Thuc-Quyen Nguyen, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), has received the Humboldt Research Award from Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in recognition of her achievements in science research. Nguyen developed a solution-processable small molecule used in organic solar cells. The Humboldt Research Award is granted to senior scientists whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. Each winner receives a stipend of €60,000 (about $67,000). Currently, Nguyen and her research group at UCSB focus on charge transport in organic semiconductors, new materials for organic solar cell applications, materials processing, nanoscale and bulk characterization of organic solar cells, device physics, organic transistors, organic ratchets, and biomaterials/bioelectronics. Nguyen also works with professor Dieter Neher of the University of Potsdam, where the two focus on the effect of energetic disorder on charge-carrier transport and device characteristics. "The beauty of working with the solution-processed small molecules that my group developed at UCSB is that you get exactly the same molecule each time and that consistency is important for device applications," Nguyen said. "These molecules can be processed from solution, which means an organic solar cell can be made flexible using roll-to-roll coating similar to printing a newspaper. The other nice thing with this type of technology is that it can be made semitransparent to coat windows or glass. Nguyen, who came to the U.S. when she was 21, credited her experience growing up without electricity in a small village in Vietnam as a source of her interest in solar energy.