Hitting a double: Cahoon scores two major science honors

James Cahoon (photo by Lars Sahl)

James Cahoon (photo by Lars Sahl)

Chemist James F. Cahoon is among 126 scholars to receive the 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships go to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders.

This is the second major award given to early-career scientists that Cahoon has received in recent months. In October, he was awarded a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, which invests in future leaders who have the freedom to take risks, explore new frontiers in their fields of study and follow uncharted paths that can lead to groundbreaking discoveries.

“These fellowships provide a well-deserved recognition of Jim’s accomplishments and will help him continue his active research program,” said Valerie Ashby, professor and chair of the chemistry department. “I have no doubt that his research efforts will be the source of major breakthroughs in the field of semiconductor nanomaterials and their exciting applications.”

Cahoon, an assistant professor of chemistry, focuses his research on the design of materials at the nanoscale — a size regime hundreds of times smaller than the width of a human hair. His group uses chemistry to control the shape of materials labeled semiconductors. By controlling the shape of semiconductors at the nanoscale, his group is expected to yield a new strategy for developing new technologies, ranging from solar cells and optical circuits to thermoelectric systems.

UNC has had 45 Sloan and six Packard recipients since the awards were established, highlighting Carolina’s strength as an innovation and research hub.