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SYNCHRONICS Report Summary

Project ID: 643238
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SYNCHRONICS (SupramolecularlY eNgineered arCHitectures for optoelectRonics and photONICS: a multi-site initial training action)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Photonics deals with light generation, transmission, modulation and detection and has been identified as one of the key enabling technologies (KETs) by the European Union. In particular, photonics will play a major role in the future of information and communication technology and healthcare. It relies heavily on the development of novel and more performing materials based on organic and hybrid semiconductors that allow fabrication of low cost, flexible and lightweight photonic devices such as amplifiers, switches, sensors and lasers. Despite the recent advances in the field, there are still several key issues to be investigated for organic photonics to yield its full potential.
In this framework, the SYNCHRONICS project (SupramolecularlY eNgineered arCHitectures for optoelectRonics and photONICS, 2015 – 2018) is implementing a joint training and research programme for 15 Early Stage Researchers on the synthesis, characterisation and application to photonics of supramolecularly-engineered organic materials. Such materials are incorporated in state-of-the-art photonic devices fabricated using top-quality facilities and unique expertise available within the network. The project receives funding from the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action European Training Network under the Grant Agreement 643238.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the early stages, SYNCHRONICS has focussed on the design and improvement of promising materials for photonics and optoelectronics spanning rotaxinated conjugated polymers and polyelectrolytes, perylene bisimide derivatives, porphyrin-based oligomers and lead-halide perovskites. These materials have shown exceptional optical properties, such as amplified spontaneous emission, J-aggregate superadiant emission, and have been successfully included in several applications including 3D photonic crystals, distributed Bragg reflector-based (bio)sensors, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, optical ring resonators, Gaussian-shaped defect microcavities to achieve polariton Bose–Einstein condensation.
During the first two years of funding, SYNCHRONICS has published 14 articles in high-impact factor and peer-reviewed journals (including those of the Nature Publishing Group) that overall received over 200 citations. Furthermore, SYNCHRONICS has sponsored various international and major events in the field of photonics and optoelectronics such as the 13th European Conference on Molecular Electronics (ECME) held in Strasbourg on 01-05 September 2015 and the European Optical Society Bi-Annual Meeting (EOSAM) held in Berlin on 26-30 September 2016) and organised the Advanced Optical Materials and Devices International School that has taken place in London on the 1-3 March 2016.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Among the results obtained so far within the project, we highlight the most remarkable achievements: (i) porphyrin-based organic light-emitting diodes with world record external quantum efficiency in the near infrared for a metal-free fluorescent active layer (at 850 nm, article in preparation), (ii) label-free photonic sensors for selective detection of atmospheric volatile organic compounds based on all-polymer distributed Bragg reflectors, a proof-of-concept device that paves the way for low-cost polymeric (and possibly lab-on-a-chip) sensors (doi: 10.1021/acsami.6b10809).
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