Microscopy of Organic Thin Films To Reveal Heterogeneity of Electronic Structure
Cathy Wong, Chemistry
Organic thin films have potential applications in photovoltaics, electronics, and lighting. These films can be formed using solution deposition processes, which can be easily scalable for economical manufacturing. Unfortunately, solution deposition techniques can result in films with a large amount of heterogeneity in their structure, resulting in heterogeneity in their performance. This project examines the heterogeneity of electronic structure by using microscopy to measure the polarization dependent absorption of individual thin film domains.

The REU student will use various methods to produce organic thin films from solution, such as dropcasting, blade coating, capillary writing, and spin coating. The student will then measure the polarization dependent absorption of tiny regions of these films using our home-built microscope. Statistical analysis will produce metrics for both the type of heterogeneity and the amount, which can then be correlated to film production methods. The student will gain hands-on experience with basic film preparation techniques, optics, and microscopy, and expose them to the basics of statistical analysis and electronic structure.