Spin coating imaging
This page briefly highlights the spin coating imaging work Richard was involved with during his undergraduate degree in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Sheffield, otherwise known as the “optostrobometer” to colleagues in the department.
Spin coating is one of a number of methods to produce thin uniform films of polymer on a substrate and is commonly used in the semiconductor industries. However, when multiple polymers are dissolved in a common solvent to form a blend, at some point during drying these polymers may phase separate and result in self-forming polymer morphologies. Such self-forming morphologies, if understood and controlled, have potential utility in areas such as organic solar cells.
This and follow on work took place over two undergraduate summer projects, with the work highlighted here principally part of a SURE (“Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience”) project in 2010, led by Professor Jonathan Howse and Dr Stephen Ebbens. Richard designed the electronics for this setup which allowed real time imaging of spin coating processes, and ultimately, colleagues applied interferometry to this to achieve measurements of film thickness during spin coating, revealing the structural development of morphology as a multi-component polymer blend dried.
This work resulted in a number of publications – see the “Publications and Outputs” page.