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Engineering nanomaterials for efficient LEDs

   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr Marco Califano, Dr K Critchley  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A fully-funded 3.5 year PhD Studentship is available to work on an exciting interdisciplinary materials science project on the design, synthesis and optimisation of colloidal quantum dot-based blue LEDs, combining state-of-the-art computational modelling approaches with chemical synthesis and materials characterisation techniques. Semiconductor colloidal Quantum Dots (cQDs) exhibit unique size-dependent electronic and optical properties which make them ideally suited for a wide range of applications. In particular, InP has emerged as a promising environmentally friendly material, that at the nanoscale exhibits a size-tunable emission in the visible region of the spectrum. Applications of InP cQDs range from optoelectronics to photovoltaics, and from bio-imaging to memory storage and lighting. Historically, InP-based cQD-LEDs have exhibited low efficiency, due to the low photoluminescence (PL) quantum yield (QY) which results from decreased radiative recombination rates. Recently this has changed, with examples of near 100% PL QY reported for InP/ZnSe/ZnS cQDs. The record PL QY was attributed to an improved surface passivation achieved by means of the multilayer shell structure. The growth of multiple shells introduces additional levels of complexity to the synthesis of the cQDs, resulting in a more time-consuming and costly manufacture of the final devices. Yet, their role in the PL QY increase remains poorly understood. 

Our group recently showed that even in the absence of surface traps the radiative recombination times in InP cQDs can be very long (tens of microseconds), and the associated PL weak, with a low QY, depending on the surface composition of the cQD. It follows that the effect of the presence of multiple shells is not the assumed improved surface passivation that removes surface defects. In this project, that combines chemistry, experimental physics and computational materials science, you will investigate the real origin of the huge QY enhancement observed in core/multi-shell structures and apply this knowledge to design much simpler structures (ideally without any shell) that exhibit high QY and strong PL, for application in cQD-LEDs. You will then perform accurate modelling of the cQD-LED devices, aimed at optimising their performance by screening various parameters before their actual experimental implementation. Your experimental results will then feed back into your modelling. You will use a multiscale theoretical/experimental approach that combines ab-initio modelling at the atomistic scale, dot array modelling at the mesoscale and device design and simulation at a larger scale, with chemical synthesis, experimental single-dot measurements of elemental composition, optical characterisation, device manufacturing and characterisation.

Funding Notes

A highly competitive School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering Studentship consisting of the award of fees at the UK fee rate of £4,596 or Non-UK fee rate of £25,500 (currently in academic session 2022/23) together with a maintenance grant (currently £17,668 for session 2022/23) for 3.5 years. This opportunity is open to all applicants. All candidates will be placed into the School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.

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