Daniel is from Orocovis, a small town near the geographical center of Puerto Rico. At the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) Daniel graduated from Chemical Engineering, as Magna Cum Laude, with a minor in Environmental Engineering.
While in college, Daniel conducted a variety of research in areas including phytoremediation, optimization of catalyst nanostructures and mechanical characterization of block copolymers. In his senior year he did an NSF REU at Georgia Institute of Technology, mentored by Dr. Elsa Reichmanis, aimed at developing a facile method to optimize organic field effect transistors based on poly(3-hexylthiophene). He enjoyed this experience so much that he immediately realized that he wanted to continue research in organic electronics and polymer science.
During his graduate studies, Daniel has received a 2011 Northeast Alliance Fellowship, and a 2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In regards to the latter, Daniel expressed, “My ambition is to serve as a role model to engage the community working towards improvements in renewable energy. The NSF Graduate Fellowship is a great honor that will allow me to follow my curiosity and develop my independence as a researcher, while giving me greater freedom to participate in national conferences, as well as outreach and mentoring activities, in order to inspire diverse populations of students in the community to be the next generation of scientists.”
When asked about coming to UMass, Daniel comments, “I have always enjoyed talking about research with others; I envisioned a place where these conversations are promoted within an academically diverse group of scientists to efficiently deliver solutions to our current issues.When I visited the facilities, it was obvious that PSE was that kind of environment. I could see that the department interfaced my favorite subjects: physics, chemistry and engineering. My visit revealed an amicable place that possessed state of the art research facilities to freely collaborate and share ideas with an exceptional group of faculty and students.”
Daniel’s current research concentrates on solution state assembly of building blocks for PV devices. Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) crystallizes into nanofibers, by a reduction in solvent quality. He focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of these assembly processes, the extension to electron acceptor-donor nanowires, and the hierarchical assembly of these building blocks into larger structures for electronic devices.
“In the future I plan to pursue a postdoctoral position that helps me to reach my ultimate goal of becoming a faculty member. I will work to motivate students to pursue higher educational levels, as I believe education provides a way to solve almost any problem.”