In this doctoral dissertation enhancement project, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) will be used to examine flurorophillic self assembly as a means to control the morphology of thin films that are grown for use in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and organic photovoltaics (OPVs). The doctoral student, Hayden Black, will combine his expertise in synthetic polymer chemistry with the expertise in the modern analytical technique of STM in the laboratory of Prof. Dmitrii Perepichka of McGill University in order to provide insight into morphological control in the fabrication of thin-films of both OFETs and OPVs.

The methods of growing organic semiconductors utilized in these studies may offer transformative pathways to fabricate organic semiconducting devices having improved performance and reliability. These methods might also have a significant impact on the fabrication of organic semiconductor devices in general. The graduate student will benefit greatly from being part of this synergistic international collaboration, which further strengthens the student's ongoing studies of these organic semiconductors. Providing first-rate international research experiences for U.S. students is a major goal of the Office of International Science and Engineering.

Project Report

Intellectual Merit Over the past several decades organic semiconductors (OSCs) have become the focus of intense research efforts due to their advantages over traditional inorganic materials. Soluble OSCs can be fabricated into electronic devices using inexpensive solution processing methods, making them ideal candidates for low cost, low performance electronic applications such as transistors for large area displays and radio frequency identification. In addition, OSCs have been successfully employed in organic photovoltaic devices which represent an important route to alternative energy. However, organic electronics remain inferior to traditional semiconductor technologies in terms of overall device performance and reliability. The proposed collaboration explored the possibility of fluorophilic assembly for morphological control in both organic field effect transistors (OFETs) and bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic photovoltaics (OPVs). The primary objective for this dissertation enhancement project was to utilize the scanning tunneling microscope housed at the host researcher’s laboratory in conjunction with recently synthesized materials at the PI’s laboratory in order to further strengthen the said investigation. This dissertation enhancement project united a modern analytical technique with creative synthesis of novel materials to afford a set of experiments that provided rich insight into thin film morphological control for both organic field effect transistors and photovoltaics. Broader Impacts The collaboration had a significant educational impact on the graduate student as well as on the two participating laboratories. The project allowed the graduate student to complement his expertise in synthetic chemistry with the rich analytical technique of scanning tunneling microscopy. The experiments brought his dissertation research to a higher level of completeness and clarity. Furthermore, the experience gave the student the opportunity to form a network with Canadian scientists in his field which helped him achieve his goal of carrying out postdoctoral research abroad. The project also had broader impacts on the two participating research groups by forming an international network of scientists working on similar materials science problems, enhancing communication of knowledge and ideas within the field. The collaborative work drew on the unique expertise of both laboratories and will be educational for all participating students.

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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill
United States
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