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Organic semiconductors: from environmental clean-up to flexible electronics and wound-healing antibacterial dressings

Metal-organic semiconducting materials based on charge transfer complexes of metal-tetracyanoquinodimethane (Metal-TCNQ) were discovered almost 50 years ago. Since then however, their applications have almost solely been restricted to electronics, which is surprising given their rich chemical, physical, optical and electronic properties.

About the speaker

Associate Professor Vipul Bansal mentors an enthusiastic team of 25 researchers at RMIT University as the Leader of the NanoBiotechnology Research Laboratory and the Director of the Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility. His interdisciplinary team investigates fundamental and applied aspects of materials chemistry and nanotechnology in areas relevant to biosynthesis, bio-diagnostics, bio-imaging, targeted theranostics, antimicrobial nano-products, catalysis, sensing and flexible electronics. He received his PhD in 2007 from National Chemical Laboratory India, followed by a brief postdoctoral stint at the University of Melbourne. Vipul’s research is predominantly supported by the Australian Research Council, previously through an APD Fellowship and currently a Future Fellowship. His research is also supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation USA, the Ian Potter Foundation Australia and industry (~$7.5 Million). He has authored more than 100 refereed publications. His contributions are recognised through awards such as 2011 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Finalist in Physical Sciences, media outlets and editorship of journals.

About the talk

When we hear the word ‘semiconductor’, the first thing that hits our mind is electronics. Semiconductors, whether inorganic or organic, these are integral part of any modern day electronic devices. Organic semiconductors are interesting as they are made up of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, which means that they are more eco-friendly.

Organic semiconductors, particularly those based on charge transfer complexes of metal-TCNQ have rich chemical, physical, optical and electronic properties. Bansal’s team recently discovered that these properties allow organic semiconductors to be used for interesting applications beyond electronics.

Here, Vipul will discuss some of the emerging applications of these interesting materials, which have become possible by combining these materials with natural materials such as hair, diatoms, threads and textiles. He will show how his group could engineer these organic semiconductors to create flexible electronic devices, nanosensors for environmental monitoring, catalysts for environmental clean-up and light-activated antibacterial fabrics for wound management.