Dr. Ahmed El-Shafei

Professor, TECS

Email : ahmed_el-shafei@ncsu.edu
Phone : 919-515-6548
Address : College of Textiles - Room 3119

Dr. Ahmed El-Shafei post image

About

Dr. El-Shafei earned his B.Sc. in Chemistry with honors and M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry both from Mansoura University, Egypt.  He joined NC State in August 1998 and earned his Co-Major Ph.D. in Chemistry and Fiber and Polymer Science in December 2002.

Following his graduation from NC State, he worked as a Post-Doctorate Research Associate and Research Assistant Professor on different projects that span molecular modeling, synthesis, and characterization of dyes and pigments; synthesis, characterization and applications of cationic bleach activators for cotton bleaching; molecular modeling and synthesis of functional dyes for photodynamic therapy; surface chemistry modifications of fibers using non-thermal high-density atmospheric plasma; and X-ray single crystal structure analysis of dyes and pigments..

Dr. El-Shafei worked as a Teaching Assistant and Assistant Lecturer from 1989 until 1997 and a lecturer from 2005-2006 in the Chemistry Department at Mansoura University, Egypt where he taught organic and polymer chemistry, photochemistry, dye synthesis, dyeing and finishing, physical organic chemistry, mechanism of organic reactions, organic reactions and orbital symmetry (pericyclic reactions).

Research

Research Paradigms in El-Shafei’s Group can be divided into five main thrusts:

  1. Dye-sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs)In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Plants disasters in Japan in March 2011 coupled with the problems associated with nuclear waste storage and radiation leaks, the world’s needs for clean and safe energy is growing more rapidly than ever before.Solar energy is one of the cleanest and most renewable energy sources we receive on the planet Earth.  Yet, we are not taking full advantage of this abundant natural gift. Hence, harnessing the solar energy should be at the forefront of Research and Developments for clean and renewable energy sources in the USA.  It has been estimated that only 5 minutes of solar irradiation onto the surface of the planet Earth is equivalent to the total energy consumption by humans in one year. Compared to silicon solar cell technology, which is expensive due to its manufacturing cost, Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) have been attracting more academic and commercial interests because of their superior performance under low lighting conditions, low cost, and independence of incident light angle.  For example, DSSCs work from sunrise until sunset even in a rainy and/or cloudy day more efficiently than silicon PV. They also work more efficiently in ambient light, which makes them a unique class of photovoltaic devices.The principle components of DSCCs, which were invented by Michael Graetzel in 1991, are a sensitizer (a dye or a pigment), an electrolyte (I-/I3-), and a semiconductor (TiO2) in the nanocrystalline form. The sensitizer is adsorbed on the nanocrystalline TiO2 and is in contact with the electrolyte as shown in Figure 1.  The solar-to-electric conversion in DSSCs is mainly dependent on the rate of electron injection from the sensitizer into the semiconductor, which is controlled by the location of the excited state of the dye with respect to the edge of TiO2 conduction band (CB), and the location of the ground state of the sensitizer with respect to the redox potential of the electrolyte.  When the cell is exposed to a light source, electrons are excited from the ground state of the sensitizer to its excited state, and depending on the excited state life time and energetic of those excitons, electron injection into the CB of TiO2 may take place.Figure 1: Schematic representation of the operation and various components of dye-sensitized nanocrystalline semiconductor solar cell.

    El-Shafei’s group focuses on the molecular modeling, synthesis and photophysics of novel panchromatic sensitizers for highly efficient solid and flexible DSSCs, to advance the science of DSSCs by enhancing the understanding of the interrelationship among molecular structures, charge recombinations and electron injections at the interfaces.

    In our laboratory, DSSCs devices are assembled and characterized using incident-photon-to-current efficiency (IPCE) conversion and total solar-to-electric conversion under the illumination of simulated AM1.5 solar light (100mW/cm2).

    Students working in El-Shafei’s group would have the opportunity to learn, gain experience and build unique skills in one or more of the following areas and techniques:

    • Molecular modeling, nanostructure, and synthesis of novel sensitizers for DSSCs
    • Molecular modeling calculations employed span pure and hybrid DFT, TD-DFT, long range corrected TD-DFT, molecular dynamics (MD), and Ab-Initio-MD.
    • DSSCs fabrications and characterizations
    • Excited state photophysics
    • Chemistry of thermochromic / photochromic applications.
    • X-ray single crystal structure analysis of dyes and pigments, and metal-complex dyes
    • Chemistry, photophysics and photostability of dyes, pigments, and fibers
  2. Medicinal ChemistryMolecular modeling (hybrid DFT, TD-DFT, long range corrected TD-DFT, molecular dynamics (MD), Ab-Initio-MD, docking), synthesis and characterizations of porphyrins and phthalocyanines for photodynamic therapy
  3. Surface Chemistry ModificationsEl-Shafei’s research thrust in this paradigm aims at:
    • Molecular engineering, synthesis and flammability mechanisms of novel halogen-free flame retardants chemistry and their graft polymerization using plasma or UV treatment on different polymeric substrates.
    • Design, synthesis, and UV treatment/plasma-induced graft polymerization of nanolayers of novel water/oil repellent and antimicrobial monomers on polymeric substrates for different applications including fuel filtration/separation, medical and military applications.
  4. Photophysics, thermal and photodegradation mechanisms of polymers, dyes, fibers and UV absorbers
  5. Molecular Modeling (DFT, long range corrected DFT, molecular dynamics (MD), and Ab-Initio-MD) of:
  • Thermodynamics, kinetics and electronic properties of dyes and polymers
  • Intra/intermolecular interactions in dyes, polymers and colored polymeric materials and how these interactions influence the performance properties (structure-property relationships)
  • Thermolysis and photodegradation mechanisms of dyes, polymers, pigments, in presence and absence of additives

