Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Research: inorganic chemistry, molecular conductors and magnets
Melanie Pilkington is turning the world of inorganic chemistry upside down.
The Canada Research Chair in Novel Hybrid Materials has taken a “bottom up” approach to preparing electronic materials that could lead to smaller, lighter components for electronic devises such as plastic transistors.
Using silicon-based components to manufacture electronic goods has limitations in making miniature versions of items such as computer processing chips. When the components get too small they start to leak current, making them ineffective at retaining digital information.
Pilkington’s research group modifies molecules in a way that makes them suitable for creating a nanostructure that can conduct electricity. Organizing these molecules in one, two or three dimensions is a challenge because it cannot be fully controlled. Using X-ray crystallography helps the researchers understand their physical properties in a solid state. As a result, this innovative approach could be a catalyst for greater collaboration with the industries of our region.
Pilkington is currently collaborating with researchers at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada to develop tiny electronic devices that can be incorporated into display media that will have the properties of paper, but which will integrate seamlessly into the digital world.