Women in Nanoscience


Women in Nano Blog

When space is at a premium, grow upwards! Emulating skyscrapers with organic semiconductor crystals

Posted on October 13, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Organic semiconductors have a number of advantages compared to conventional inorganic semiconductors such as the market-leading silicon technologies. They can be inexpensive, abundant, less toxic and lightweight. However, growth techniques for organic semiconductors have been somewhat limited to the two-dimensional approaches that we think of when we imagine silicon wafers or solar cells with their mirror finish.


Instead, Dr. Yue (Jessica) Wang, a former graduate student in Richard Kaner's chemistry group at UCLA, demonstrated a new approach. She and her Kaner group colleagues developed a technique that can grow the semiconductor, tetraaniline, vertically into little spikes (or needles). This is in stark contrast to the conventional way of growing semiconductors horizontally. Tetraaniline is a building block of a conductive polymer whose electrical and chemical properties are determined by the orientation of its small crystals. Growing crystals vertically adds the advantage of allowing a denser packing of the semiconductors, making devices that are more powerful and efficient. Wang and her colleagues used a graphene substrate to produce the vertical crystal based on their understanding of the complex interactions between organic semiconductors and graphene in various solvent environments. Detail of this study was published in ACS Nano in late August 2015.


Dr. Wang currently works as a post-doctoral scholar in Prof. Zhenan Bao's group at Stanford University. She received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the 2013 ACS Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research award. She also won the "Science as Art" competition conducted during the 2013 MRS meeting, which was featured in WIN, here.

- Written by Eugene Choi, Edited by Paulette Clancy

(Photo credit: Provided by and used with permission from Yue Wang).

Categories: WINnews

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