jean Fréchet for her post-doctoral studies where she began her research on semiconducting polymers for organic photovoltaics. She was the recipient of the Lindemann Fellowship as well as the Trinity College Junior Research Fellowship (University of Cambridge) for her post-doctoral studies.

In September 2006, she joined the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received a number of young faculty awards including the NSF CAREER Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, as well as the Sloan Research Fellowship. Her current research focuses on the synthesis of semiconducting polymers for energy applications. She served on the Editorial Advisory Board for Macromolecules and ACS Macro Letters, and is currently serving on the Editorial Advisory Boards for Polymer International, Advanced Electronic Materials, and Journal of Applied Physics. She is an  Associate Editor for Journal of Materials Chemistry A, is serving on the IUPAC Polymer Education and Polymer Terminology Subcommittees, and is the Vice President of the IUPAC Polymer Division.


  • Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, 2005
  • MA, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • B.A., M.Sci., Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 2000

Previous appointments

  • Advisor: Jean M. J. Frechet, UC Berkeley, 2004-2006

Research Statement

Molecular self-assembly is a powerful tool for creating novel nanometer scale architectures. Nature uses self-assembly to organize simple components into well-defined, 3D, functional structures. In recent years, much progress has been made in creating nanometer scale patterns using the bottom-up approach inspired by nature. The goal of the research in the group is to utilize and expand the current knowledge of self-assembly processes in the development of functional molecules with novel electronic and photonic properties. Our research involves the design and synthesis of functional molecules, which range from well-defined macromolecules to polymers. We are also interested in the ability of the materials to self-assemble and to be used in a variety of applications including, organic thin film transistors, organic photovoltaic devices, and chemical and biological sensors. The work performed in the group is multidisciplinary, involving organic and polymer synthesis, materials science and engineering, physics, and electrical engineering.

