UNB News
News and stories from one of Canada’s top universities

Making more affordable and accessible electronic devices

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Sep 11, 2019

Category: UNB Fredericton

Dr. Barry A. Blight, an associate professor from the faculty of science at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton, is interested in taking advantage of the fundamental assembly of molecules in nature to develop more efficient, affordable and accessible electronic devices. The interactions and assemblies that he’s focusing on are similar to those found in protein folding and DNA assembly.

His main goal is to make smart-materials and similar electronics, such as solar materials and transistors, more accessible and affordable for people across the globe. In addition to first-world applications, smart-materials are also becoming increasingly useful in developing countries as tools for assessing the potability of water sources and nutrition of soils for agriculture.

“A basic science principle is that certain levels of energy emit different colors from the visible color spectrum,” says Dr. Blight. “The color spectrum ranges from ultraviolet to infrared, or high energy emitting to low energy emitting, respectively. Since heat is a form of energy, we can consider the flames in a fire as an example: a red flame would be the coldest, while a blue flame would be the hottest.”

By researching how changing the assembly of the molecules can change the color they emit, we can change the energy and the overall interaction of the molecules and additional related properties.

“For the sake of simplicity, these molecular assemblies can be represented as two main components: a host-molecule and a guest-molecule,” says Dr. Blight. “These two components work like puzzle pieces in a reversible chemical process. The guest-molecule approaches the host and fits in the complementary active-site, like puzzle pieces clicking together.”

Although Dr. Blight’s team has not built this technology into a device yet, they have proven it will work using electroluminescence—a phenomenon that can be seen on your mobile phone display.

Media contact: Angie Deveau

Photo credit: A. Bosse, CBC NB