Zhenan Bao ( 鲍哲楠; born 1970), Ph.D., is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University. She is known for her work developing technologies with organic field-effect transistors and organic semiconductors. She is one of the laureates of the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science.
Upon the completion of her Ph.D., she had an offer to join the University of California, Berkeley as a postdoc but instead joined the Materials Research department of Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. During that time, she was behind the development of the first all plastic transistor, or organic field-effect transistors which allows for its use in electronic paper. It was also during this time when Jan Schön produced a series of papers, two of which with Bao as one of the coauthors. Schön’s papers were ultimately retracted due to fraud. Bao was exonerated of any misconduct. She was named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff. She was named one of MIT Technology Review’s TR35 and C&EN 12 rising stars for her work with organic semiconductors.
In 2004, she returned to academia by joining the faculty at Stanford University where she is now focusing on studying organic semiconductor and carbon nanotubes using new fabrication methods. Recent work in the lab includes developing electronic skin and all-carbon solar cells.
She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering since 2016. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society and SPIE and serves on the advisory board for ACS Nano, Advanced Functional Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, Chemical Communications, Chemistry of Materials, Materials Today, Nanoscale, and NPG Asia Materials and the board of directors for the Materials Research Society and the Polymers Materials Science and Engineering division of the American Chemical Society. She was also awarded the ACS Cope Scholar Award in 2011.
She was awarded the Beilby Medal and Prize in 2009.
She was enrolled at Nanjing University before transferring directly into her Ph.D. in Chemistry from The University of Chicago. She was one of the early students of Luping Yu and did initial work on liquid-crystalline polymers.
Bao immigrated to the United States from China in 1990. Both of her parents were professors at Nanjing University where she initially learned about polymer chemistry in her mother’s lab. One of her major mentors was Elsa Reichmanis who was the department director at Bell Labs. She is married and has two children.