Professional Education


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Imperial College of London (2020)
  • Master of Science, Imperial College of London (2016)
  • Ph.D., Imperial College London, Polymer Chemistry (2020)
  • MSci, Imperial College London, Chemistry (2016)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications


  • Synthetic Nuances to Maximize n-Type Organic Electrochemical Transistor and Thermoelectric Performance in Fused Lactam Polymers. Journal of the American Chemical Society Marks, A., Chen, X., Wu, R., Rashid, R. B., Jin, W., Paulsen, B. D., Moser, M., Ji, X., Griggs, S., Meli, D., Wu, X., Bristow, H., Strzalka, J., Gasparini, N., Costantini, G., Fabiano, S., Rivnay, J., McCulloch, I. 2022

    Abstract

    A series of fully fused n-type mixed conduction lactam polymers p(g7NCnN), systematically increasing the alkyl side chain content, are synthesized via an inexpensive, nontoxic, precious-metal-free aldol polycondensation. Employing these polymers as channel materials in organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) affords state-of-the-art n-type performance with p(g7NC10N) recording an OECT electron mobility of 1.20 * 10-2 cm2 V-1 s-1 and a muC* figure of merit of 1.83 F cm-1 V-1 s-1. In parallel to high OECT performance, upon solution doping with (4-(1,3-dimethyl-2,3-dihydro-1H-benzoimidazol-2-yl)phenyl)dimethylamine (N-DMBI), the highest thermoelectric performance is observed for p(g7NC4N), with a maximum electrical conductivity of 7.67 S cm-1 and a power factor of 10.4 muW m-1 K-2. These results are among the highest reported for n-type polymers. Importantly, while this series of fused polylactam organic mixed ionic-electronic conductors (OMIECs) highlights that synthetic molecular design strategies to bolster OECT performance can be translated to also achieve high organic thermoelectric (OTE) performance, a nuanced synthetic approach must be used to optimize performance. Herein, we outline the performance metrics and provide new insights into the molecular design guidelines for the next generation of high-performance n-type materials for mixed conduction applications, presenting for the first time the results of a single polymer series within both OECT and OTE applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.2c00735

    View details for PubMedID 35257589

  • Organic Electrochemical Transistors: An Emerging Technology for Biosensing ADVANCED MATERIALS INTERFACES Marks, A., Griggs, S., Gasparini, N., Moser, M. 2022
  • The effect of side chain engineering on conjugated polymers in organic electrochemical transistors for bioelectronic applications JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY C He, Y., Kukhta, N. A., Marks, A., Luscombe, C. K. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d1tc05229b

    View details for Web of Science ID 000739864000001

  • Propylene and butylene glycol: new alternatives to ethylene glycol in conjugated polymers for bioelectronic applications MATERIALS HORIZONS Moser, M., Wang, Y., Hidalgo, T., Liao, H., Yu, Y., Chen, J., Duan, J., Moruzzi, F., Griggs, S., Marks, A., Gasparini, N., Wadsworth, A., Inal, S., McCulloch, I., Yue, W. 2021

    Abstract

    To date, many of the high-performance conjugated polymers employed as OECT channel materials make use of ethylene glycol (EG) chains to confer the materials with mixed ionic-electronic conduction properties, with limited emphasis placed on alternative hydrophilic moieties. While a degree of hydrophilicity is required to facilitate some ionic conduction in hydrated channels, an excess results in excessive swelling, with potentially detrimental effects on charge transport. This is therefore a subtle balance that must be optimised to maximise electrical performance. Herein a series of polymers based on a bithiophene-thienothiophene conjugated backbone was synthesised and the conventional EG chains substituted by their propylene and butylene counterparts. Specifically, the use of propylene and butylene chains was found to afford polymers with a more hydrophobic character, thereby reducing excessive water uptake during OECT operation and in turn significantly boosting the polymers' electronic charge carrier mobility. Despite the polymers' lower water uptake, the newly developed oligoether chains retained sufficiently high degrees of hydrophilicity to enable bulk volumetric doping, ultimately resulting in the development of polymers with superior OECT performance.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d1mh01889b

    View details for Web of Science ID 000732832900001

    View details for PubMedID 34935815

  • Molecular Design Strategies toward Improvement of Charge Injection and Ionic Conduction in Organic Mixed Ionic-Electronic Conductors for Organic Electrochemical Transistors. Chemical reviews Kukhta, N. A., Marks, A., Luscombe, C. K. 1800

    Abstract

    Expanding the toolbox of the biology and electronics mutual conjunction is a primary aim of bioelectronics. The organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) has undeniably become a predominant device for mixed conduction materials, offering impressive transconduction properties alongside a relatively simple device architecture. In this review, we focus on the discussion of recent material developments in the area of mixed conductors for bioelectronic applications by means of thorough structure-property investigation and analysis of current challenges. Fundamental operation principles of the OECT are revisited, and characterization methods are highlighted. Current bioelectronic applications of organic mixed ionic-electronic conductors (OMIECs) are underlined. Challenges in the performance and operational stability of OECT channel materials as well as potential strategies for mitigating them, are discussed. This is further expanded to sketch a synopsis of the history of mixed conduction materials for both p- and n-type channel operation, detailing the synthetic challenges and milestones which have been overcome to frequently produce higher performing OECT devices. The cumulative work of multiple research groups is summarized, and synthetic design strategies are extracted to present a series of design principles that can be utilized to drive figure-of-merit performance values even further for future OMIEC materials.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00266

