Professor of Chemistry
Boeing-Martin Professor of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1985
(Materials Chemistry, Polymer Science, Organic Electronics, Energy Science)
Electroluminescent Polymers for Displays, Self-Assembling Polymer Systems, Polymer Device Engineering, Tunable Optical Polymer Systems, and Polymer Nanophotonics
One of Professor Jenekhe's main research interests focuses on electronic, optoelectronic, and photonic phenomena in polymers. Fundamental understanding of these phenomena and the related electroactive and photoactive properties in synthetic polymers is essential to their applications in diverse areas of technology ranging from imaging, photodetectors, batteries, sensors, electrochromic devices, and solar cells to light emitting diodes for flat panel displays. One perennial problem is elucidation of the structural origins of electronic and photonic properties of polymers; another is how to improve or control the efficiencies of the photophysical and charge transport processes. Our general approaches to these problems include the design and synthesis of new polymers, physical and photophysical measurements, structure-property correlations, computational modeling, thin film processing, and polymer device engineering.
In one area, we are exploring how the electronic, molecular, and supramolecular structures and morpholoty of conjugated polymers influence their photoconductivity, luminescence, and charge transport properties. Model systems include homologous series of conjugated oligomers, blends of conjugated polymers, and derivatized conjugated polymers. Aggregation of conjugated polymers which can lead to diverse phenomena is under study, including the formation of excited-state and ground-state complexes which can significantly modulate the optical and photoelectronic properties of the materials. Our studies in the area of polymer thin film device engineering are aimed at addressing the fundamental and engineering issues involved in developing and producing high performance and durable electronic and optoelectronic devices (e.g., light-emitting diodes, photodetectors, thin film transistors, photovoltaic cells, sensors, etc.) from organic and polymeric materials. These issues include polymer thin film deposition processes, characterization of the electronic, optical and mechanical properties of polymer thin films and polymer/polymer, and polymer/metal interfaces, and the fabrication and evaluation of multilayer polymer thin film devices. Recently discovered finite size effects on nanoscale semiconducting polymer thin films and devices also require further study.