Plastic electronics is a multidisciplinary research area that concerns the fabrication of electronic devices from organic molecules and other easily processed materials.
One significant difference from conventional silicon electronics is that the properties of the constituent materials can be controlled by making systematic changes to their chemical structure. In this way it is possible to tune and tailor materials for specific applications - whether you want to control the colour of an LED, or match the light-harvesting capabilities of a solar cell to the expected ambient light conditions. Another difference is that many of the materials are soluble and can therefore be processed into printable inks, raising the possibility of cheaply manufacturing electronic devices in much the same way you might print a newspaper.
OLED displays -- now found in many mobile devices and top-of-the-range TV sets -- are the first commercial application of the technology. But there are significant opportunities for plastic electronics in many other areas, including sensors, solar cells and medicine.
Our group's work in this field involves the development of flow-based methods for controllably synthesising high performance electronic materials in high volumes, and the design, fabrication and application of optoelectronic devices.
Much of our research in this field is carried out in collaboration with colleagues from Imperial's Centre for Plastic Electronics, which brings together researchers from Chemistry, Physics, Materials and Engineering. The CPE runs an EPSRC sponsored Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics in collaboration with Oxford University and Queen Mary, University of London. If you are a home or EU student interested in doing a funded PhD in plastic electronics or an overseas student with your own funding, the CDT is an excellent option to consider. (One year Masters projects are also available).