Structural Nanoprobes of Organic Semiconductor Devices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics


Organic semiconductors are an exciting new class of material that combine the electronic properties traditionally only associated with inorganic materials, with the mechanical properties and processibility of polymers (plastics) and small organic molecules. In particular, the ability to process active semiconductor layers through solution processing has led to the commercialisation of organic light-emitting diode-based displays. Commercial potential has also been demonstrated by organic transistors and organic solar cells, where both technologies have the advantage of low-cost processing and the ability to be incorporated into flexible architectures.However, as organic semiconductors are a relatively new class of material, there are still many fundamental questions governing key processes that affect device performance. For example, organic semiconductor films are typically less ordered than their inorganic counterparts and the influence of domain structure, molecular orientation and molecular alignment on charge transport is not fully understood. Additionally, for organic solar cells, where typically two different materials are blended together to form efficient networks for charge separation and transport, the influence of material mixing on charge separation and transport are still being discovered.Since organic semiconductors have vastly different properties compared to inorganic semiconductors, the development and application of new techniques to probe the properties of this new class of material is required. This research programme will adapt state-of-the-art microscopes and utilize advanced X-ray analytical techniques to probe structure and device action in organic devices with unprecedented precision and clarity. This further understanding of device operation will allow for the identification of physical processes that limit device performance and hence promote future device optimisation.


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Description This EPSRC Advanced Fellowship for Dr Chris McNeill allowed him to develop a series of advanced structural probes, including synchrotron-based techniques, for characterisation of the microstructure of polymer electronics devices, particularly transistors and solar cells. Combined with device physics studies, this work has furthered our understanding of charge transport and photophysics relevant to improving device performance.
Exploitation Route The work will inform the optimisation of practical organic electronic devices, and provides structural probes that are of interest to researchers in other fields.
Sectors Electronics,Energy

Description The findings have assisted in the optimisation of polymer solar cells and transistors, accelerating their commercial application.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Electronics,Energy
Impact Types Economic