A/Professor Chris McNeill

Professor Chris McNeill

Professor, Materials Science and Engineering & ARC Future Fellow & VESKI Innovation Fellow
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Room 107, 20 Research Way, Clayton

Chris McNeill joined the Materials Science and Engineering Department in March 2011. He has a PhD in experimental physics, with five and a half years post-doctoral research experience working at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. His interested include organic electronic devices such as polymer solar cells and organic field-effect transistors, as well as structural characterisation of organic semiconductor films using synchrotron-based techniques. He has been awarded a number of high-profile fellowships including an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship to support his work in Cambridge, an ARC Future Fellowship and a veski innovation fellowship to enable him to establish his research activities in Australia.



  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • B.Sc. (Hons I)
  • B. Math


Conjugated Polymers, Device Physics, NEXAFS, Organic Field-Effect Transistors, Organic Semiconductors, Polymer Solar Cells, Synchrotron Radiation, X-Ray Microscopy


Member of Scientific Advisory Panel of Energy & Environment Science.

Research Projects

Not started projects

Investigation of correlated domain sizes in thin organic electronic thin films

Current projects

Large Area Opto-Electronics (LAOE) for Australia and India

Semiconductor-based technologies are vital for the developed and developing world and are the engines of electronics used in our daily lives. Large Area Opto-electronic (LAOE) organic semiconductors are a rapidly evolving technology because of their unique features such as low embedded energy manufacturing, efficiency, and environmental friendliness. Australian and Indian scientists, and industry, will advance LAOE into the commercial arena in the areas of OLED lighting and photo-sensors.

Utilising anisotropic thermal expansion in organic semiconductor thin films

This proposal seeks to capitalise upon the recent discovery of negative thermal expansion in high performance organic semiconductor films. Due to the chemical structure of certain molecules that have a planar conjugated core and flexible sidechains, highly anisotropic thermal expansion occurs with most of thermal expansion taken up by the sidechains. In certain circumstances a negative thermal expansion occurs with the pi-pi stacking distance decreasing upon annealing. This effect has been linked with higher charge mobilities, with a tighter molecular packing being locked in upon cooling. Combining chemical synthesis and materials science, this proposal seeks to exploit this effect to create a new generation of high performance materials.

Past projects

Molecular weight stratification in solution-processed conjugated polymer films

The aim of this experiment is to use Neutron and X‐ray Reflectometry (NR, XRR) to detect molecular weight stratification in solution‐processed thin films of P(NDI2OD‐T2). By using 3 batches of deuterated P(NDI2ODT2) with different molecular weight and blending with non‐deuterated samples, neutron contrast will be achieved between polymer chains of different molecular weight that are otherwise chemically indistinct.

Unravelling structure-function relationships in high mobility donor-acceptor co-polymers

A new generation of high-mobility semiconducting polymers has emerged in recent years whose molecular structure consists of alternating electron-rich and electron-poor units. The origin of the high mobility of these donor-acceptor co-polymers is unclear. Through strategic collaboration with polymer chemists and the use of advanced microstructural characterisation this project seeks to understand from the molecular to the mesoscopic the structural factors responsible for imparting the functionality of these materials. The knowledge gained will facilitate informed molecular engineering to enable the development of low-cost, printed devices based on organic field-effect transistors such as flexible displays, smart cards and sensors.

Nanostructuring and nanocharacterisation of organic semiconductor devices

The objective of the proposed work is to utilise nanoimprint lithography, a scalable and manufacturable technology, for the fabrication of polymer photovoltaic devices with controlled morphologies for decoupling of the influences of morphology and materials properties. Nanoimprint lithography will also be used to nanostructure electrodes for enhanced light absorption via coupling of incident light to surface plasmon modes. This programme will also continue the development and exploitation of advanced techniques based on soft x-rays for the characterisation of organic semiconductor films important for understanding the link between film microstructure and the operation of devices such as organic field-effect transistors.

Ultrafast Science Facility: manipulating and probing matter on fs timescales with microscopic resolution

Knowledge of dynamics that occur on femtosecond timescales is essential for a detailed understanding of many important processes in physics, chemistry and biology. This facility will enable unprecendented insight into the mechanisms driving such processes through complementary capabilities to manioulate and probe transfer, efficient operation of organic electronics redox reactions in biological systems and the manipulation of material properties by intense fs-laser pulses. the unique capabilities of this facility will also allow the development of novel device structures and the limits of the characterisation techniques to be pushed.

Structure formation in photovoltaic polymer blends probed by resonant scattering

Experimental visit to the ALS – Advanced Light Source – Berkeley California

Nanostructures and nanocharacterisation of organic semiconductor devices

Stanford research systems SR lock-in amplifer

Laurell technologies spin-coater for organic electronics research

Research articles, papers & publications

See Chris’s research contributions through published book chapters, articles, journal papers and in the media.

Last modified: January 4, 2019