MRes in Plastic Electronic Materials
MRes in Plastic Electronic Materials: We are now accepting applications for October 2020 entry!
If you have any questions please email the MRes programme coordinator, Lisa O'Donnell.
The 12-month, 90-ECTS, Bologna-compliant, MRes in Plastic Electronic Materials aims to provide a thorough foundation in the science and application of plastic electronic materials. The course is a full-time one year Masters in Research, consisting of a multidisciplinary research project, taught courses in the physics, chemistry and materials science of plastic electronic materials, practical training workshops, transferable skills courses, and regular group discussion sessions.
MRes students are also encouraged to attend regular research seminars given by the wider CPE community that are organised throughout the year, as well as colloquia targeting specialised areas, such as perovskite photovoltaics or bioelectronics.
The taught course runs between October and December, with examinations in February. Advanced and practical courses take place January to February. The majority of the project work will take place after the exams, finishing in September.
Please email Lisa O'Donnell, the MRes programme co-ordinator for details of October 2020 MRes entry.
Course outline in more detail
Core lecture courses
The course begins in Term 1 (October-December) with a fixed lecture programme of core courses, in adition to advanced practical courses that will continue through the year. All core lecture modules are compulsory. The material covered in these courses is examined in February.
There are four core lecture courses in Term 1, delivered by lecturers from all departments and :
Introduction to plastic electronics and course overview
Plastic electronic along with related materials will be introduced, highlighting applications and areas of particular interest to both in academia, industry, and society. An outline of the taught components of the course will be described along with how the modules relate to each other.
Fundamentals of Organic and Inorganic Semiconductors and Optoelectronic Processes
This module will refresh the basic properties of semiconducting materials, highlighting the key similarities and differences between electronic behaviour in organic and inorganic materials. It will the cover the physics of the electronic structure of pi-conjugated materials and their neutral, excited and charged states (excitons, polarons), their optical properties (absorption, emission, gain), photophysical processes, photochemistry, charge and exciton transport. It will include an introduction to the techniques used to model the electrical and optical properties of molecular materials. Aspects of other material properties such as ferroelectricity, thermoelectricity and magnetism will also be introduced where relevant.
Materials Synthesis and Processing
This module will focus on the preparation and deposition of electroactive materials including the organic, inorganic and hybrid components used in plastic electronic devices. Such electroactive materials will include small molecular charge transport materials, sensitising dyes used in solar cells, fluorescent and phosphorescent materials as well as electroactive polymers. The key concepts of conjugation, synthesis (e.g. by Suzuki or Yamamoto coupling, living polymerisations by McCullough route) and relevant characterisation (e.g. by spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, elemental analysis, GPC, cyclic voltametry) will underpin the organic components of the module which should enable students to select molecules for specific (opto)electronic applications and to suggest functionalisation (i.e. fluorination etc.) that will optimise their physical properties. Methods to chemically and physically deposit layers of inorganic and hybrid materials such as transparent oxides, metal sulphides and solution-processable perovskites will also be considered. The key kinetic and thermodynamic concepts underlying the control of morphology, crystallisation, phase behaviour, and processing of single and multi-component systems used in devices will also be covered.
In conjunction with the Materials and Processing module, this part of the course will introduce materials characterisation techniques relevant to assessing the microstructure and surface/interface properties of relevant electroactive materials including microscopy, X-ray diffraction, rheology and thermal analysis (including degradation). The module will also introduce steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopic techniques suitable for interrogating structural properties, excited states, and charge carriers in electroactive materials. Knowledge of these techniques should provide students with a platform to start tackling the practical problems they will encounter during their projects.
Device Physics and Applications
This module will cover the basic principles of operation and design and molecular and hybrid light emitting devices, solar cells, photodiodes, thin film transistors, polymer lasers, gain media, lighting and displays. Emerging devices classes will also be introduced including spintronic and bioelectronics devices. The module will also provide an introduction to device fabrication (including encapsulation) and device engineering for maximum performance and lifetime. Methods to evaluate and assess device performance and bottlenecks will be covered (e.g. solar cell operating efficiency, transistor transfer curves). This understanding will provide students with approaches to diagnose and rectify problems in their device designs.
Advanced and practical courses
Selected advanced practical courses and workshops could be offered throughout the year to MRes students, which include:
High volume printing (Welsh Centre for Printing & Coating, Swansea University)
This two-day workshop will cover high throughput printing techniques, including inkjet, gravure, and contact printing, and including training in the methods used for the characterisation of inks and surfaces.
Hybrid LED device fabrication (Queen Mary London)
Manufacture and optoelectronic testing of hybrid LED structures (organic/ZnO nanorod active regions).
Transient non-contact probes (University of Oxford)
Transient ultrafast spectroscopic probes for photophysical energy transfer; THz conductivity for studies on ps-to-ns timescale; Confocal and scanning Raman spectroscopy.
Vacuum deposition and upscaling (Univeristy of Oxford)
This course will give cover the main technologies for vacuum deposition of organic electronics. Starting from the various methods of how the required vacuum is generated and measured the principles of most common vacuum deposition processes are described with a particular focus on organic electronics.
Polymer processing (Nanoforce)
This 2-day workshop introduces industrial polymer processing methods, including compounding, sheet/film extrusion, injection moulding, and fibre spinning, covering both low volume manufacturing to pilot plant activities.
Oraganic thin film and optoelectronic device fabrication & characterisation (Imperial College, Physics)
This week long course includes lectures and practical training. The lectures cover the theory and practical issues of thin film characteristics and device fabrication, and opto-electronic measurements. The practical training will focus on how to measure the optical properties of thin film samples correctly using a variety of techniques.
OPV device fabrication (Imperial College, Chemistry)
This three-day practical training will cover all steps in the fabrication and testing of lab-scale light-emitting diodes, photodiodes and OFETs in a clean room environment. The course includes substrate preparation, spin coating of organic layers, contact evaporation and encapsulation, followed by opto-electrical measurement.
This two day workshop introduces some of the computational packages available for the simulation of molecular materials, including the elements of quantum chemistry calculations using Gaussian and Turbomole, molecular dynamics packages such as GROMACS, and packages for the visualisation and rendering of molecular structures.
Transferable skills courses
The Graduate School
Offers courses supporting the postgraduate student experience:
Journal Club aims to develop presentation skills, whilst encouraging scientific debate, and providing the opportunity to broaden scientific knowledge. The cohort works together in a group to make a presentation about a seminal high impact paper, which is then followed by chaired discussion and debate.
MRes students could be offered a taught outreach course. Students could receive both group and individual training on techniques and preparation to publicise and present scientific work to non-specialist audiences. These outreach activities are designed to instil important communication skills for students to draw upon throughout their careers. Outreach activities by students are strongly encouraged and supported; students are encouraged to participate in the Imperial Festival and other public engagement events. Find out more about the Outreach course.
Cohort Mentors and Buddy Scheme
MRes students are part of the Mentoring and Buddying Schemes. Dr Firat Güder is the academic member of staff who mentors the students - he holds regular coffee mornings for students to come for an informal chat with Firat and other students. The role of the mentor is to be a point of contact for the student throughout the course, to offer advice, and to help with any matters of a non-academic nature that may arise. We also offer a cross-cohort Buddy Scheme, which all students participate in.
Students will be expected to select a project proposal in the first term following discussion with potential supervisors.
Example projects that have previously been offered to students are available via www.imperial.ac.uk/plastic-electronics-cdt/programme-and-activities/mres-in-plastic-electronic-materials/projects/.