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New Organic Materials for Bioelectronic Applications

Project Description

A PhD studentship is available at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) starting in September 2020 in the group of Dr Christian Nielsen to work on the development of novel organic materials for bioelectronic applications.

Research Environment

The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary is one of the UK’s elite research centres, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We offer a multi-disciplinary research environment and have approximately 160 PhD students working on projects in the biological, chemical and psychological sciences. Our students have access to a variety of research facilities supported by experienced staff, as well as a range of student support services.

The Nielsen Lab ( is an active research group based in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. We are part of the interdisciplinary Materials Research Institute that brings together a wide range of expertise from Queen Mary based academics with interest in materials research. Our main research focus is centred around the design and synthesis of new semiconducting materials for organic electronic and bioelectronic applications with the aim of elucidating important structure-property relations and providing new tailored materials to advance the understanding and performance of organic electronic and bioelectronic devices such as organic solar cells, field-effect transistors and biosensors.

Training and Development

Our PhD students become part of Queen Mary’s Doctoral College which provides training and development opportunities, advice on funding, and financial support for research. Our students also have access to a Researcher Development Programme designed to help recognise and develop key skills and attributes needed to effectively manage research, and to prepare and plan for the next stages of their career.

PhD students in the Nielsen Lab have access to state-of-the-art synthetic chemistry lab facilities as well as a full suite of materials characterisation techniques through the Materials Research Institute ( Lab members have access to fume–hoods and appropriate bench space as well as all standard equipment (chromatography, NMR, MS, GPC, IR, UV–Vis–NIR, and CV) needed for organic materials synthesis and characterisation. In–house access to single crystal X–ray diffraction services and state–of–the–art scanning probe microscopy techniques enables further high–quality investigations into important solid–state properties. Training will be provided by technical staff and experienced students and postdocs.

Project Details

The project will focus on the synthesis and characterization of novel pi-conjugated organic materials including small molecules and polymers for use in organic bioelectronics, specifically focusing on the development of new organic materials for efficient conduction of both ions and electronic charges. These materials will be designed with the aim of expanding the toolbox of available bioelectronic materials in order to create more complex bioelectronic devices including complementary logic circuits. The successful PhD student will synthesise and characterise these materials which will subsequently be tested in bioelectronic devices in collaboration with project partners in the UK and abroad. The student will work within the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at QMUL under the direct supervision of Dr Christian Nielsen but will also collaborate closely with project partners to investigate the bioelectronic properties and biocompatibility of these new materials.


Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with or expecting to receive a masters degree in an area relevant to the project such as organic chemistry, polymer chemistry or materials chemistry.

Candidates should be skilled in synthetic organic chemistry, while knowledge of pi-conjugated materials and an interest in organic electronic and/or bioelectronic applications is highly desirable.

Applicants from outside of the UK are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Please see our English language requirements page for details:

The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences is committed to promoting diversity in science; we have been awarded an Athena Swan Bronze Award. We positively welcome applications from underrepresented groups.

Funding Notes

This studentship is open to UK/EU applicants and is funded by Queen Mary University of London. It will cover tuition fees, and provide an annual tax-free maintenance allowance for 3 years at the Research Council rate (£17,009 in 2019/20)


J. Borges-González, C. J. Kousseff, C. B. Nielsen Organic semiconductors for biological sensing, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019, 7, 1111–1130

C. B. Nielsen, A. Giovannitti, D. T. Sbircea, E. Bandiello, M. R. Niazi, D. A. Hanifi, M. Sessolo, A. Amassian, G. G. Malliaras, J. Rivnay, I. McCulloch Molecular Design of Semiconducting Polymers for High-Performance Organic Electrochemical Transistors, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 10252–10259

How good is research at Queen Mary University of London in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 14.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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