Large area opto-electronics (LAOE) for Australia and India

Case study from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.

An example of large area printed OLEDs. Prototype developed at National Centre for Flexible Electronics, IIT Kanpur.

Opto-electronics is a specialised field involving electronic devices that emit or detect light. Opto-electronic devices usually have semiconductors that convert electrical energy into light or vice versa. Opto-electronic devices have wide application in many industries including telecommunications and medical equipment. Some examples of opto-electronic devices include:

  • lasers
  • optical fibres
  • flexible displays
  • touch-screens
  • wearable electronics and
  • solar cells.

Opto-electronics have enabled many of today's modern conveniences. Semiconductor-based technologies such as optoelectronics are vital for both developed and developing countries. They are the engines of electronics used in our daily lives.

Australia-India Strategic Research Fund

Associate Professor Ebinazar Namdas co-led a joint team that researched large area opto-electronics. The researchers from the University of Queensland partnered with:

  • Monash University
  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) in India
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore
  • National Centre for Flexible Electronics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

The Australian project team received $1 million from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.

The project drew on the strengths of partner institutes. It involved chemists, materials scientists, physicists, engineers and end users. It provided a pathway to commercialise fundamental research in opto-electronics.

This project:

  • developed frontier materials for light-emission and photodetectors
  • optimised novel organic semiconductor materials for use in optoelectronic devices
  • developed advanced lighting and display technology based on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and
  • built understanding of semiconductors used in optoelectronics using cutting edge techniques.

The project also improved photodiode technology. Photodiode technology is of increasing importance to the autonomous vehicle industry.

The project achieved significant social and economic benefits to both Australia and India. The project:

  • improved competency and skill in large area optoelectronics
  • developed new knowledge of the engineering and chemistry of large area optoelectronics
  • developed next-generation advanced organic semiconductor materials, OLED devices and photodetector sensors

Organic semiconductor materials developed in this project are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. It means that lighting technologies will be more accessible in advanced manufacturing sectors.

This collaborative research project strengthened international relationships. This is despite challenges faced by both countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research partners in both countries deepened scientific collaboration via:

  • regular face-to-face meetings and workshops
  • bilateral exchange of research staff
  • video networking, email exchanges and phone calls.

Their research results have been published in over 20 high-impact journals. Research results were also presented in over 10 conference papers. Patents have also arisen as a result of this project.

Outcomes from this research are

  • the potential for lower electricity costs
  • next-generation photo sensors for digital cameras and
  • advanced materials for lighting technology.

The project resulted in new collaborative relationships with other partners in:

  • Australia
  • India
  • the United Kingdom
  • Japan.

The project skilled up a future workforce of PhD students and postdoctorates. The project equipped scientists and engineers with the skills needed for delivery of the new technology.

Team leaders

Australian Team Leader:

Associate Professor Ebinazar B. Namdas, University of Queensland

Indian Team Leader:

Professor Ayyappanpillai Ajayaghosh, CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST)