Organic electronic devices

Measurement Equipment built at UNSW for UQ’s polymer solar cell program, allowing electrical studies of conducting polymers (coated on glass slide at center).

Together with researchers at the Universities of Queensland and Wollongong we were awarded $0.5M in LIEF funding to establish an organic (carbon-based) device fabrication facility in the School of Physics at UNSW. Organic polymers or plastics are generally accepted to be very poor conductors of electricity — in fact, they’re almost always considered insulators. In the late 1970s, three scientists demonstrated that polymers can however be made conductive by manipulating their chemical structure. This groundbreaking work earned these researchers, one of them a physicist, the Nobel prize in Chemistry for 2000. Conducting polymers show enormous potential for device applications and have many advantages compared to inorganic semiconductors such as silicon. They are lighter, more rugged, chemically versatile, easier and most importantly cheaper to produce.

Measurement equipment built at UNSW was used for the University of Queensland’s polymer solar cell program, allowing electrical studies of conducting polymers. Although only started in mid-2002, the group is rapidly gaining momentum. We measured our first conducting polymer (MEH-PPV) film that had been recently developed for photovoltaic use by Paul Meredith’s group at the University of Queensland (see photo). Our new fabrication facilities at UNSW are due to come online in 2003 with the addition of two new projects: Dr Adam Micolich received an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship to develop organic nanoelectronic devices, while Richard Newbury and Neil Kemp received FRGP support to develop high-efficiency solar cells using conducting polymer/C60 blends.

Adam Micolich, Mike Gal, Rob Bursill, and Alex Hamilton




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