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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E04591X/1
Title: Ternary phase separation during spin casting
Principal Investigator: Geoghegan, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Jones, Professor R
Researcher Co-investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2008 Ends: 31 March 2012 Value (£): 154,112
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids Materials Processing
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Spin coating is a widely used tool in the manufacture of very smooth and very thin polymer films. For example, it is routinely used on a massive scale for making integrated circuits and colour filters for liquid crystal displays. It is likely to be a centrally important processing step in the emerging field of polymer electronics. The most common situation is the spin coating of a polymer solution (a polymer dissolved in a solvent). A flat disc, which has been flooded with the solution, is rotated at speeds of up to 10,000 revolutions per minute. This results in a uniform coating of solution. The solvent then rapidly evaporates to leave a very smooth and high quality film of pure polymer. A more complicated situation, that has great technological potential, occurs when two polymers are spun from a common solvent. Most chemically different polymers do not like to mix, but if diluted enough in a solvent favourable to both polymers a mixed solution forms. However, the two polymers will separate from each other as the solvent evaporates. Significantly, this can result in a wide variety of microstructures in the final films. These can range from two well defined layers to situations in which lateral phase separation takes place on a variety of length-scales, from nanometres to many micrometres. In thin films of, for example, semiconducting polymers used in light emitting diodes and photovoltaic devices, the device efficiency depends critically on the microstructure. Hence, if one understands how to control the microstructure, one can achieve an optimised film in a single, inexpensive processing step.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk