IMPEE Researcher Awarded Royal Society Grant

Dr Nick Bennett from IMPEE has been awarded an International Exchanges grant from the Royal Society. The project will run jointly with Dr Aidan Cowley of Dublin City University and will study novel Cu-X based materials for transparent electronics (X: halide/delafossite). The project will run for two years and will fund experiments and the exchange of researchers between the UK and Ireland.

An overview of the project The potential applications for transparent electronics, i.e. electronic materials that are transparent to light, are diverse. Such materials can be used as transparent electrodes for flat-panel displays or mobile devices (e.g. modern smartphones), transparent electrodes for solar cells, window defrosters, light emission (e.g. LEDs), thin-film transistors for next generation flexible electronics, to name but a few of the myriad applications.

Dublin City University has a strong history of working with novel materials and have a proven track record of bringing these materials from a theoretical understanding to an applied one. For example, they were the first group in the world to demonstrate the electrically stimulated light emission from copper halide materials, as well as demonstrating their potential usage as a low cost photovoltaic material. The partnership with Heriot-Watt – which has strong capabilities in the area of photovoltaics – will allow further exploration of this potential.

We strongly believe that the next generation of electronics devices will be highly integrated, by being both transparent and flexible. Towards this end, we will actively investigate new materials such as copper delafossite and copper halides. These are exciting materials to work with and could play an important part in bringing about widespread adoption of low-cost transparent electronics for our society. Already there is momentum building in developing flexible silicon-based electronics, as the concept of form fitting and wearable electronics has begun to intersect with the greater public awareness. Combining transparent electronic materials with flexible electronics will give rise to a truly paradigm changing application space – no longer will electronics be consigned to static forms like laptops, tablets and phones, but they can be integrated into new surfaces and areas such as windows, watches and glasses, providing a wide range of creative functionality.