alex photo

  • UCLA - Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, 2010
  • USF - B.S. Chemistry
  • Assistant Professor
  •   aayzner@ucsc.edu
  • Phone: 831-459-5878
  • Division: Physical & Biological Sciences
  • Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • About Alex

    As a teenager, I moved from Russia to the San Francisco Bay Area and soon after enrolled as a chemistry major at the University of San Francisco. Working in the physical/inorganic lab under the direction of Jeff Curtis, I studied the effect of ligand substitution on solution-phase electron transfer between octahedral ruthenium complexes using temperature-dependent F19 NMR line broadening. The time spent in the Curtis group began my fascination with the electron transfer reaction. As a senior, I had the pleasure and fortune of taking Gruhn’s polymer chemistry class. Exposure to conducting polymers concomitant with my nascent interest in physical chemistry led me to graduate study in Ben Schwartz’s group in the UCLA Chemistry department.

    My PhD work centered on understanding motion of charges and neutral electronic excited states in organic photovoltaics based on conjugated polymer / fullerene heterojunctions, with particular emphasis on the role of the fullerene electron acceptor. My time in the Schwartz group added to my interest in the physical chemistry of electron transfer and started a new fascination with excitonic energy transfer in molecular semiconductors.

    After defending my dissertation, I started a postdoc position under Zhenan Bao in the Chemical Engineering department at Stanford University and Mike Toney in the Materials Science division of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. Instead of optical spectroscopy and charge transport measurements, I focused on X-ray scattering and X-ray spectroscopy of organic semiconductor thin films and heterointerfaces.

    In the Summer of 2014, I started my Assistant Professor appointment in the Chemistry department of UC Santa Cruz. My group is currently working on furthering the understanding of light harvesting in conjugated molecular semiconductor assemblies using a combination of spectroscopic, charge transport and photon scattering measurements.