    View details for PubMedID 34902244

  • n-Type organic semiconducting polymers: stability limitations, design considerations and applications JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY C Griggs, S., Marks, A., Bristow, H., McCulloch, I. 2021; 9 (26): 8099-8128

    Abstract

    This review outlines the design strategies which aim to develop high performing n-type materials in the fields of organic thin film transistors (OTFT), organic electrochemical transistors (OECT) and organic thermoelectrics (OTE). Figures of merit for each application and the limitations in obtaining these are set out, and the challenges with achieving consistent and comparable measurements are addressed. We present a thorough discussion of the limitations of n-type materials, particularly their ambient operational instability, and suggest synthetic methods to overcome these. This instability originates from the oxidation of the negative polaron of the organic semiconductor (OSC) by water and oxygen, the potentials of which commonly fall within the electrochemical window of n-type OSCs, and consequently require a LUMO level deeper than ∼-4 eV for a material with ambient stability. Recent high performing n-type materials are detailed for each application and their design principles are discussed to explain how synthetic modifications can enhance performance. This can be achieved through a number of strategies, including utilising an electron deficient acceptor-acceptor backbone repeat unit motif, introducing electron-withdrawing groups or heteroatoms, rigidification and planarisation of the polymer backbone and through increasing the conjugation length. By studying the fundamental synthetic design principles which have been employed to date, this review highlights a path to the development of promising polymers for n-type OSC applications in the future.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d1tc02048j

    View details for Web of Science ID 000661565300001

    View details for PubMedID 34277009

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8264852

  • n-Type Rigid Semiconducting Polymers Bearing Oligo(Ethylene Glycol) Side Chains for High-Performance Organic Electrochemical Transistors ANGEWANDTE CHEMIE-INTERNATIONAL EDITION Chen, X., Marks, A., Paulsen, B. D., Wu, R., Rashid, R. B., Chen, H., Alsufyani, M., Rivnay, J., McCulloch, I. 2021; 60 (17): 9368-9373

    Abstract

    N-type conjugated polymers as the semiconducting component of organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) are still undeveloped with respect to their p-type counterparts. Herein, we report two rigid n-type conjugated polymers bearing oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) side chains, PgNaN and PgNgN, which demonstrated an essentially torsion-free π-conjugated backbone. The planarity and electron-deficient rigid structures enable the resulting polymers to achieve high electron mobility in an OECT device of up to the 10-3  cm2  V-1  s-1 range, with a deep-lying LUMO energy level lower than -4.0 eV. Prominently, the polymers exhibited a high device performance with a maximum dimensionally normalized transconductance of 0.212 S cm-1 and the product of charge-carrier mobility μ and volumetric capacitance C* of 0.662±0.113 F cm-1  V-1  s-1 , which are among the highest in n-type conjugated polymers reported to date. Moreover, the polymers are synthesized via a metal-free aldol-condensation polymerization, which is beneficial to their application in bioelectronics.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.202013998

    View details for Web of Science ID 000627845300001

    View details for PubMedID 33368944

  • Reversible Electrochemical Charging of n-Type Conjugated Polymer Electrodes in Aqueous Electrolytes. Journal of the American Chemical Society Szumska, A. A., Maria, I. P., Flagg, L. Q., Savva, A., Surgailis, J., Paulsen, B. D., Moia, D., Chen, X., Griggs, S., Mefford, J. T., Rashid, R. B., Marks, A., Inal, S., Ginger, D. S., Giovannitti, A., Nelson, J. 2021

    Abstract

    Conjugated polymers achieve redox activity in electrochemical devices by combining redox-active, electronically conducting backbones with ion-transporting side chains that can be tuned for different electrolytes. In aqueous electrolytes, redox activity can be accomplished by attaching hydrophilic side chains to the polymer backbone, which enables ionic transport and allows volumetric charging of polymer electrodes. While this approach has been beneficial for achieving fast electrochemical charging in aqueous solutions, little is known about the relationship between water uptake by the polymers during electrochemical charging and the stability and redox potentials of the electrodes, particularly for electron-transporting conjugated polymers. We find that excessive water uptake during the electrochemical charging of polymer electrodes harms the reversibility of electrochemical processes and results in irreversible swelling of the polymer. We show that small changes of the side chain composition can significantly increase the reversibility of the redox behavior of the materials in aqueous electrolytes, improving the capacity of the polymer by more than one order of magnitude. Finally, we show that tuning the local environment of the redox-active polymer by attaching hydrophilic side chains can help to reach high fractions of the theoretical capacity for single-phase electrodes in aqueous electrolytes. Our work shows the importance of chemical design strategies for achieving high electrochemical stability for conjugated polymers in aqueous electrolytes.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.1c06713

