Sahar Sharifzadeh Wins U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award

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By Amy Pollard (GRS ’19)

Prof. Sharifzadeh
Prof. Sharifzadeh

Professor Sahar Sharifzadeh received an Early Career Research Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Sharifzadeh, a noteworthy expert on nanoelectronics, will bring together concepts from Physics, MSE and ECE to further the understanding of the optoelectronic properties of nanomaterials.

The award funds a 5-year research project focused on understanding how light interacts with the atoms and electrons in two-dimensional materials such as graphene to determine its function in a device. The research uses quantum mechanical modeling to simulate the behavior of electrons and builds in complexity to make the simulations more realistic.

Sharifzadeh has spent the last several years mastering how to model the interaction of light with various types of materials. She seeks to develop new practical insights to design smaller and more efficient optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells.

The award recognizes outstanding young scientists who pursue research in one of six areas: advanced scientific computing research, biological and environmental research, basic energy sciences, fusion energy sciences, high-energy physics and nuclear physics. The mission of the DOE Office of Science is to “deliver the scientific discoveries and major scientific tools to transform our understanding of nature and advance the energy, economic, and national security of the United States,” according to its website. The DOE Office of Science is the leading U.S. federal agency that funds scientific research on energy.

“This is a great honor,” says Sharifzadeh. “I am excited that we will have the resources to really focus on these fundamental studies and hopefully have a real impact in the field.”

Sharifzadeh came to Boston University in 2014 as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and materials science and engineering. She was selected as a Hariri Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. She currently leads a research group in computational materials science.

Before starting her BU career, Sharifzadeh was a Project Scientist and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Molecular Foundry of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, from 2009 to 2014. She holds a PhD degree from Princeton University in 2009.