From “living” materials to artificial “memory” – Organic polyradicals for flash memory devices and other applications in digital electronics.

Supervisor: Dr. Giovanni Fanchini

Project Description (Abstract):

Organic electronics is the sub-discipline of applied Condensed Matter Physics that investigates the use of organic materials based on the element carbon (of which living organisms are made) to complement silicon in key areas of consumer electronics. A remarkable success story in the field of organic electronics has been the development of the organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology by Eastman Kodak and the University of Rochester in the early 2000’s. There are very high chances organic electronics materials are in the laptop or other portable device you are using to read this text, as the quality and brightness of colours of their OLED displays have outperformed computer displays made from liquid crystals or inorganic LEDs. Our team has accumulated a unique expertise in the nanofabrication of organic “flash”memory devices (yes, the memory “sticks” you are using to transfer data to and from your laptop!) built from organic polyradicals – organic polymers in which each subunit contains an unpaired electron spin – which stemmed for our synthesis of electronic-grade layers of these materials with unprecedented thinness. Research from our team has generated an intellectual property portfolio, and media attention (see

Two graduate research positions are available in the areas of: 1) Fabrication / integration of flash memory devices (at Western Nanofabrication Facility - and other infrastructures) and 2) The advanced vacuum deposition of organic polyradicals with industrially scalable methods (with the possibility of a stage with an industrial partner). Research salaries for these positions are funded from a recently awarded NSERC Strategic Partnership Grant (NSERC-SPG). In these projects students will be part of the NSERC-SPG team, working closely with a research crew of Physicists (Fanchini’s group - 5 grad students, 2 post-doc fellows, and 3 undergrad assistants Chemists (Gilroy group – 4 grad students, 1 post-doc fellow, and 3 undergrad assistants - and the Industrial Partners involved in the technology transfer of our research and development activities in organic polyradicals.
Projects can be either at the MSc level or at the PhD level, and transfer from MSc to PhD will be available to students who will demonstrate their proficiency in our graduate program. Knowledge of Quantum Mechanics and 1 or 2 breadth undergraduate Chemistry courses are required. Experience in experimental physics (e.g. through undergraduate 2nd and/or or 3rd year labs, and/or via summer research) is highly desirable. An undergraduate course in Solid State Physics, or Condensed Matter Physics, and/or Organic Chemistry will be a plus, but are not necessary.