News Blog

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PhD Student Workshop: Business Awareness for Scientists

Posted on Wed, Jan 30, 2019

For the fourth consecutive year, we continue our industrial-academic collaboration with the EPSRC 'New & Sustainable Photovoltaics' Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT-PV). We hosted the newest cohort of PhD students in the Ossila headquarters (the very first time!) for a one-day interactive workshop on business training for scientists.

The students arrived at our offices in the morning for a short tea and coffee reception before the day's activities began. Dr. James Kingsley (our Managing Director) then kicked off the workshop with a brief introduction of Ossila's ethos, mission, and product range.

Following that, Dr. Kingsley led a Q&A session in which he shared practical business advice from his decade of experience as a scientist running a fast-paced SME. This covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • the importance of ensuring that product R&D is customer-oriented
  • the complexities and pros/cons of navigating intellectual property and patents
  • the benefits of having simplified direct relationships with customers and suppliers

PhD students from the EPSRC CDT-PV visiting Ossila for a business training workshop
EPSRC CDT-PV students speaking to members of Ossila staff.

To give the students a first-hand look into the everyday workings of Ossila, they were taken on an office tour. During this, members of staff explained what their responsibilities involved, and how the different roles of each department contribute toward running a profitable business.

In the second half of the workshop, the students were given the opportunity to put the knowledge they'd gained from that morning into practice. They participated in a group brainstorming activity for a mock product pitch. Their ideas were then shared in two-way feedback sessions with members of Ossila's R&D team, and the workshop then concluded in the late afternoon.

Ms. Elena Cassella, PhD student and workshop participant shared some words on her experience:

"Ossila’s business training workshop provided us with great insight into the commercial side of science through the eyes of a high-tech SME. It was good to build on a previous business-theory course and learn about the practical aspects of running an SME in the science  and technology industry. 

For me, it was eye-opening to learn how much goes into developing an idea - from a back-of-the-envelope sketch, through a prototype design. and into a finished product on the market. The mock product pitch really reinforced these ideas by challenging us to consider target markets, cost-awareness, and the practicalities of product design . It was great to see that an idea resulting from a quick brainstorm from a bunch of PhD students actually held market potential!

A big thank you to all of the team at Ossila for a great day!"

The team at Ossila understand the importance of bridging the gap between scientific academia and industry, so we wholeheartedly enjoy conducting workshops like this. If you are interested in similar collaborations with us, please contact us!

Ossila's PhD Student Achieves High-Efficiency Slot-Die Coated OLEDs

Posted on Tue, Jan 15, 2019

After his completing his secondment at Ossila, our Excilight PhD student Amruth has been working hard to publish a paper on his efforts to slot-die coat organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). We are excited to announce that his research, titled 'Slot-Die Coating of Double Polymer Layers for the Fabrication of Organic Light Emitting Diodes'  has been published in Micromachines, 10(1), 53.

Amruth using the Ossila Slot-Die Coater.

In this work, Amruth covers the optimisation process for slot-die coating the solution-processed layers used in OLEDs. The OLEDs are made up of a commonly-used system involving a blend of F8BT and PFO deposited onto a PEDOT:PSS hole-transport layer. Alongside this optimisation process, he compares the properties of these thin films and devices against spin-coated references, showing that films deposited via slot-die coating are comparable to those deposited via spin coating. The Ossila Slot-Die Coater was used in this paper.

The basic OLED architecture was comprised of a hole-transport material (HTM) layer and semiconductor emissive layer sandwiched between the two electrodes. Both of these organic layers were deposited by slot-die coating. The OLED efficiency achieved via the slot-die coating method in this paper was found to be 17 times higher than in a 2017 paper for similar OLEDs that used a slot-die coated F8BT layer.

If you are interested in learning more about the slot-die coating technique, you can read the guides below:


New Guest Post: What is an OLED?

Posted on Thu, Jan 10, 2019

OLED stack structure
Structure of an OLED. (Source: OLED-info)

For our first post of 2019, we have jointly collaborated with OLED-info to bring you an introductory guide to OLEDs!

OLEDs are a next-generation display technology. They are quickly becoming more popular in our everyday lives due to their advantages over LCD displays (e.g. incredibly high image quality and contrast).

If you want to learn more about the science behind this emerging technology and the various applications it has, you can read all about it in this new guide: What is an OLED?

