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ChBE graduate student Leah Spangler combines leadership and research excellence.

At the recently held graduate appreciation dinner on April 13, 2016, chemical engineering graduate student Ms Leah Spangler won the Graduate Life Leadership Award given by the Office of Graduate Studies at Lehigh. This award recognizes a graduate student in good standing "who has shown exemplary commitment, leadership and service to the Lehigh graduate student community and whose efforts have made significant contribution to graduate student life."

In addition to this recognition, Leah, with coauthor Li Lu, recently published a paper entitled “Biomineralization of PbS and PbS–CdS core–shell nanocrystals and their application in quantum dot sensitized solar cells” in Journal of Materials Chemistry A. This work describes a novel environmentally friendly biomineralization approach to the synthesis of quantum confined functional nanocrystals (quantum dots) with demonstrated application in enhancing the efficiency of solar cells. Application in solar cells demands that the quantum dots are of both high crystalline quality and of controlled and uniform size below ~5 nm diameter. Leah’s unique contribution demonstrates, for the first time, that bacteria-mediated biomineralization is an effective route for the production of high quality, efficient, lead sulfide quantum dots and that a sequential biomineralization process can produce lead sulfide-cadmium sulfide core-shell particles that lead to even greater solar cell performance. This work was coauthored professors Steven McIntosh (ChBE), Bryan Berger(ChBE, BioE) and Christopher Kiely (ChBE, MSE).

Leah, a P.C. Rossin Doctoral Fellow in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh, is currently the President of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Association (ChEGA) and has played a leadership role in in organizing the first Graduate Research Symposium to be held on April 22, 2016. Through her exemplary dedication to both research and service, Leah is pushing the frontiers of biomineralization while simultaneously creating a stimulating and welcoming environment at Lehigh.

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