Ahmed El-Shafei

Ahmed El-Shafei

Professor, TECS
Polymer and Color Chemistry Program Director

Polymer and Color Chemistry
Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science

Wilson College Directory

About Ahmed El-Shafei

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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

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

Academic Degrees

  • Co-Major Ph.D., Chemistry and Fiber and Polymer Science, North Carolina State University, 2002
  • M.Sc., Organic Chemistry Mansoura University, Mansoura, 1994
  • B.Sc., Chemistry with honors, Mansoura University, 1989

Publications

Facile synthesis of a novel, highly effective, more sustainable and cost-effective cationic bleach activator for cotton: N-[4-(N,N,N)-triethylammoniumchloride-butyryl] caprolactam
Altay, P., Hauser, P. J., Gursoy, N. C., & El-Shafei, A. (2019), CELLULOSE, 26(4), 2849–2860. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-018-02224-9
Influence of UV stabilizers on the weathering of PETG and PCTT films
Arangdad, K., Yildirim, E., Detwiler, A., Cleven, C. D., Burk, C., Shamey, R., … El-Shafei, A. (2019), JOURNAL OF APPLIED POLYMER SCIENCE. https://doi.org/10.1002/app.48198
Low-cost Schiff bases chromophores as efficient co-sensitizers for MH-13 in dye-sensitized solar cells
Abdel-Shakour, M., El-Said, W. A., Abdellah, I. M., Su, R., & El-Shafei, A. (2019), JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE-MATERIALS IN ELECTRONICS, 30(5), 5081–5091. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10854-019-00806-2
Molecular and excited state properties of photostable anthraquinone blue dyes for hydrophobic fibers
Ding, Y., Mehraban, N., Szymczyk, M., Parrillo-Chapman, L., El-Shafei, A., & Freeman, H. S. (2019), JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR STRUCTURE, 1181, 109–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molstruc.2018.12.070
Molecular engineering and investigation of new efficient photosensitizers/co-sensitizers based on bulky donor enriched with EDOT for DSSCs
Abdellaha, I. M., Koraiem, A. I., & El-Shafei, A. (2019), DYES AND PIGMENTS, 164, 244–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dyepig.2019.01.035
Simple diphenylamine based D-pi-A type sensitizers/co-sensitizers for DSSCs: a comprehensive study on the impact of anchoring groups
Kesavan, R., Abdellah, I. M., Singh, S. P., El-Shafei, A., & Adhikari, A. V. (2019), PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 21(20), 10603–10613. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9cp01032g
Structure-property relationship of novel monosubstituted Ru (II) complexes for high photocurrent and high efficiency DSSCs: Influence of donor versus acceptor ancillary ligand on DSSCs performance
Abdellah, I. M., Koraiem, A. I., & El-Shafei, A. (2019), SOLAR ENERGY, 177, 642–651. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2018.11.047
Structure-property relationships: "Double-tail versus double-flap" ruthenium complex structures for high efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells
Su, R., Ashraf, S., & El-Shafei, A. (2019), SOLAR ENERGY, 177, 724–736. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2018.11.038
Synthesis, optical characterization, and TD-DFT studies of novel mero/bis-mero cyanine dyes based on N-bridgehead heterocycles
Koraiem, A. I., Abdellah, I. M., El-Shafei, A., Abdel-Latif, F. F., & Abd El-Aal, R. M. (2019), CANADIAN JOURNAL OF CHEMISTRY, 97(3), 219–226. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjc-2018-0325
An Efficient Aniline-Based Co-Sensitizer for High Performance N3-Sensitized Solar Cells
Naik, P., Abdellah, I. M., Abdel-Shakour, M., Acharaya, M., Pilicode, N., El-Shafei, A., & Adhikari, A. V. (2018), CHEMISTRYSELECT, 3(43), 12297–12302. https://doi.org/10.1002/slct.201802232

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Grants

Sustainable Dyeing and Finishing of Egyptian andAmerican Cotton with at Least 90% Saving in Energy, 90% Saving in Water While Using Zero Salt, Zero Alkali and Producing Zero Effluent
US Agency for International Development (USAID)(7/01/19 - 8/31/20)
Sustainable Dyeing of Different Textile Substrates with at Least 95% Saving in Energy, 95% Saving in Water, Zero Alkali, Zero Salt and No Effluent
Walmart Foundation(1/01/17 - 12/31/19)
Hydrophobic Fabrics Applications in Advanced Thermal Processing
Ohio State University Research Foundation(6/01/16 - 3/31/18)
Wrinkle Free Cotton Without the Use of Formaldehyde-Containing Chemicals or Generation/Release of Formaldehyde
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/15 - 12/31/16)
Ultra-Violet Curable Process Chemistry for Functional Coatings on Textiles
Nike, Inc.(1/01/14 - 12/31/15)
Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Graft Polymerization of Quats onto Cotton for Enhancing Color Yield and Furnishing Wrinkle-free Fabric
Cotton, Inc.(10/01/12 - 12/31/12)
3D Textile Architecture for Tissue Engineering Scaffolds
NCSU National Textile Center Program(5/01/10 - 4/30/12)
Novel Polymerizable Bifunctional Flame Retardants
NCSU National Textile Center Program(5/01/10 - 4/30/12)
Plasma Treatment of Cotton Fabrics for Sustainable Finishing Applications
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/11 - 12/31/12)
Magenta Dyes for Ink-Jet Technology
Everlight Chemical Industrial Corporation(11/30/-1 - 9/17/10)

Additional Information

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