Lehigh University professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Elsa Reichmanis has been selected by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers as the recipient of its 2022 John M. Prausnitz AIChE Lecturer Award.
According to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers website, the John M. Prausnitz AIChE Lecturer Award invites a notable member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to give a lecture on their specialized field of chemical engineering. The lecture is presented in a special session at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting and its content is considered for inclusion in their publication.
The award was renamed in 2016 to honor John M. Prausnitz, an American Institute of Chemical Engineers fellow and a member for over 70 years.
The honor is granted to influential members of the institute, and nominees are chosen by a selection committee based on a list of criteria. Cody Hirashima, an engineering specialist at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, was a non-voting member of the selection committee.
“We review each nomination packet, which includes nominee background information, numerous supporting letters, notable qualifications and a brief award citation,” Hirashima said. “The nominees are then discussed at length by the committee until a consensus selection is made of an individual who best embodies the selection criteria.”
Hirashima said this year, the committee recognized Reichmanis for “pioneering contributions to the design and development of organic materials and processes for advanced electronics and photonics, and service to the chemical community.”
Reichmanis said the accomplishments that led her to this award are a combination of what she has done at Lehigh and her previous work.
Prior to joining the Lehigh community, Reichmanis worked at Bell Labs, a research and development facility in New Jersey.
“At Bell Labs, I worked in electronic materials broadly but had also developed some polymer and plastic technologies,” Reichmanis said. “These technologies could be used in silicon integrated circuit manufacturing to make device structures smaller, creating more memory and a faster transfer of information.”
In the fall of 2022, Reichmanis came to Lehigh as the Carl R. Anderson endowed chair in chemical and biomolecular engineering. At Lehigh, she has continued to research the development of polymer-based electronic devices and interfaces that involve ion and electron transfer. Reichmanis said these processes could improve energy storage if used in advanced battery electrodes.
In addition to her research, Reichmanis said she has mentored her students, young scientists and engineers on campus.
Steven McIntosh, Lehigh’s chemical and biochemical engineering department chair, said Reichmanis has been a positive influence on Lehigh’s campus.
“(Reichmanis) rapidly established herself as a research leader on campus, a mentor to faculty and students, and a dedicated member of the faculty who works tirelessly for the benefit of all,” McIntosh said. “She represents the best of what it means to be a professor at Lehigh.”
Reichmanis will deliver her John M. Prausnitz AIChE Institute Lecture at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in November.
At the lecture, Reichmanis said she plans to discuss her early work in facilitating advanced circuit manufacturing, while emphasizing the limitations of silicon and the opportunities in polymer-based materials. She said she also hopes to highlight the accomplishments of her collaborators.
“It is really through (her collaborators) that I have been able to do what I’ve done,” Reichmanis said. “There is a lot of value in having interdisciplinary collaborations and approaches to solving problems.”