Research Fellows Directory
Mr Ian Jacobs
University of Cambridge
Thermoelectrics are a promising next-generation energy technology which allow for direct conversion between heat and electricity. Commercial thermoelectrics are based on inorganic materials, which are brittle and cannot easily be integrated into a variety of form factors. Semiconducting polymers--plastics which can be electrically conductive--are a promising alternative to inorganic thermoelectrics. Semiconducting polymers are inherently flexible and lightweight, which could allow for integration into flexible form factors, such as clothing. These materials also have low thermal conductivities and high Seebeck coefficients, both of which are important for good thermoelectric performance. However, a third factor is also vital for thermoelectric properties: high electrical conductivity. Electrical conductivity can be tuned by adding or removing electrons from the material by adding strongly electron donor or acceptor molecules. This process is known as doping. Unfortunately, doping these materials often does not increase conductivity as much as we expect it to. In this sense, the inability to efficiently dope semiconducting polymers limits their potential thermoelectric performance.
My research focuses on better understanding doping in semiconducting polymers. We will examine the roles of dopant molecule miscibility with the host organic semiconductor, and how dopant molecules affect the nanoscale morphology of the semiconductor. To study these effects, we will use a combination of techniques including as X-ray diffraction, electron spin resonance, UV-vis and IR spectroscopy, electrochemical methods, and charge transport measurements.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)