Research Group Members

View Dr. El-Shafei’s research group members .

Academic Degrees

Co-Major Ph.D., Chemistry and Fiber and Polymer Science, North Carolina State University, December 2002

M.Sc., Organic Chemistry, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt, 1994

B.Sc., Chemistry with honors, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt, 1989

Recent Publications

  1. Brian Edwards, Stacy Rudolf, Peter J. Hauser, and Ahmed El-Shafei (2015). Preparation, Polymerization and Performance Evaluation of Halogen-Free Radiation Curable Flame Retardant Monomers for Cotton Substrates. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 54 (2), 577-584, DOI: 10.1021/ie502915t .
  2. Hammad Cheema, Ashraful Islam, Liyuan Han, Ahmed El-Shafei (2015). Monodentate pyrazole as a replacement of labile NCS for Ru (II) photosensitizers: Minimum electron injection free energy for dye-sensitized solar cells. Dyes and Pigments, doi:10.1016/j.dyepig.2015.04.005. .
  3. Hua Dong, Zhaoxin Wu, Ahmed El-Shafei, Bin Xia, Jun Xi, Bo Jiao, Shuya Ning and Xun Hou (2015). Ag-encapsulated Au plasmonic nanorods for enhanced Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell performance. Journal of Material Chemistry A, DOI: 10.1039/C4TA05154H. .
  4. Ahmed Fadda, Rasha El-Mekawy and Ahmed El-Shafei (2015). Synthesis, antiviral, cytotoxicity and antitumor evaluations of A4 type of porphyrin derivatives. Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines, 19, 1-16, ,DOI: 10.1142/S1088424615500480 .
  5. Ahmed El-Shafei, Hany Helmy, Amsarani Ramamoorthy and Peter Hauser (2015). Nanolayer Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Graft Polymerization of Durable Repellent Finishes on Cotton. Journal of Coatings Technology and Research, DOI: 10.1007/s11998-015-9665-4. .

NC State Library Scholarly Publications List

Graduate Projects

Ph.D. Projects

Maqbool Hussain

August 2010-present

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Tuning the ground and excited states of novel sensitizers for efficient electron injection in dye solar cells.

Hammad Cheema

August 2011-present

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Molecular design and synthesis of novel panchromatic sensitizers for dye solar cells.

Brian Edwards

August 2010-present

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Novel Polymerizable Bifunctional Flame Retardants.

Rachel Davis

August 2010-present

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Plasma-induced graft polymerization of antimicrobial agents on Cotton.

Maryam Mazloompour

January 2009-present

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Plasma-induced graft polymerization of fluorocarbons and antimicrobial agents for fuel separation and medical applications.

Priyadarshini Malshe

January 2010-present

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Multi-functional Textiles for Military Applications.

Former Research Projects:

Ph.D. Projects

Mohamad Widodo

January 2009-August 2011

Ph.D. Program: Fiber and Polymer Science Program

Project: Plasma Surface Modification of Polyaramid Fibers for Protective Clothing.

Masters Projects

Hammad Cheema

August 2009-May 2011

Master Program: Textile Chemistry

Project: Synthesis, Characterization and Evaluation of Novel Halogen-Free Bi-Functional Flame Retardant Monomers.

Aasim Atiq

August 2009-May 2011

Master Program: Textile Chemistry

Project: Influence of isomerization on electron injection and total solar-to-electric efficiency in dye solar cells.

Brian Edwards

August 2008-May 2010

Master Program: Textile Chemistry

Project: Synthesis, Characterization, and Evaluation of Novel Flame Retardant Monomers for Plasma-Induced Graft Polymerization.

Rachel Davis

August 2008-May 2010

Master Program: Textile Chemistry

Project: Durable Nanolayer Graft Polymerization of Textile Finishes: Waterproof and Antimicrobial Breathable Fabrics Via Plasma Treatment for Single Sided Treatments.

Undergraduate Projects

Andrew Peacock

May 2008-December 2008

B.S. Program: Polymer and Color Chemistry

Project: Molecular Modeling, Synthesis, and Characterization of Novel Symmetrical Bidentate Photosensitizers for Solar Cells


 
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