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Polymer Chemistry Innovations has appointed a new Director of Technology. Dr. Linda Shekhawat has a PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute where she studied polymer synthesis and nanotechnology, preparing polymer stabilized magentic nanoparticles and well-defined magnetic nanoparticles prepared in polymer nano-templates. While working at Intel, she was a member of that company's nanotechnology team.
Dr. Shekhawat comes to PCI after serving as a Senior Materials Engineer with Intel Corporation where she was responsible for materials integration of future packaging technology, a member of the company's nanotechnology team and the manager of the polymer laboratory that worked on next generation materials.
Prior to taking her position with Intel, Dr. Shekhawat was busy earning an advanced degree and completing additional post doctoral studies. She received her Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in 2002 after studying several topics under the direction of Professor Judy Riffle. Her projects included the development of novel advanced structural adhesives, synthesis of polymers via free radical and condensation mechanisms, and preparation of biocompatible polymers as surface stabilizers for magnetic nanoparticles. The polymer stabilized magnetic nanoparticles were designed for use as magnetic field guided drug delivery systems so that therapeutics can be taken directly to their target tumor and avoid systemic effects.
Post doctoral studies at the University of Western Australia were supported by a National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship Program Grant and an Australian Research Council Grant. Dr. Shekhawat continued her nanotechnology research, synthesizing well-defined magnetic nanoparticles prepared in polymer nano-templates. Upon returning to the United States and prior to taking the position at Intel Corporation, she had the opportunity to work on polymeric technologies applicable to proton exchange fuel cell membranes with Professor James McGrath at Virginia Tech.
At PCI, Dr. Shekhawat looks forward to combining her previous experiences with the knowledge base developed by the company and applying this expertise to meeting the needs of existing customers and responding to inquiries from potential new customers. "When I learned about the position at PCI, I jumped at the chance to be more directly involved in R&D efforts and polymer chemistry that result in real world solutions," she says.
Dr. Shekhawat has wasted no time getting involved in new projects. She has already submitted a grant proposal to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for lithium ion polymer batteries based on PCI's Aquazol® (poly-2-ethyloxazoline) technology. It is anticipated that the chemical and physical properties of the Aquazol®-based copolymers, when incorporated with surface modified nanoparticles, will result in the first easily processable solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) with room temperature conductivity greater than that of currently available systems.
This project will expand the company's efforts in the renewable energy materials area. PCI has already developed technology to manufacture AB/PBI (polybenzylimidizole) for use in low temperature proton-conducting fuel cell membranes. That work was aimed at producing advanced membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. PCI partnered with Cabot, Motorola and others in this NIST ATP funded program.
The grant proposal by Dr. Shekhawat is just one example of what she plans for the future at PCI. "We will be taking a two-pronged approach: pursuing independent projects based
on novel chemistry with potential commercial value and developing technology to address customer needs."
Company president Dr. Bronco Gordon is very pleased with the decision to bring Dr. Shekhawat on board. "Linda will be a true asset to PCI. With her combined expertise in nanotechnology and polymeric materials, she will be able to significantly extend and advance our capabilities in new product development as well as dramatically increase our ability to better serve our customers."
About Polymer Chemistry Innovations
Polymer Chemistry Innovations, Inc. is a specialty and custom polymer manufacturer with research, pilot plant, semi-works and bulk manufacturing facilities in Tucson, AZ and Houston, TX. Founded in 1990, PCI provides innovative manufacturing solutions to the chemical industry with a focus on taking research concepts into commercially viable production.
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Cynthia A. Challener
Director, Sales & Marketing
Polymer Chemistry Innovations
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