My main research interests focus on thin films of polyaromatic molecules such as phthalocyanines, porphyrins and perylnenes, including the development of new growth methods, electronic, optical and magnetic properties, quantum phenomena and biosensors.
Recent reports in our work on molecular magnetism has been highlighted in Nature''s News and Views (“Magnetic Blue”, J. van den Brink and A. F. Morpurgo, Nature, 450 (2007) 17).
New growth methods
I am currently developing an organic vapour phase deposition (OVPD) chamber for the growth of high quality molecular thin films. In OVPD, the material is sublimed in a high temperature environment and swept towards a cooled substrate using a stream of inert heated carrier gas in a low vacuum environment. Advantages of OVPD include: low cost, accurate control over stoichiometry, low material waste and access to new film properties.
Molecular magnets are an exciting new class of materials; they have mostly been obtained as powders and synthesised from solution. We are currently working on metal-phthalocyanine (MPc) thin films and on the correlation between growth conditions and magnetic properties as measured by SQUID magnetometry. We also plan to exploit the properties of the molecular backbone as a control of the magnetic interaction.
Biocompatible optoelectronic devices
Here we plan to use the chemical resemblance of our polyaromatic thin films with biologically relevant molecules such as chlorophyll or amino acids, in order to develop molecular biosensors, based on the change of optoelectronic or magnetic properties of the thin film upon adsorption of the biomolecule. Alternatively, the same principle could be used to functionalise inorganic sensors for selective biomolecule absorption with a high degree of versatility.
This research is in collaboration with the Basic Techology Quantum Information Processing project directed by Marshall Stoneham in the Department of Physics at UCL, and in particular Gabriel Aeppli, Chiranjib Mitra, James Dynes and Christoph Renner. Here we are investigating the potential of organic or organo-metallic molecules as sources of spin.
News from our Group
March 2009 - Miss Soumaya Mauthoor proudly shows a phthalocyanine thin film and is featured in an exhibition celebrating 100 female scientists at Imperial College.
Professor Tim Jones, Warwick - Chemistry
Professor David McComb, Imperial - Materials
Professor Gabriel Aeppli, UCL - LCN, Spintronics
Dr Chris Kay, UCL-LCN
Professor Nic Harrison, Imperial - Chemistry
Professor Andrew Fisher, UCL - LCN
Dr Mary Ryan, Imperial - Materials
Research Student Supervision
Arellano,DLG, Organic/Inorganic magnetic heterostructures
Din,S, Organic Vapour Phase Deposition of Molecular Thin Films
Gardener,J, Molecular Thin Films: Fundamentals and Potential Routes for Spintronic App., completed in 2008
Mauthoor,S, Structure of Molecular Thin Films
Wu,Z, Molecular Thin Films: Growth, Magnetism and Spintronic Applications