Designing new organic materials with electronic, optical, and magnetic properties

Our research aims to develop novel functional materials for optoelectronic, energy, and biomedical applications. Materials that are of interest to our group include: light-emitting organic molecules, organic semiconductors, π-conjugated polymers and macrocycles, organic-inorganic nanostructured materials, aliphatic polymers, and self-assembled nanoparticles. The work we do lies at the interface of organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, materials science, photophysics, and nanomedicine.


Ongoing projects include, but not limited to: 


Organic n-type semiconductors. We are designing and synthesizing novel electron-deficient π-conjugated structures and measuring their charge mobilities in organic field-effect transistors. We are also investigating new postpolymerization strategies for making polymeric n-type semiconductors.

Organic radical-functionalized polymers. Molecular structures with unpaired electrons possess unique properties such as magnetic properties and redox-active behavior. We are currently investigating various radical-functionalized polymer platforms for organic battery and magnetic resonance imaging applications.

Novel push-pull fluorophores. We are developing new donor-π-acceptor organic fluorophores based on exotic and underexplored electron acceptors. The goal is to design chemically stable push-pull dyes with large Stokes shifts and enhanced lipophilicity for bio-imaging applications.

Organic-inorganic nanomaterials. Recently, our team developed a series of bismuth-organic hybrid materials that exhibit reversible thermochromism, tunable optical gaps, and excellent thermal stability in air. These nanomaterials are potentially useful for smart window and camouflage coating technologies. Currently, we are also exploring the use of related materials as contrast agents in CT imaging.

Organic light-emitters. In our efforts to develop more energy-efficient materials for organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs), we are synthesizing and studying several new classes of small organic molecules that exhibit crystallization-induced emission enhancement or thermally-activated delayed fluorescence.

Organic superconductors. Superconductivity is a macroscopic quantum phenomenon more commonly observed in inorganic materials than in organic systems. We are experimenting with novel and unusual organic molecular structures to push the limits of superconducting critical temperatures (Tc).

Positions may be available

Prospective grad students and postdocs are welcome to e-mail Dr. Chan to discuss opportunities. As part of your research, you will design and synthesize new organic molecules and polymers, characterize materials properties, and engage in interdisciplinary collaborations.

Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) featuring an electroluminescent organic semiconductor. (Credit: ‘OLED early product’ by meharris – English Wiki) Polyacetylene film – a conductive polymer showing metallic lustre, yet soft like plastic. (Credit: Meissner Effect – magnet levitating above a superconductor. (Credit: ‘Meissner effect p1390048’ by Mai-Linh Doan)Fluorescent solution of π-conjugated macrocycles under UV light (Chan et al. JACS 2009, 131, 5659)
Funding agencies
Funding agencies