Xiaocui Wu, University of Warwick

Curriculum Vitae

Xiaocui Wu, PhD

  • Education

Sept. 2011 – Jun. 2015 - Bachelor of Nuclear Engineering, IFCEN, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, China.

Sept. 2015 – Jun. 2017 - Master of Nuclear Engineering & Technology, Sino-French Institute of Nuclear Energy (IFCEN), Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, China.

Oct. 2017 –Sept. 2020 - PhD in Physical Chemistry, CNRS-Chimie Paristech, PSL University, Paris, France.

  • Experience

Nov. 2020 - Research associate in Physical Chemistry, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Pais, France.

Dec. 2020 – Sept. 2021 - Research associate in Surface Physics, Department of Experimental Physics, Technische Universität Ilmenau, Ilmenau, Germany.

Imaging structural and electronic properties of conjugated polymers

The majority of conjugated polymers employed in healthcare, electronics, and energy applications are based on complex chemical compositions and structures obtained through multi- and co-polymerization techniques. The success of these materials relies on the versatility of polymer chemistry as it enables the targeting of specific architectures, electronic properties, and therefore, functions. However, the increased complexity of the materials also increases the challenges in determining their detailed chemical structure, their function directing microstructure, and their detailed electronic characteristics. Traditional analytical techniques used in polymer science (crystallography, magnetic resonance, chromatography) are often struggling to precisely characterize modern conjugated polymers and this represents a significant limitation to progress in the field.

Here we propose to solve this fundamental problem by using the ultimate spatial resolution of scanning probe microscopy and its ability to provide images and local electronic properties of molecules with sub-monomer precision. Based on a recent breakthrough of the host lab in submolecular resolution imaging of conjugated polymers, this project intends to achieve unprecedented insight into the composition, structure, and electronic properties of these functional macromolecules. Following this approach, conjugated polymers will be sequenced by simple visual inspection of their images, revealing details inaccessible to standard characterizations methods such as the structure of polymerization defects and the spatial distribution of their molecular orbitals.