Group effort publication in Nature Communications

Understanding the effects of molecular design on the TADF process required a combined effort of the OEM group, the Bryce Group in Chemistry and the Penfold Group at Newcastle Univeristy. Having nearly the whole OEM group on this work is a testament to the collaborative environment here in Durham.

It was discovered that in certain molecular configuration a low-lying locally-excited triplet state acted as a quencher and reduced the efficiency of TADF and the OLED performance.

Read more about it below:

Nuffield Summer Student Chantal Goulder wins National Science Prize at Big Bang Fair in Birmingham

Budding scientist Chantal Goulder has a bright future after winning a national science prize.

Chantal, a student of Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington won one of the UK Senior Science awards at the National Big Bang Fair, held in Birmingham, earlier this year.

Chantal undertook a Nuffield placement in the Physics Department at Durham University during Summer 2016 under the supervision of Dr Marc Etherington in the Organic Electroactive Materials (OEM) group.

The aim of her project was to study the physical properties of newly-synthesised molecules to further understand the physical processes behind thermally-activated delayed fluorescence (TADF). This process is of immense importance for the fabrication of efficient organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and is of major interest to the OLED industry.

Chantal took the challenges of conducting cutting-edge research in her stride and focused on how particular states that are formed in organic molecules contribute towards TADF. These states of interest are called charge-transfer states, and understanding their fundamental properties is an important focus in this research area.

It was this work that she presented at the Big Bang Fair this March, under the title ‘Investigating charge-transfer states in organic donor-acceptor molecules’, to other students and celebrity judges including Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, MBE and Jason Bradbury, host of The Gadget Show.

Through use of a working OLED demonstrator and a poster she explained to a wide audience how fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry of these materials can relate directly to improving the efficiency of lighting in the future.

Chantal receiving her prize and certificate alongside judges including Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Chantal said: “Having the opportunity to do a Nuffield placement at Durham University was an incredible privilege, and gave me invaluable insight into what it is really like to work in a research environment. During my project, I learnt about a whole area of research that I had previously known very little about, which was very rewarding though challenging at times.”

“It was really interesting to see scientists of different disciplines collaborate and develop their ideas together, and I cannot thank Dr Etherington and the Nuffield foundation enough for their support throughout the project.”

For information on future research related to this story contact

If you are interested in the national activities of the Nuffield Foundation or are interested in hosting a student (in the North East) please visit or email Claire Willis at

Recent publication featured in MIT students’ blog

Earlier this month some of the recent work by our group (10.1038/ncomms13680) on the spin-vibronic coupling mechanism in thermally-activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) was featured in the Chembites blog site. The blog, aimed at undergraduate and postrgaduate chemistry students at MIT, looked at how TADF is bringing in a new era of fluorescence for organic light-emitting diodes.

The blog post can be found here.

It seems our research is influencing students across the pond.



Publication in Nature Communications

The group has published on the underlying mechanism behind thermally-activated delayed fluorescence in Nature Communications. Through use of a temperature-tuneable host the resonant behaviour of the reverse intersystem crossing phenomenon was elucidated. This resonant behaviour arises due to the vibronic coupling of not just the charge-transfer states, but also a locally-excited triplet state.

Read all about it below:

New Lesker Evaporation Suite!

We welcomed a new Kurt J Lesker Evaporation Suite to the Clean Room, allowing greater control over device fabrication.

To celebrate the recent expansion of the clean room to accommodate the new evaporator we invited the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (Science) Professor Patrick Hussey to officially open it.

This event was attended by the OEM group, technicians and our collaborators in Chemistry.

The new Kurt J Lesker Evaporation suite.

Professor Patrick Hussey announcing the official opening of the extended clean room.

Some members of the OEM group and Professor Patrick Hussey in front of the new evaporation suite.