The organic molecules and polymers used to build organic solar cells and thin-film transistors prove difficult to image by existing methods as a consequence of their delicate nature. To improve our ability to work with such samples (and indeed, a wide range of other easily damaged materials), a new instrument has been developed known as a scanning helium microscope or SHeM. Projects related to the SHeM include the actual construction and operation of the instrument, theoretical investigations into helium contrast mechanisms, and research into new neutral atom detection technologies.
Organic Solar Cells
A major theme of the COE is the development of new sustainable low cost energy technologies based on organic solar cells, devices that offer the tantalising prospect of being able to be printed at low cost over large areas. The COE has developed new "solar paint" technology that allows organic solar cells to be fabricated from water-based paints. The projects in this theme extend from fundamental projects developing new material and molecular computational models to applied projects fabricating large scale printed prototypes.
Organic Thin Film Transistors and Devices
This theme is focussed on the development of organic thin film transistors for application as sensors and electronic devices/circuits. The COE has developed a new sensor platform based on organic thin film transistors that can be used to readily integrate other sensing molecules to produce an electronic device capable of amplifying weak signals. Projects in this theme range from developing sensors for explosives to integrating biomolecules such as enzymes for sensing targets such as glucose.
Organic Photonic Devices
This theme is aimed at developing printable organic electronic technology that can integrate with optical fibre networks. Projects in this theme include the development low band gap detectors for optical power monitoring.