This grant will ensure the involvement of underprivileged and underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

Justyna Widera

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $246,645 in grant funding to Justyna Widera, Ph.D.Adelphi University associate professor of chemistry who was named principal investigator for the three year project entitled, “IRES: International Collaboration on Fabrication and Characterization of CdX(X=S,Se) Based Nanohybrids for Photovoltaic and Photocatalytic Applications.” This U.S.-Polish International Research Experience for Students (IRES) project provides eight-weeks of photochemistry and nanotechnology research for 12 U.S. students at Warsaw University, Poland. This grant will ensure the involvement of underprivileged and underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. The award started on June 1, 2016.

Prior to their internships in Poland, students will spend the academic year working in a research laboratory at Adelphi University to develop essential technical skills relevant to the research. This experience will enhance the professional training and education of the undergraduate students by exposing them to modern instrumentation, advanced nanotechnology research and its practical application. IRES students will develop global competencies through experiential education in an international environment and be inspired to become agents of change in today’s world.

Dr. Widera, who has long been committed to green energy, has devoted a significant portion of her research career to studying and testing materials that will lead to more efficient solar cells. “Increasing awareness of environmental issues has led to interest in renewable energy sources and waste materials recycling,” said Justyna Widera, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at Adelphi University. “This collaborative project between Adelphi University and Warsaw University will address these topics by focusing research on the development of novel, smart materials for alternative energy sources and new methods of water purification using solar energy.”

The project funded by NSF will spur the growth of future U.S. workers who can understand and solve important environmental issues while increasing their ability to partner with international researchers. The US-Polish team expects to gain better knowledge of the basic working principles of these nanohybrid materials in order to increase their effectiveness and construct high efficiency solar cells and photocatalytic devices for environmental remediation. Successful completion of the proposed research would suggest solutions of some environmental issues, such as: hazardous waste treatment and low cost, high efficiency, alternative energy sources.

Dr. Widera specializes in nanotechnology, conducting polymers, sol-gels, quantum dots, sensors and molecular machines. She earned her Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Warsaw, Poland. She joined the faculty at Adelphi in 2005.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports research, innovation and discovery that provides the foundation for economic growth in this country. By advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, our nation can develop the knowledge and cutting edge technologies needed to address the challenges we face today and will face in the future.

To learn more about the project, visit For more information about Adelphi’s chemistry department, visit


For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
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