Doctorate in Applied and Engineering Physics  

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Thesis Proposal for the

Doctorate Program in Applied and Engineering Physics (DAEPHYS)

Starting in the Academic Year 2016/2017

Proposal 026

Title:Novel lanthanide-based emitters for circularly polarized organic light-emitting diodes
Objectives (recommended length: 2000-3000 char):
This Ph.D. Thesis aims to be a contribution within the bounds of the interdisciplinary area constituted by the interrelation between Physics and Materials Engineering and Electrical Engineering, insofar as the main results of the proposed research would be related to the development of materials and devices which can open up new perspectives for applications of rare earth elements and OLEDs in chiral Optoelectronics and Photonics.
The goal is the development of lanthanide-based complexes and manufacturing of prototypes for proof-of-concept. Lanthanide-based complexes will –in addition of their inherent advantages over purely organic molecules in terms of narrow emission bands, large Stokes shift, and a long excited state lifetime–also feature circularly polarized (CP) emission at crucial wavelengths in the visible (for Tm(III), Tb(III) and Eu(III)) and in the near infrared (for Nd(III), Pr(III), Yb(III) and Er(III)). Such emitting materials must be chiral and non-racemic, in addition to all the expected features for electroluminescent devices. Consequently, the suggested approach will be mostly focused on the use of beta-diketonates, given their excellent properties for lanthanide sensitization by antenna effect, although camphor-based systems or polynuclear systems based on bipyridine-carboxylate ligands, for example, may also be considered.
Framework (recommended length: 500-2000 char):
Polarized luminescence has attracted widespread attention owing to potential applications in optical information displays, processing and storage. The state of the art of materials and devices that rely on uniaxially oriented emitting species and generate linearly polarized light is quite advanced and technological exploitation may be seen in the near future. On the other hand, circularly polarized emission of light is more challenging to generate and comparatively little research effort has been devoted to this subject to date. CPL is typically achieved with helically arranged luminophores. This helical arrangement of the chromophores is very difficult to influence or promote by an external force field and, consequently, has to be achieved by self-assembly or self-orientation of the optically active materials.
The novel lanthanide-based light-conversion molecular devices developed in this Thesis will be suitable for the manufacturing of solution-processed OLED devices with high intrinsic circularly polarized emission (level of polarization>70%) and excellent spectral purity, fulfilling the requirements for stereoscopic 3D-displays. Moreover, the visible CP emitters –and their near infrared counterparts- may also be promising for other applications in Photonics (e.g., CP-light detectors and emitters in optical communication devices, molecular photoswitches, optical data storage, optical quantum information and spintronics) and in other fields (such as chirality sensing or enhanced image contrast in advanced medical imaging techniques).
Tasks (recommended length: 1000-3000 char):
The candidate will cover all the stages of the novel materials development, from the computational design to the final devices, according to a highly interdisciplinary approach. Key aspects of his/her work will be the molecular design by semiempirical quantum chemistry methods (Sparkle/PM7), the synthesis, structural elucidation by X-ray diffraction and characterization by VCD, DSC, FTIR, Raman, NMR and EPR spectroscopies, UV-Vis-NIR absorption, excitation and photoluminescence of highly coordinated lanthanide complexes. Of particular interest will also be the manufacturing and characterization of solution-processed CP-OLED devices on flexible substrates, resorting to technologies such as arc-erosion nano-patterning to pave the way to the manufacturing of large area CP-OLEDs by cost-effective methods. Training will be provided in all these aspects from within our group and through collaboration with several European research centers (Universidad de Zaragoza, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Universidad de La Laguna, Universidad de Valladolid, University of Amsterdam and Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter).
Research centre/lab or R&D unit hosting the thesis project:
University to which the thesis project will be presented:
UC - Universidade de Coimbra
DAEPHYS Scientific Domain in which the project fits:
Optical technology
Relation of the project to the Scientific Domains of DAEPHYS:
This thesis is in the area of Photonics, more specifically in the field of Optoelectronics since it concerns the study and application of electronic devices that source and detect light.
OLEDs are at the heart of modern smartphone displays and are likely to become the dominant technology for computer screens and large area TVs in the near future. In addition, OLEDs are considered for general illumination, an area where efficiency is of key importance. Nonetheless, to date, most of the previous work has involved unpolarized EL emission. The development of enabling technologies for CP-OLEDs remains difficult and is still at a very early stage of development, in spite of the fact that this particular avenue of research is of potential use in a range of applications, not just those limited to high-contrast OLED displays, but also in efficient backlight sources in LCDs, optical data storage, optical communication, and stereoscopic 3D imaging systems, to name a few.
Candidate profile:
We seek a highly motivated candidate holding a MSc degree in Physics, Physics Engineering, Material Chemistry or similar, with a strong physics education and a good command of English. Further requirements are flexibility, ability to work in a team, natural curiosity and enthusiasm to study a rapidly developing field of research, creative problem solving skills and willingness to conduct research stays abroad. Some background in photonics or in thin-film optics is appreciated, but not mandatory.
Does this proposal involve more than one University?:
Synergies between the two Universities participating in the proposal:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects in co-supervision by researchers from two of the universities participating in the Program. In this field, explain the benefits resulting from the proposed co-supervision and the involvement of elements from the two universities, e.g. building critical mass teams, profiting from existing infrastructures or advanced equipments, profiting from expert technical know-how, etc. If the proposal involves only one University, write n/a.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)
Does this proposal involve a company?:
Proposals involving a company:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects involving a company, preferably a high-tech company. These proposals have to: 1) be centered on a technological problem in which the partner company has been (or plan / would like to be) involved; 2) have a co-supervisor on the enterprise; 3) include part of the project to be carried out in the company.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)



Name:Manuela Ramos Marques da Silva
Institution:Physics Department - University of Coimbra
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:



Name:Pablo Martín-Ramos
Institution:Saragoza University
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:



Name:Sérgio Domingos
Institution:Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7908-9778


Uploaded PDF document: proposal-026.pdf