Optoelectronics Group, Cavendish Laboratory

Welcome to the Optoelectronics Group

photoluminscence We are interested in the physics of semiconducting conjugated polymers. These are long-chain organic molecules made from conjugated units such as benzene rings (see below). They are inherently quantum mechanical objects with nanometer sized dimensions, and many of their observable optical and electrical properties can only be understood when adopting a quantum mechanical description.

We discovered in the late 1980's that these conjugated polymers behave in many respects like inorganic semiconductors and can be used in a number of semiconducting devices such as field-effect transistors, light-emitting diodes and solar cells . These pioneering discoveries were important milestones for the field of organic electronics, which has now developed into a large international research field with significant academic and industrial activities.

Polymer light-emitting diodes are being developed for display and for energy-efficient lighting applications. Polymer photovoltaic diodes promise to enable very low cost solar cells due to the ability to coat or print a semiconducting polymer film from a solution/ink in an organic solvent. Printed polymer transistors enable new electronic applications on flexible plastic substrates, such as flexible displays.

The strong focus of our activity is on the scientific understanding of the electronic properties and fundamental physics of this novel class of semiconductors. Conjugated polymers are low-dimensional semiconductors with strong electron-phonon and electron-electron interactions, and their physics differs dramatically from those of conventional inorganic semiconductors such as silicon. It is a field where new fundamental scientific discoveries are still waiting to happen. Our research program is interdisciplinary: it spans fundamental and device physics, materials science and device engineering, and we collaborate actively with a number of synthetic organic chemistry groups.

For more detailed information on our research program click here.