New Centre for Doctoral Training Funded!

We are extremely happy to have been awarded funding by the EPSRC to create the Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities with our partners in Northumbria and Newcastle Universities!  This programme will train over 60 PhD students over the next 5 cohorts of students, all of whom will focus on the materials science challenges for distributed and renewable energy generation and storage.

You can read the full press release here.

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Welcome Dr Ali Huerta-Flores – Rutherford Fellow

We are delighted to welcome Dr Ali Huerta-Flores from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexico who will take post as a Rutherford Fellow.  The Rutherford Fellows will develop international relationships between the UK and abroad by performing leading research in Clean Growth.  Learn more about the Rutherford fellows here.

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IEEE Spectrum article about our work

Eleonore Vissol-Gaudin recently attended the IEEE Conference on Rebooting Computing to show how our liquid crystal-carbon nanotube ‘brains’ can be trained to spot complex patterns in data, such as diagnosing liver disease.  She did an excellent job and the people at IEEE Spectrum have written an article to highlight the work – read more about it here.

 

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New North East Centre for Energy Materials

We are happy to announce that we have been successful in winning funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to set up the North East Centre for Energy Materials (NECEM). This £2.25m project will last just under 4 years and involve several cross-cutting projects which examine how materials and interfaces can solve key energy problems. NECEM involves Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria Universities and academics from across the Sciences, as well as companies ranging from SME to multinational. I will be involved in a modelling project with colleagues in Newcastle as well as serving on the management board as the Durham representative. Exciting times!

You can read more in the press release here

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Welcome to new Researchers!

We’re delighted to welcome two new researchers to our group. David Palacios will be studying towards a PhD by exploiting ternary blends for improved organic photovoltaic efficiency, while Balder Nieto will be studying towards an MRes degree by trying to improve the lifetime of organic photovoltaics by incorporating inert hygroscopic polymers. Welcome to both!

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News article about our work

Zakiya AL-Busaidi’s recent paper in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells is the subject of a new article by Renewable Energy Global Innovations.  Read more about their take on our work here.

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North East Energy Materials Symposium

Myself and Dr Budhika Mendis (Physics) have hosted a North East Energy Materials Symposium.  We hosted colleagues from Newcastle and Northumbria University as well as those from Durham to hear more about their research.  The range of talks addressed a wide range of energy devices (batteries, fuel cells, PV…) and techniques to examine the materials that make them (solid-state NMR, AFM, electron microscopy…), and in doing so, showcased the exciting science happening in the North East.  Watch the DEI webpages for future events.

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Unconventional Computing Seminar Series

We were delighted to host Prof Susan Stepney (York) for her talk on ‘Sub-symbolic Artificial Chemistries,’ to kick off our Durham Seminar Series on Unconventional computing.  This series, co-organised by myself and Dr Viv Kendon (Physics) will bring experts in the field to Durham to discuss their take on unconventional computing.  Upcoming speakers include Dr Mark Fricker (Oxford) and Prof Alex Yakovlev (Newcastle).  Watch for upcoming seminar invites for more details.

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New review published in Reports on Progress in Physics

A new review on charge transport in organic semiconductors and devices has been published in Reports on Progress in Physics.  This review was invited by Prof Mark Geoghegan of Sheffield University and covers the application of simulations to a variety of organic semiconductor devices (including OTFTs, OLEDs and OPV) as well as types of simulation as well (including drift-diffusion, Monte Carlo, Quantum Chemical approaches and Master Equation).  This took quite a long time to put together but hopefully provides a broad and useful reference to those hoping to perform simulations in Organic Electronics.

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Prolonging the lifetime of OPVs

We have published a new paper in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells in which we report a significant improvement in lifetime of P3HT:PCBM solar cells by blending with inert PMMA.  We show that the PMMA forms columns in the morphology which appear to act as a water ‘gettering’ agent, prolonging the lifetime of OPVs.  This points to a new strategy to improve the lifetime of OPVs.  Well done to Zakiya on her first paper!

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