Students in lab

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date: September 2020
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

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Overview

This course provides a thorough foundation in the science and application of plastic electronic materials, offering practical training in diverse areas such as microscopy, device fabrication and molecular modelling. 

The aim is to provide you with a thorough foundation in the science and application of plastic electronic materials. The course consists of a multidisciplinary research project and taught courses across physics, chemistry and materials science.

The Physics, Chemistry and Materials departments at the College participate in delivering this 12-month research course.

Participate in practical training workshops, offered alongside transferable skills courses and regular group discussion sessions. 

You will be encouraged to attend regular research seminars given by the wider Centre for Plastic Electronics community, organised throughout the year. You will also have the chance to attend conferences 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 from January to February.  Most of the research project work will take place after the exams, finishing in September.

Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics 

The Department of Physics leads a Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics. This aims to train and prepare doctoral scientists to move directly into this exciting, fast-moving and interdisciplinary field.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this course is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

Structure

Core modules

There are four core modules in the first term:

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 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. This 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.

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.

Materials Characterisation

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 introduce 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.

Practical workshops and Research

Practical workshops

A distinctive feature of the course are the practical workshops, each one often running over several days. These tailored modules are organised in conjunction with, and frequently hosted by, our industrial partners.

The workshops may include:

  • Polymer processing
  • Hybrid LED device fabrication
  • Transient non-contact probes
  • Vacuum deposition and upscaling
  • Polymer processing
  • Organic thin film and optoelectronic device fabrication & characterisation
  • OPV device fabrication
  •  Molecular modelling

Independent Research Project

Students will be expected to select a research project proposal in the first term following discussion with potential supervisors. Examples of previous projects include next-generation solid-state solar thermal fuels and mechanically robust, MRI compatible bioelectronics.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Computer classes
  • Journal clubs
  • Seminars
  • Industrial visits
  • Blackboard VLE
  • Supervised project work

Assessment methods

  • Written examination
  • Coursework
  • Written report
  • Oral presentation
  • Dissertation

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science or a related subject.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply

How to apply

Making an application

All applicants must apply online.

For full details on the online application process, please visit the admissions website.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

ATAS certificate (overseas candidates)

An ATAS certificate is required for all Non-EEA/Swiss nationals who require a visa to study in the UK.

To apply for an ATAS certificate online, you will need your programme details and the relevant Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) code and ‘descriptor’. For this course, these are:

CAH codeDescriptor
CAH07-01-01 molecular biology, biophysics and biochemistry

Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.
For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support website.

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2020 entry
£16,600 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2020 will apply to fees for the academic year 2020–2021.

Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)

2020 entry
£32,900 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2020 will apply to fees for the academic year 2020–2021.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government.

For 2019-20 entry, the maximum amount was of £10,906. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Physics

Got a question?

Loli Sanchez
T: +44 (0)20 7594 7512
E: l.sanchez@imperial.ac.uk

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