Subject areas: Heterocyclic chemistry, organic electronics, self-assembly, soft matter, nanotechnology, materials science, surfaces and interfaces.

A fully funded 3-year PhD studentship is available at UCL Chemistry to work on an interdisciplinary project in the groups of Dr Bob C. Schroeder and Dr Giorgio Volpe.

Solution processable molecular organic semiconductors are prime candidates to realise printable electronics. However a lack of control over molecular orientation and assembly is currently severely limiting their performance. Being able to guide their crystallisation and solid-state packing on a molecular level would therefore be a significant leap forward in optimising p-orbital overlap between adjacent molecules, thereby facilitating intermolecular charge transport. In recent years, major effort has been undertaken to enhance charge transport by trapping organic semiconductors in metastable crystal structures. Proposed methods include spatial confinement, electric-field-assisted crystallisation or fluid-enhanced crystal engineering. While all these approaches were successful in coating large areas, it is challenging to adapt them for controllably patterning organic semiconductors to be used in electronic circuits, organic photovoltaics and organic thermoelectric generators. This project will focus on the synthesis of molecular semiconductors with large, permanent dipoles (Dr Schroeder) and the application of a vapour-guided deposition and self-assembly technique (Dr Volpe) to gain control over material patterning, alignment and resolution. This approach will make it possible for the first time to study the crystallisation dynamics of organic semiconductors under non-equilibrium conditions and to control the molecular alignment using an environmentally benign, contactless method to initiate crystallisation.

The applicants should have, or expect to gain, at least 2.1 honours or equivalent at Bachelor’s or Master’s level in Chemistry, or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject and the ability to think analytically and creatively. An enquiring and rigorous approach to research as well as excellent team-working, observational and communication skills (both presentation and writing skills in English) are also essential. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment would be highly desirable but not essential, as training will be provided. UCL offers a world-leading scientific environment in the heart of London.

Due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU students who meet the 3 years residency criteria are eligible for this studentship. The start date for the PhD is the 23rd September 2019. The deadline for applications is 31st March 2018, with interviews to be held in late April/early June, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

Applicants should send their applications (motivation letter, CV and contact info for 2 referees) by email to Dr Schroeder (b.c.schroeder@ucl.ac.uk) and Dr Volpe (g.volpe@ucl.ac.uk), who may also be approached for informal enquiries.

Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).

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