    View details for PubMedID 34469688

  • O-17 NMR spectroscopy as a tool to study hydrogen bonding of cholesterol in lipid bilayers CHEMICAL COMMUNICATIONS Rowlands, L. J., Marks, A., Sanderson, J. M., Law, R. 2020; 56 (92): 14499-14502

    Abstract

    Cholesterol is a crucial component of biological membranes and can interact with other membrane components through hydrogen bonding. NMR spectroscopy has been used previously to investigate this bonding, however this study represents the first 17O NMR spectroscopy study of isotopically enriched cholesterol. We demonstrate the 17O chemical shift is dependent on hydrogen bonding, providing a novel method for the study of cholesterol in bilayers.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d0cc05466f

    View details for Web of Science ID 000591568400037

    View details for PubMedID 33150883

  • Polaron Delocalization in Donor-Acceptor Polymers and its Impact on Organic Electrochemical Transistor Performance. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) Moser, M. n., Savva, A. n., Thorley, K. n., Paulsen, B. D., Hidalgo, T. C., Ohayon, D. n., Chen, H. n., Giovannitti, A. n., Marks, A. n., Gasparini, N. n., Wadsworth, A. n., Rivnay, J. n., Inal, S. n., McCulloch, I. n. 2020

    Abstract

    Donor-acceptor (D-A) polymers are promising materials for organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs), as they minimize detrimental faradaic side-reactions during OECT operation, yet their steady-state OECT performance still lags far behind their all-donor counterparts. Here, we report three D-A polymers based on the diketopyrrolopyrrole unit that afford OECT performances similar to those of all-donor polymers, hence representing a significant improvement to the previously developed D-A copolymers. In addition to improved OECT performance, DFT simulations of the polymers and their respective hole polarons also revealed a positive correlation between hole polaron delocalization and steady-state OECT performance, providing new insights into the design of OECT materials. More importantly, we demonstrate how polaron delocalization can be tuned directly at the molecular level by selection of the building blocks comprising the polymers' conjugated backbone, thus paving the way for the development of even higher performing OECT polymers.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.202014078

    View details for PubMedID 33259685

  • Polaron spin dynamics in high-mobility polymeric semiconductors NATURE PHYSICS Schott, S., Chopra, U., Lemaur, V., Melnyk, A., Olivier, Y., Di Pietro, R., Romanov, I., Carey, R. L., Jiao, X., Jellett, C., Little, M., Marks, A., McNeill, C. R., McCulloch, I., McNellis, E. R., Andrienko, D., Beljonne, D., Sinova, J., Sirringhaus, H. 2019; 15 (8): 814-+
  • Long spin diffusion lengths in doped conjugated polymers due to enhanced exchange coupling (vol 2, pg 98, 2019) NATURE ELECTRONICS Wang, S., Venkateshvaran, D., Mahani, M. R., Chopra, U., McNellis, E. R., Di Pietro, R., Schott, S., Wittmann, A., Schweicher, G., Cubukcu, M., Kang, K., Carey, R., Wagner, T. J., Siebrecht, J. M., Wong, D. H., Jacobs, I. E., Aboljadayel, R. O., Ionescu, A., Egorov, S. A., Mueller, S., Zadvorna, O., Skalski, P., Jellett, C., Little, M., Marks, A., McCulloch, I., Wunderlich, J., Sinova, J., Sirringhaus, H. 2019; 2 (7): 313
  • Critical review of the molecular design progress in non-fullerene electron acceptors towards commercially viable organic solar cells CHEMICAL SOCIETY REVIEWS Wadsworth, A., Moser, M., Marks, A., Little, M. S., Gasparini, N., Brabec, C. J., Baran, D., McCulloch, I. 2019; 48 (6): 1596-1625

    Abstract

    Fullerenes have formed an integral part of high performance organic solar cells over the last 20 years, however their inherent limitations in terms of synthetic flexibility, cost and stability have acted as a motivation to develop replacements; the so-called non-fullerene electron acceptors. A rapid evolution of such materials has taken place over the last few years, yielding a number of promising candidates that can exceed the device performance of fullerenes and provide opportunities to improve upon the stability and processability of organic solar cells. In this review we explore the structure-property relationships of a library of non-fullerene acceptors, highlighting the important chemical modifications that have led to progress in the field and provide an outlook for future innovations in electron acceptors for use in organic photovoltaics.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/c7cs00892a

    View details for Web of Science ID 000462633900004

    View details for PubMedID 29697109

  • Crystal Engineering of Dibenzothiophenothieno[3,2-b]thiophene (DBTTT) Isomers for Organic Field-Effect Transistors CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS Chen, H., Schweicher, G., Planells, M., Ryno, S. M., Broch, K., White, A. P., Simatos, D., Little, M., Jellett, C., Cryer, S. J., Marks, A., Hurhangee, M., Bredas, J., Sirringhaus, H., McCulloch, I. 2018; 30 (21): 7587-7592