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Chiroptical phenomena of pi-conjugated materials


pi-conjugated materials are organic molecules with alternate single and double bond character that provide for their semiconducting properties. For example, pi-conjugated polymers (CPs) have proven to be cheap, easily processible and flexible alternatives to silicon for sustainable energy applications like thin film solar cells and light emitting diodes. However, the optical and electronic properties of these materials depend strongly on the polymer structure organization within thin films. These materials can self-assemble into ordered supramolecular stacks, cholesteric liquid crystals, or can form disordered collapsed structures depending on processing conditions. Structure-property relationships in these materials are very complicated and not well understood. In this project, we will use chirality as a probe in the side-chains of conjugated materials to probe the relationship between their different morphologies and optical properties using Circular Dichroism (CD) spectroscopy.


Dr Girish Lakhwani.

Research location

School of Chemistry

Program type



Circular Dichroism (CD) spectroscopy is often used to study molecular organization of chiral materials by measuring difference in absorbance of left- and right- circularly polarised light. CD experiments on chiral conjugated materials provide us with morphological information on intermolecular packing and relative orientation between molecules which otherwise are undetectable using conventional optical techniques. In the course of project, the PhD student will use UV-Vis Absorbance, Fluorescence and CD spectroscopy to characterise ground state properties of chiral molecules both in solutions and spin-coated thin films. The student will use surface techniques such as AFM, TEM and confocal microscopy at the ACMM to image the surface morphology of thin films. The student will develop and/or extend the optical setup capable of studying excited state properties, such as circularly polarised luminescence (CPL). A challenging endeavour will be to use the morphological information in fabrication and optimisation of organic solar cells.

Additional information

The project is particularly of interest to students who are inclined towards physical chemistry with focus on optical spectroscopy and organic electronics.

Australian students are expected to have an Australian Postgraduate Award or UPA. International students will need to apply for a scholarship (e.g. IPRS or PREA). Please contact me for further details.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1956

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