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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R00188X/1
Principal Investigator: Fuchter, Dr MJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cambridge Display Technology Ltd (CDT) University of Cambridge
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 March 2018 Ends: 28 February 2023 Value (£): 1,584,212
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Synthetic Methodology Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Sep 2017 EPSRC Physical Sciences - September 2017 Announced
17 Oct 2017 EPSRC Physical Sciences Fellowship Interview Panel October 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Chirality is a fundamental symmetry property of elemental particles, molecules or even macroscopic objects like human hands. Objects are defined as chiral if they exist as a pair of "left handed" or "right handed" mirror images that cannot be superimposed. Importantly, these two forms cannot generally be differentiated by their physical properties: the chiral handedness only becomes evident when one chiral object interacts with another chiral object. Like using your right hand to shake either the right hand (homochiral), or left hand (heterochiral) of another person will lead to different results, the interaction of a chiral molecule with another chiral molecule (or object) of the same or opposite handedness can differ.

Small molecule chirality has long provided an intellectually challenging endeavour for selective chemical synthesis and catalysis. Arguably, the inspiration behind the majority of studies in (organic) asymmetric synthesis has been biologically-relevant molecules; be it complex chiral natural products or pharmaceutically active compounds. Nature has evolved with a single handedness (homochirality) and in research, biologically relevant small molecules often require chiral structures to interact selectively with a chiral biological receptor. Since such interactions ultimately control downstream function, the importance of chirality in a biological context is abundantly clear.

Conversely, other areas of science and technology have generally not considered chirality to be important for function. In the area of organic electronic devices, a small range of non-chiral conjugated organic small molecules and polymeric materials are most frequently employed. While the technological development in this area has clearly been a successful enterprise, there is pressing need for further innovation. I believe that the unique properties of chiral materials will result in chirality becoming a central design criterion for organic conjugated small molecules and lead to new paradigms in material design, device fabrication and functional applications. I propose to exploit chiral molecular architectures where the conjugated system is an integral part of the chirality, and use such molecules in a range of materials and device contexts that will exploit chirality to control nanoscale assembly and function.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk