Today it is hard to imagine a society without electronic devices. Silicon technologies have solved the problem of supply for the increased demands of civilisation. But the negative environmental impacts caused by the way electronics are manufactured, used and disposed of encourages scientists to search for alternatives. The use of organic materials to build electronic devices may offer a more eco-friendly and cheap approach to meeting the growing needs of the world.
This project aims to find new energy sustainable materials for use in the area of organic electronics. The research focuses on synthesising and evaluating the physical properties of organic compounds based on biodegradable molecules called oligofurans, which can be obtained from waste biological feed-stock. These materials will be applied in optoelectronic devices, which convert electric current into light, or vice versa. Oligofurans are good semiconductors, and are stable, which means more efficient devices with longer lifetimes. These characteristics could make furan-based materials better for large-scale applications than the organic electronics currently used more widely.
When compared to the silicon solar cells used in many photovoltaic devices today, organic solar cells based on polymer technology appear to have many advantages. Oleksandra Korychenska led a Journal Club session to discuss how this technology could be used to make solar cells even more sustainable. In this blog post, she sets out the challenges. Read: Understanding organic solar cells.
Watch: Clean power and climate activism talks available online. Oleksandra – along with other Grantham Scholars – organised a seminar series about clean power. Find out more and watch videos of the event here.