Small Changes, Large Impact: Understanding How Molecular Structure and Processing Impact the Assembly and Performance of Organic Semiconductors

May 9, 2019  |  4:00pm | ESB 1001
Chad Risko
Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky

Through the vast synthetic tool box of organic chemistry, chemists have the capability to tune the electronic, redox, and optical properties of π-conjugated molecules and polymers, which in turn can be used as the building blocks to develop materials for semiconducting applications, solar cells, and energy storage. In these materials, the nature of the molecular-scale solid-state packing arrangement dictates performance, rendering knowledge as to how materials processing impacts these arrangements critical. Currently, there exist few hard-and-fast rules that combine molecular design and process conditions in the discovery of new organic semiconductors, as the understanding that links these domains is quite limited. Here, we will discuss the development of atomistic- and molecular-scale models that seek to connect molecular topology, the chemical nature of the processing environment, and the solid-state morphologies to the electronic and optical characteristics of organic semiconductors. The chemical insight developed through these theoretical materials chemistry investigations is beginning to draw connections among these parameters, in part by bringing new questions to light. Refining this knowledge and addressing these questions will be key to developing knowledge-driven design principles for new generations of organic semiconductors.


Chad Risko is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky. Chad received his PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology under the direction of Professor Jean-Luc Brédas, undertook postdoctoral research with Professors Mark Ratner and Tobin Marks at Northwestern University, and has been at the University of Kentucky since 2014. Chad’s research blends principles from organic and physical chemistry, condensed-matter physics, and materials science to develop theoretical materials chemistry approaches to better understand and design materials for advanced electronics and power generation and storage applications. Chad was named a 2016 Emerging Investigator by the Journal of Materials Chemistry (Royal Society of Chemistry), received a 2018 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, was selected as a 2018 Cottrell Scholar (Research Corporation for Science Advancement, RCSA), and is an RCSA Scialog Fellow for Advanced Energy Storage.

Event Slides

Event TypeSeminar