Primary research interest

Photophysics of organic semiconductors

Lab website

Centre for Organic Photonics & Electronics

About me

I completed my PhD on the spectroscopy of organic semiconductors in 2009 at the University of St Andrews before moving to The University of Queensland as a postdoctoral fellow working on the development of fluorescent dendrimers for the detection of explosives. In November 2011 I was awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship and in 2016 an Advance Queensland Research Fellowship. In 2021 I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer and I lead the Nanotechnology and Materials Chemistry research theme within SCMB. I am also a leader of the UQ-node of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.

Research focus and collaborations

The development of organic semiconductors has the potential to revolutionise the design and fabrication of future optoelectronic devices, including solar cells, sensors, light-emitting diodes, and lasers. The photophysical properties of organic semiconductors happen on timescales ranging from femtoseconds to milliseconds. I use time-resolved spectroscopic methods such as transient absorption spectroscopy and time-resolved photoluminescence to probe the processes of photoexcitation and relaxation, exciton diffusion, charge generation and transport in organic semiconductors and gain a detailed understanding of how these materials “work”.

My research has a strong application-focus across the three following areas.

Fluorescence-based chemical sensors

Rapid and reliable detection of chemical vapours is a significant technological challenge, particularly for those chemicals that pose a health or security concern. Fluorescence-based sensing is one of the most attractive solutions to this problem because it can achieve trace-level detection without the need for complex, expensive and power-hungry hardware. My research lies in the development of novel fluorescence-based sensors with activities spanning from materials development, photophysical characterisation of the target-sensor interactions and detection hardware development.

Research topics include:

  • Detection of chemical threats (explosives, chemical warfare agents, drugs).
  • Understanding the nature of the interaction between the target and the sensing material (photophysical characterisation, vapour diffusion into the sensing films).
  • Sensing platform development including detection algorithms.

Organic and hybrid solar cells

The next generation of solar cells based on organic and hybrid semiconductors can be solution processed over large areas leading to panels that are cheaper than current technology as well as being lighter and flexible. The performance of these systems is intimately related to the photophysical characteristics of the materials and optical spectroscopy is ideally suited to probing these materials.

Research topics include:

  • Single component active layers for organic solar cells.
  • Photophysical properties of organic light harvesting materials.
  • Strategies towards achieving high-performance stable perovskite solar cells.

Emissive processes in organic semiconductors

Organic semiconductors can be highly luminescent and there currently exists a broad palette of materials available for use in both display and lighting applications. These applications are currently the two biggest emerging markets for organic semiconductors and both require high efficiency devices that can consistently deliver high brightness.

Research topics include:

  • Identifying energy transfer pathways between emitters.
  • Understanding the emissive process in the latest generation of materials.

Funded projects

  • UQ Node of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (2023-2030)
  • ARC Discovery Project  (2022): “Validation of predicted solution processed organic semiconductor properties”
  • ARC LIEF (2021): “An Advanced Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Facility in Queensland
  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Research & Development Program (2020): “New materials - singlet fission enhanced silicon solar cells”
  • DST Group Counter Improvised Threats Grand Challenge (2018): “FIND - Fluorescent Identification of Nascent Dangers”
  • ARC Discovery Project (2013): " Vapour Phase Detection of Chemical Warfare Agents"
  • Advance Queensland Research Fellowship (2016): “Development of a Luminescence-based Sensor for the Detection of Explosives”
  • UQ Early Career Researcher (2014): "Time-resolved spectroscopic studies of organic solar cell materials"
  • ARC Discovery Project (2013): "Detecting the invisible"
  • ARC DECRA fellowship (2012): "Probing the excited states of organic semiconductor systems with photoinduced absorption spectroscopy"

Teaching interests

  • Physical chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Thermodynamics

Featured publications