New Guide Available: Molybdenum Disulfide

Posted on Fri, Dec 21, 2018

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is an inorganic compound that is made up of molybdenum and sulfur. Oxygen and dilute acids do not have any effect on it, as it is a fairly unreactive compound. It is a member of the group of materials called 'Transition metal dichalcogenides' (TMDCs). A key characteristic shared amongst TMDCs in their bulk crystal form is that they have weak interlayer bonds (known as 'van der Waals').

Following on from the soaring interest around graphene, MoS2 has also been garnering a lot of interest from researchers due the fascinating electrical, optical, and mechanical properties held by its monolayers. Monolayer MoS2 also has several advantages over graphene, as it has a direct bandgap (graphene has an indirect bandgap).

To learn more about the properties and applications of Molybdenum Disulfide, you can read our latest guide: Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2): Theory & Applications

Meet Mary, Our Latest PhD Student Collaborator!

Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2018

As scientists ourselves, we understand the importance of scientific collaboration between industry and academia. Over the years, we've worked together with various research groups and taken many PhD students on board with us. The latest PhD student collaborator to join us is Mary O'Kane!

Mary Ossila PhD student

Mary recently completed a internship with us. She has since started her PhD in Perovskites at the University of Sheffield with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in New & Sustainable Photovoltaics (CDT-PV), also in collaboration with Ossila.

As part of this collaboration, Mary will continue to work with Ossila and produce theory guides for readers - so keep an eye out for those by subscribing to our newsletter, or following us on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter!

During her internship at Ossila, Mary worked with our Dip Coater. Her main task was to use the Dip Coater to create uniform thin films with varying concentrations of PEDOT:PSS (AI 4083). We roped Mary in for a quick chat so you can find out more about her internship!

What did you work on during your internship?

Mary: My main task was to dip coat substrates with uniform thin films of various thicknesses, using different concentrations of PEDOT:PSS (AI 4083) solution and varying the temperature of the solution. I started by carrying out theoretical research on dip coating and looked up many different recipes. As it was my first time ever dip coating, it was very much a trial and error process!

Can you tell us about your experience with dip coating?

M: I didn't have much practical lab experience to begin with - most of my time in the lab previously was spent observing other researchers conduct experiments. However, l found the Dip Coater software really user-friendly and straightforward, so it was easy getting started after doing some research for beginners! Dip coating is a simple technique, and it is a great choice for when you want to scale up your device fabrication.

Ossila PhD student, Mary, working on substrates in the lab
Working with devices in the lab.

As a beginner, which feature of the Dip Coater did you find most useful?

M: I really liked how there was an option for automatic programming. It was useful because it lowers the chance of human error and increases the reproducibility. Also, as I was trying out quite a few different recipes, the automatic programming gave me confidence that any variability in my coated films was due to the different parameters I was testing, and not because I made a human error somewhere along the way!


What have you enjoyed most about your time here?

M: There was a lot of open collaboration going on. My colleagues were friendly and always willing to help whenever I had questions. My ideas and suggestions - including a few that I presented based on my experience with the Dip Coater - were always welcomed!

Ossila PhD student, Mary, using a glovebox
Coating substrates in a glovebox.

Can you let us know the area of research that your PhD focuses on?

M: My PhD focuses on perovskite solar cell (PSC) fabrication. A good thing about PSCs is that all of their layers can be solution-processed (e.g. dip coating). They've also achieved efficiencies similar to those of silicon solar cells. This makes PSCs a great candidate for large-scale manufacturing - I will be studying the feasibility of that. I think that's the plan anyway... I hear the "plan" can change a lot as you go through!


If you are a hardworking & ambitious individual who is interested in doing a placement, secondment, or internship at Ossila, please contact us.

New Customer Case Study: Power Roll

Posted on Fri, Dec 07, 2018

Award-winning startup Power Roll aims to successfully commercialise their innovative solar photovoltaic energy generation and storage technologies. Lightweight, flexible, and more affordable, Power Roll are confident that their technologies will prove extremely disruptive across various applications and markets worldwide.

For over 3 years, Power Roll have been valued customers of Ossila. They have kindly allowed us to share their story of how Ossila materials and equipment have played a major part in Power Roll's journey to commercialisation.

