Chemistry and physics of conjugated coordination nanosheets and two-dimensional conjugated polymers

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The optoelectronic properties of conjugated polymers have improved to levels of performance that now enable industrial applications in large-area electronics, displays, bioelectronics and photovoltaics. However, the one-dimensional (1D) nature of charge transport along the backbone of a conventional conjugated polymer still imposes fundamental limits on the achievable charge carrier mobilities and electronic properties. In the proposed project we aim to develop a novel class of 2-dimensional (2D) conjugated polymers and coordination nanosheets (CONASHs), which have recently become synthetically accessible through coordination chemistry and promise to overcome the traditional limitations of 1D polymers. The aim of the proposed project is to investigate the fundamental chemistry and physics of these novel materials, in particular investigate the molecular structure - charge transport relationships, explore their fundamental, exotic physical transport properties and develop them as high performance materials for energy and electronic applications, in particular in thermoelectrics, energy storage, light-emission and chemical and biological sensors. The project will establish a close, interdisciplinary network between internationally leading chemistry and physics groups in this field (Nishihara - University of Tokyo, Sirringhaus -University of Cambridge, Feng - Technical University of Dresden, Zhu/Zhang - Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing).

Planned Impact

In contrast to other 2D materials such as graphene or metal chalcogenides coordination nanosheets can be grown in a controlled manner by a bottom-up chemical synthesis reacting metal ion precursors and organic molecules that progresses under mild conditions and gives access to a wide variety of chemical structures and porous geometric structures by combining different metal ions and organic ligands. This allows tailored design of materials for specific physical, chemical and mechanical properties. These materials exhibit very interesting physical and chemical properties, including redox, photo and catalytic functionality, and might even exhibit exotic physical properties, such as topological insulator behavior. The chemistry, physics and electronics of these materials is a rapidly expanding international research field and the future development of these materials would greatly benefit from a close international research collaboration that is the aim of this proposal. In the proposed research exchange we will advance the development of CONASHs and 2D polymers by bringing together leading international researchers from different disciplines across chemistry, physics and materials science. We see significant potential for creating a new functional materials platform with enhanced levels of device performance for a broad range of applications, including electronics, optoelectronics, energy storage, thermoelectrics as well as chemical and biological sensing.

While the focus of the network is primarily on academic collaboration all five senior investigators have extensive experience in collaborating with industry and in exploiting opportunities for transfering fundamental materials inventions to industry. Prof. Sirringhaus, for example, is cofounder and Chief Scientist of Plastic Logic/FlexEnable, a spin-off company commercialising flexible electronics, and cofounder of Eight 19, which is commercialising organic solar cell technology. The five senior investigators will continuously monitor and assess potential application opportunities for conjugated coordination nanosheets and 2D conjugated polymers and will take appropriate steps to protect arising intellectual property. For this the partners will enter into a collaboration agreement that will set out the terms for filing and exploitation of intellectual property generated within the network. After protection of the IP they will explore different commercialisation paths, including collaboration with industrial companies or the formation of spin-off companies. All four partners have effective technology transfer organisations, such as Cambridge Enterprise at the University of Cambridge, which will work together and follow best practice in commercialisation when such opportunities arise.

The most important impact from the project is however likely to be the training of a cohort of young scientific researchers who will learn to undertake interdisciplinary and collaborative science at the highest international level. Many of these young researchers will in due course lead their own research initiatives and will become proponents of an open science system that seeks to advance scientific knowledge effectively by making optimum use of complementary skills available in different countries and institutions and to share scientific knowledge widely for the benefit of mankind.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Identification of two-dimensional, conjugated metal organic framework as a promising material class for thermoelectric applications.
Exploitation Route Further optimisation of materials and improvement of performance is needed before exploitation opportunities can be considered.
Sectors Energy

 
Title Small research facility for thermoelectric characterisation 
Description With support from the grant we have maintained and optimized a measurement system for characterising thermoelectric materials that is part of the Henry Royce Institute @ Cambridge. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The optimized measurement protocols and methods that allow more accurate measurements of thermoelectric coefficients are being made available to all users of this facility. 
 
Description Collaboration with Chinese Academy of Sciences 
Organisation Chinese Academy of Sciences
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Evaluation of charge transport properties of novel organic semiconductors
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of materials
Impact Identification of promising materials targets for next generation materials
Start Year 2019
 
Description Technical University of Dresden 
Organisation Technical University of Dresden
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Evaluation of charge transport properties of two-dimensional metal organic frameworks
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of materials
Impact Identification of promising materials targets for next generation materials
Start Year 2019
 
Description University of Tokyo 
Organisation University of Tokyo
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Evaluation of materials provided by collaborators in Tokyo
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of 2-dimensional metal organif framework precursors
Impact Exchange of several visiting students between Tokyo and Cambridge
Start Year 2019
 
Description Two-day international workshop on chemistry and physics of two-dimensional metal organic frameworks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Two-day international workshop on chemistry and physics of two-dimensional metal organic frameworks held in Cambridge, attended by 30 researchers from UK, Japan and Germany
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Two-day international workshop on chemistry and physics of two-dimensional metal organic frameworks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Two-day international workshop on chemistry and physics of two-dimensional metal organic frameworks held in Tokyo, Japan, attended by researchers from Japan, UK and China
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019