University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Big Question: Ferromagnetic Semiconducting Polymers-Optical, Electrical and Magnetic Properties

University of Chicago Big Questions

Principal Investigator: Luping Yu, Chemistry

Funding Type: Vision

Big Idea: This big idea proposes a new concept and plan in developing unprecedented, ferromagnetic semiconducting polymers composed of stable diradicals. These diradicals are expected to exhibit a triplet ground state as a consequence of strong spin exchange interactions (J>>An). Synthetic approaches to new monomers containing triplet diradicals are proposed. These monomers will be copolymerized with various electron-deficient monomers to form donor-acceptor (D-A) alternating copolymers. The internal charge polarization existing in D-A structure will dictate the spin alignment direction along the one-dimensional polymer backbone to achieve ferromagnetism in these systems. The introduction of ferromagnetic properties to conjugated polymers will add another dimension to explore new physical properties and related applications. Since the energy gap for spin transitions is much smaller than electronic transitions, spin-based devices can be manipulated faster and require a lower energy input than conventional semiconductor devices. This work is expected to enhance basic understanding of mutual interaction of electrical, optical and magnetic properties in semiconducting polymers. This project will provide us new materials to explore a broad spectrum of scientific fields such as non-volatile memory devices, spin-valves, spin-transistors, spin photovoltaics, magnetic sensors and so on.

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