To learn more about how Ossila products have helped Power Roll save time, money, and increase the efficiency of their device fabrication processes, you can visit this link for the full story and video: Customer Case Study: Power Roll


New Product Upgrade: Solar Cell I-V Test System

Posted on Fri, Nov 30, 2018

The newly-upgraded Solar Cell I-V Test System is launching soon!

In December, the Ossila I-V Curve Measurement System will be upgraded. It will also be renamed to the Ossila Solar Cell I-V Test System. Both the manual and multiplexed versions of the systems will be upgraded to incorporate our new X200 Source Measure Unit - bringing greater performance, extra features, and increased usability. 

Key Upgrades & Improvements

A more relevant product name: We will rename the I-V Curve Measurement System to the Solar Cell I-V Test System. After some careful consideration, our R&D team chose this name because it is a more relevant description of the system's intended function and capabilities.

New solar cell measurement: As requested by many customers, this system now allows you to perform stabilised current measurements on your solar cells. All you need to do is set a voltage and measure device current over time, then customise the measurement for your experimental needs.

Increased maximum current capacity: The Solar Cell I-V System is now capable of delivering a maximum current of 150 mA (compared to the previous maximum of 100 mA).

Larger current ranges: The maximum current capacity of the other four ranges has also increased, meaning you can now measure higher currents before needing to change range.

Software-controlled current ranges: For safety and convenience, the current range switches can be controlled using the included PC software - so there is no need for manual adjustment.

Sleek, durable casing: The system is now completely encased in a static-free metal casing, which protects the internal circuitry.


Stay tuned for more updates!

New Guide Available: Black Phosphorus (Phosphorene)

Posted on Tue, Nov 20, 2018

Black phosphorus is one of the four allotropes of elemental phosphorus.  A monolayer of black phosphorus is known as phosphorene, in the same way that graphene is a monolayer of graphite. The term is also often used to describe several stacked monolayers, alternatively known as ‘few-layer phosphorene’ or ‘few-layer black phosphorus’.

Phosphorene was only isolated in 2014 via mechanical exfoliation. Due to the fascinating properties it possesses (e.g. a widely tunable bandgap), phosphorene is set to be the next "wonder" material in 2D optoelectronics. You can learn more about the brilliant properties and applications of phosphorene in Ossila's new guide: Black Phosphorus (Phosphorene).


New Product Upgrade: Four-Point Probe System

Posted on Fri, Nov 09, 2018

The newly-upgraded Ossila Four-Point Probe System has officially launched!


If you are looking for a quick, accurate, and easy method for measuring the sheet resistances of various materials, this system is all that you need. This latest version is built on our new X200 Source Measure Unit.

Key Upgrades & Improvements

Sleek, durable casing: The system is now completely encased in a static-free metal casing, which protects the internal circuitry.

Current range capacity increased: The Four-Point Probe System is now capable of delivering a maximum current of 150 mA (compared to the previous maximum of 100 mA).

Measure even lower sheet resistances: Following on from the point above, the system is now able to detect smaller voltage changes. As a result, you can now measure sheet resistances as low as 3 mΩ/□ (compared to the previous minimum of 10 mΩ/□).

Software-controlled current ranges: For safety and convenience, the current range switches can be controlled using the included PC software - so there is no need for manual adjustment.

Even higher accuracy: Negative polarity measurements can now be performed using the PC software - enabling you to calculate the average sheet resistance between positive and negative currents. This eliminates any voltage offsets that may have occurred, hence increasing the accuracy of your measurements. 




New Dip Coating Guide Available: Troubleshooting Defects

Posted on Thu, Oct 25, 2018

Dip coating is an incredibly simple yet effective technique for the fabrication of thin films. Affordable to set up and maintain, dip coating enables you to easily control key factors (e.g. film thickness) to produce thin films with extremely high uniformity. 


During the withdrawal phase of dip coating, the liquid either falls back into the reservoir due to gravitational forces, or is drawn up with the substrate due to surface forces.


In order to get high-quality films from dip coating, parameters (e.g. dwell/drying time, withdrawal speed) must be optimised. Additionally, atmospheric factors (e.g. cleanliness, humidity, temperature) can also influence film quality and must be monitored closely during the dip coating process. If these critical parameters and factors are not accounted for, defects can occur in the resulting thin films.

The latest guide from Ossila explains why these defects occur. It will also teach you how to identify and rectify different types of defects so that you can begin to fabricate reproducible, high-quality thin films.

You can read this guide here - Dip Coating: Troubleshooting Defects

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