Elsa Reichmanis, Professor and Carl Robert Anderson Chair in Chemical Engineering at Lehigh University, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a highly prestigious honor recognizing her accomplishments as an academic inventor.

Reichmanis is an internationally recognized expert in the field of microlithography and has made wide-ranging contributions in the design and development of polymer/organic materials and processes for advanced electronics and photonics. Her career at AT&T Bell Laboratories (Bell Labs) spanned four decades and resulted in approximately 20 U.S. patents for innovations that played key roles in the personal computer revolution.

Today, the National Academy of Engineering member continues her research at the interface of chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, where she joined the faculty in September 2020. Previously, she was Pete Silas Chair in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her work spans from fundamental concepts to technology development and implementation.

According to the NAI, Reichmanis has “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.” 

“Dr. Reichmanis is a successful researcher who demonstrates the traits of the most successful inventors,” says Kathryn Uhrich, dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, and an NAI Fellow. “She is innovative and seeks to make the world a better place.” 

Most recently, Reichmanis’ research has focused on improving methods of forming polymer films (such as those used in plastic electronics), which will help drive the commercialization of flexible electronics, photovoltaics, sensors, and biomedical devices. She is also exploring battery electrode materials technologies that will advance the future of low-cost, high-capacity, and environmentally responsible energy-storage solutions.

The 2020 class of NAI Fellows, announced on December 8, 2020, comprises 175 academic inventors from research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide. They collectively hold over 4,700 issued U.S. patents. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including biomedical engineering, computer engineering, materials science, and physics.

When added to fellows elected in previous years, Reichmanis joins Israel E. Wachs, Arup K. SenGupta, Nelson Tansu, and Mooi Choo Chuah as the fifth Rossin College faculty member to achieve this distinction.

Says Reichmanis: “To be elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors is truly an honor. This is a group of inventors who have made significant contributions that have benefited our society. It is humbling to be part of this outstanding group.”

The class of Fellows will be inducted at the 2021 Fellows Induction Ceremony at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors this June in Tampa, Florida.

Reichmanis’ efforts have advanced our understanding of how chemical structure affects materials function at the molecular level to enable advanced VLSI (very large-scale integration) manufacturing, according to Zhenan Bao, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. Her “chemistry and materials engineering inventions have led to advanced resist materials that are key to driving Moore’s law forward for the electronics industry. Her chemistry-based advances coupled with materials engineering are of paramount importance to addressing global inflections to build an abundant and cleaner future for humanity.”

Over her career, Reichmanis has received several awards for her work, including the 2018 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Margaret H. Rousseau Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by a Woman Chemical Engineer. She is also a Fellow of AIChE, the American Chemical Society, the Materials Research Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. She holds PhD and BS degrees in chemistry from Syracuse University.

More information on Reichmanis’ research areas, patents, and achievements is available on the Rossin College’s website.

Elsa Reichmanis

Chemical engineering professor Elsa Reichmanis has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).