Current projects

Organic photovoltaics

Living polymerizations

Direct arylation

Ionically and electrically conducting polymers

Stretchable electronics

Select publications

  1. O'Keefe, S.; Li, Y.; Luscombe, C. K. "Solution processed low-k dielectric core-shell nanoparticles for additive manufacturing of microwave devices" J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2017, 134, 45335. Selected as cover article.
  2. Giridharagopal, R.; Flagg, L. Q.; Harrison, J. S.; Ziffer, M. E.; Onorato, J.; Luscombe, C. K.; Ginger, D. S. "Electrochemical strain microscopy probes morphology-induced variations in ion uptake and performance in organic electrochemical transistors" Nature Materials, 2017, 16, 737.
  3. Scott, C. N.; Bisen, M. D.; Stemer, D. M.; McKinnon, S.; Luscombe, C. K. "Direct Arylation Polycondensation of 2,5-Dithienylsilole with a Series of Difluorobenzodiimine-Based Electron Acceptors" Macromolecules, 2017, 50, 4623.
  4. Li, J.-H; Xi, Y.; Pozzo, L. D.; Xu, J.-T.; Luscombe, C. K. "Macroscopically Aligned Nanowire Arrays of pi-Conjugated Polymers via Shear-Enhanced Crystallization" J. Mater. Chem. C., 2017, 5, 5128.
  5. Li, J.-H.; Li, Y.; Xu, J.-T.; Luscombe, C. K. "Self-Assembled Amphiphilic Block Copolymers/CdTe Nanocrystals for Efficient Aqueous-Processed Hybrid Solar Cells" ACS Appl. Mater. Inter., 2017, 9, 17942.
  6. Li, Y.; Tatum, W. K.; Onorato, J. W.; Barajas, S. D.; Yang, Y. Y.; Luscombe, C. K. "An indacenodithiophene-based semiconducting polymer with high ductility for stretchable organic electronics" Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 5185.
  7. Holliday, S.; Li, Y.; Luscombe, C. K. "Recent Advances in High Performance Donor-Acceptor Polymers for Organic Photovoltaics" Prog. Polym. Sci., 2017, 70, 34. Invited paper.
  8. Onorato, J.; Pakhnyuk, V.; Luscombe, C. K. "Structure and design of polymers for durable, stretchable organic electronics" Polymer Journal, 2017, 49, 41. Invited paper.
  9. Li, J.-H.; Li, P.; Xu, J.-T.; Luscombe, C. K.; Fan, Z. "Straightening single-walled carbon nanotubes by adsorbed rigid poly(3-hexylthiophene) chains via pi-pi interaction" J. Phys. Chem. C., 2016, 120, 27655.
  10. Suraru, S.-L.; Lee, J. A.; Luscombe, C. K. "C-H arylation in the synthesis of pi-conjugated polymer" ACS Macro Lett., 2016, 5, 724. Invited Viewpoint.
  11. Suraru, S.-L.; Lee, J. A.; Luscombe, C. K. "Preparation of an aurylated alkylthiophene monomer via C-H activation for use in Pd-PEPPSI-iPr catalyzed controlled chain growth polymerization" ACS Macro Lett., 2016, 5, 533.
  12. Martin, T. R.; Katahara, J. K.; Bucherl, C. N.; Krueger, B. W.; Hillhouse, H. W.; Luscombe, C. K. "Nanoparticle ligands and pyrolized graphitic carbon in CZTSSe photovoltaic devices" Chem. Mater., 2016, 28, 135.
  13. Zeigler, D. F.; Candelaria, S. L.; Mazzio, K. A.; Martin, T. R.; Uchaker, E.; Suraru, S.-L.; Kang, L. J.; Cao, G.; Luscombe, C. K. "N-type hyperbranched polymers for supercapacitor cathodes with variable porosity and excellent electrochemical stability" Macromolecules, 2015, 48, 5196.
  14. Mazzio, K. A.; Rice, A. H.; Durban, M. M.; Luscombe, C. K. "Effect of regioregularity on charge transport and structural and excitonic coherence in poly(3-hexylthiophene) nanowires" J. Phys. Chem. C, 2015, 119, 14911.
  15. Martin, T. R.; Mazzio, K. A.; Hillhouse, H. W.; Luscombe, C. K. "Sulfur copolymer for the direct synthesis of ligand-free CdS nanoparticles" Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 11244.
  16. Li, Z.; Mazzio, K. A.; Okamoto, K.; Luscombe, C. K.; Schlaf, R. "Orbital alignment at the internal interface of arylthiol functionalized CdSe molecular hybrids" J. Appl. Phys., 2015, 117, 155501.
  17. Newbloom, G. M; Hoffmann, S. M.; West, A. F.; Gile, M. C.; Sista, P.; Cheung, H.-K. C.; Luscombe, C. K.; Pfaendtner, J.; Pozzo, L. D. "Solvatochromism and Conformational Changes in Fully Dissolved Poly(3-alkylthiophene)s" Langmuir, 2015, 31, 458.
  18. Mazzio, K.; Luscombe, C. K. "The Future of Organic Photovoltaics" Chem. Soc. Rev., 2015, 44, 78. Invited review.
  19. Zeigler, D. F.; Mazzio, K. A.; Luscombe, C. K. "Fully Conjugated Graft Copolymers Comprising a P-type Donor-Acceptor Backbone and Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Sidechains Synthesized Via a “Graft Through” Approach" Macromolecules, 2014, 47, 5019.
  20. Zhang, G.; Huber, R.; Ferreira, A.; Boyd, S. D.; Luscombe, C.K.; Tolbert, S.; Schwartz, B. "Crystallinity Effects in Sequentially-processed and Blend-cast Bulk-heterojunction Polymer/Fullerene Phovoltaics" J. Phys. Chem. C, 2014, 118, 18424.

Honors & awards

  • President of IUPAC Polymer Division, 2020
  • College of Engineering Faculty Award: Research, 2019
  • Lectureship Award, Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of Japan, 2017
  • Vice President of IUPAC Polymer Division, 2016
  • Finalist, Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Award, 2015
  • Featured in ChemComm's Emerging Investigators Issue, 2014
  • Featured in J. Mater. Chem. C's Emerging Investigators Issue, 2014
  • Associate Editor for J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013
  • Associate Editor for J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member for Macromolecules and ACS Macro Letters, 2012
  • Sigma Aldrich Lecturer, 2012
  • Kavli Fellow, 2011
  • College of Engineering Junior Innovator Award, 2010
  • Sloan Research Fellowship, 2010
  • DARPA Young Faculty Award, 2008
  • NSF Career Award, 2008-2013
  • Junior Research Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK, 2003-2007
  • Lindemann Fellowship for post-doctoral research in the USA, 2003-2004
  • Syngenta Scholarship for best organic chemistry PhD project, 2002
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016
  • Kavli Fellow, The National Academy of Sciences, 2015
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • American Chemical Society
  • Materials Research Society