Bayreuth Physicist Honoured for Innovative Research into Optoelectronics
University of Bayreuth, Press release No. 144/2018, 22 November 2018
For his ground-breaking basic research into the field of optoelectronics, physicist Dr. Dominic Raithel (29) has been awarded this year’s research prize of the Bayreuth DFG research training group "Photophysics of Synthetic and Biological Multichromophoric Systems". His research results are of great relevance to the design and optimization of new optoelectronic components, like solar cells, LEDs and transistors, etc. The annual prize worth 2,000 Euros honours exceptional achievements by graduates of the research training group. This year’s recipient has been working at Infineon Technologies AG in Regensburg since October 2018.
Dr. Dominic Raithel receives the research prize of the Bayreuth DFG research training group "Photophysics of Synthetic and Biological Multichromophoric Systems". Left: Professor Jürgen Köhler, chairman of the research training group; right: Professor Richard Hildner, University of Groningen. Photo: Christian Wißler.
In his doctoral thesis, the Bayreuth physicist examined the characteristics of polythiophenes. These are long-chain organic molecules often utilized in solar cells, transistors and other optoelectronic components. Through spectroscopic analyses at temperatures down to minus 27 degrees Celsius, he was able to identify the optical and electronic characteristics of individual polymer chains. In this way, for example, he was able to determine the colour of the light these chains emit when exposed to a laser beam. Through cooperation with colleagues specialized in theoretical physics and chemistry, it was also possible to define further parameters like coherence length. This describes how far along the molecule chains the excitation energy is propagated. In this way, Dr. Dominic Raithel showed in detail, how technologically relevant characteristics of molecular chains are determined by their spatial structure – especially by the bending of their chains.
These findings formed the starting point for delving into molecular systems in which oligomers and polymers are packed tightly next to and on top of each other. In doing so, the Bayreuth physicist discovered how the interactions between neighbouring chains can be influenced by targeted structural changes. “The research findings of Dominic Raithel have made a considerable contribution to today’s improved understanding of how structural and photophysical characteristics are dependent on each other. This deeper understanding has the potential to spur on innovations in numerous areas like optoelectronics, for example in the area of organic LEDs”, physicist Prof. Dr. Richard Hildner stressed in his laudatory speech. He had supervised the work of the prize-winner at the chair of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Köhler, in the DFG research training group, but more recently has been teaching and researching at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
In his words of thanks, the recipient made particular mention of the good research environment at the University of Bayreuth: “The collaboration on campus between Polymer Chemistry, Experimental Physics, and Theoretical Physics is outstanding. Without the team spirit in our local laboratories, I would not have come to such far-reaching conclusions, and certainly not so quickly.” Besides the close cooperation with various research groups of the DFG research training group, Dr. Raithel also initiated a successful collaboration with Prof. Dr. Peter Rossky, a leading international expert in the area of theoretical chemistry at Rice University in Houstin/Texas. Resulting from the collaboration have been, among other things, two internationally well-received publications, appearing in Macromolecules and the renowned Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. One of the assessors of the submitted research described it as a “truly inspiring piece of work”.
Further to his research work, the young Bayreuth scientist also performed great service in expertly supporting Bachelor and Masters students. In addition, he was a dedicated member of the Students Council for Mathematics, Physics & Computer Science, and Vice Chairman of The Friends’ Association MPI Uni Bayreuth e.V.
Dominic Raithel: Disorder Phenomena in Conjugated Oligomers and Polymers: From Single Chains to Crystalline Aggregates. Bayreuth , 2018 . - IV, 182 pages (Dissertation, 2018, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth Graduate School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences - BayNAT). Online: https://epub.uni-bayreuth.de/3669/
Dominic Raithel et al.: Direct observation of backbone planarization via side-chain alignment in single bulky-substituted polythiophenes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America – PNAS 2018, vol. 115. no. 11, pp., 2699-2704. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1719303115
Cf. press release of the University of Bayreuth from 23 March 2018:
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Köhler
Chair Experimental Physics IV
Chairman of the DFG research training group GRK 1640
University of Bayreuth
Tel.: +49 (0)921 / 55-4000
University of Bayreuth
Universitätsstr. 30 / ZUV
Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5356