Please note that MRes admissions for October 2017 start have now closed. Admissions for October 2018 start will open in November 2017.

1-year full-time study

Course Director: Dr Piers Barnes (Physics)

Contact: MRes Director -
Administrator -

The 12-month, 90-ECTS, Bologna-compliant, MRes in Plastic Electronic Materials aims to provide a thorough foundation in the science and application of plastic electronic materials. The course is a full-time one year Masters in Research, consisting of a multidisciplinary research project, taught courses in the physics, chemistry and materials science of plastic electronic materials, practical training workshops, transferable skills courses, and regular group discussion sessions.

MRes students are also encouraged to attend regular research seminars given by the wider CPE community that are organised throughout the year, as well as colloquia targeting specialised areas, such as perovskite photovoltaics or bioelectronics.

The taught course runs between October and December, with examinations in February. Advanced and practical courses take place January to February.  The majority of project work will take place after the exams, finishing in September.


Project workClick here to view the current list of projects available for MRes students starting in the next academic year.

Cohort Mentors

The Plastic Electronics MRes has a cohort mentoring scheme whereby each student cohort has an academic member of staff as a mentor. The role of the mentor is to be a point of contact for the student throughout the course, to offer advice, and to help with any matters of a non-academic nature that may arise.

MRes Course Outline

Core Lecture Courses

The course begins in Term 1 (October-December) with a fixed lecture programme of core courses, which will be followed up in Term 2 (January-March) with advanced courses and one elective course. Each core lecture module is compulsory and the material covered is examined in February. The core courses, along with the elective courses, address the demand for the breadth of knowledge that we aim to cover.

There are four core lecture courses in Term 1, delivered by lecturers from the Chemistry, Materials and Physics departments at Imperial College:

  1. Molecular and polymer chemistry Prof Iain McCulloch (Chemistry), Prof Martin Heeney (Chemistry), Dr Christian Nielsen (Queen Mary)
    The preparation and chemical properties of electroactive materials, including small molecular charge transport materials, dyes used in solar cells, fluorescent and phosphorescent materials, and electroactive polymers. The key concepts of conjugation, synthesis and characterisation will underpin this lecture course.
  2. Materials science applied to macromolecular materials Dr Sandrine Heutz (Materials)
    General concepts of materials science with emphasis on organic molecules and polymers, introduction to materials characterisation techniques, and more specific aspects of polymeric materials science.
  3. Molecular physics, optoelectronic processes and modelling Prof Jenny Nelson (Physics) and Prof Ji-Seon Kim (Physics) 
    The physics of the electronic structure of pi-conjugated materials and their neutral, excited and charged states (excitons, polarons); their optical properties (absorption, emission, gain); photophysical processes; photochemistry; charge and exciton transport.
  4. Device physics and applications of electroactive materials Prof Alasdair Campbell (Physics), Dr Cephas Small (Materials) and Dr Piers Barnes (Physics)
    The principles of design and operation of molecular based light emitting devices, solar cells, photodiodes, thin film transistors, polymer lasers, gain media, lighting and displays. An introduction to device fabrication (including encapsulation) and device engineering for maximum performance and lifetime.

Advanced & Practical Courses

A distinctive feature of the MRes are the advanced and practical courses, each one often running over several days. These tailored courses are organised in conjunction with, and frequently hosted by, industrial and univeristy CDT partners. The courses offered will be confirmed during the year, but are likely to include:

  1. High volume printing (Welsh Centre for Printing & Coating, Swansea University)
    This two-day workshop will cover high throughput printing techniques, including inkjet, gravure, and contact printing, and including training in the methods used for the characterisation of inks and surfaces.
  2. Hybrid LED device fabrication (Queen Mary London)
    Manufacture and optoelectronic testing of hybrid LED structures (organic/ZnO nanorod active regions).
  3. Transient non-contact probes (University of Oxford)
    Transient ultrafast spectroscopic probes for photophysical energy transfer; THz conductivity for studies on ps-to-ns timescale; Confocal and scanning Raman spectroscopy.
  4. Vacuum deposition and upscaling (Univeristy of Oxford)
    This course will give cover the main technologies for vacuum deposition of organic electronics. Starting from the various methods of how the required vacuum is generated and measured the principles of most common vacuum deposition processes are described with a particular focus on organic electronics.
  5. Polymer processing (Nanoforce)
    This 2-day workshop introduces industrial polymer processing methods, including compounding, sheet/film extrusion, injection moulding, and fibre spinning, covering both low volume manufacturing to pilot plant activities.
  6. Oraganic thin film and optoelectronic device fabrication & characterisation (Imperial College, Physics)
    This week long course includes lectures and practical training. The lectures cover the theory and practical issues of thin film characteristics and device fabrication, and opto-electronic measurements. The practical training will focus on how to measure the optical properties of thin film samples correctly using a variety of techniques.
  7. OPV device fabrication (Imperial College, Chemistry)
    This three-day practical training will cover all steps in the fabrication and testing of lab-scale light-emitting diodes, photodiodes and OFETs in a clean room environment. The course includes substrate preparation, spin coating of organic layers, contact evaporation and encapsulation, followed by opto-electrical measurement.
  8. Molecular modelleing
    This two day workshop introduces some of the computational packages available for the simulation of molecular materials, including the elements of quantum chemistry calculations using Gaussian and Turbomole, molecular dynamics packages such as GROMACS, and packages for the visualisation and rendering of molecular structures.

Transferable Skills Courses

Tailored courses and lectures are offered by the Graduate School and the Plastic Electronics CDT to enhance professional and transferrable skills in the following areas:

  1. Research Ethics
    The MRes module on research ethics comprises three lectures: Fabrication and Falsification; Plagiarism; Publication and Authorship. The course is taken by Ethics specialist Marianne 
  2. Plagiarism Awareness Course
    The course is designed to provide you with guidance and information about proper citation and attribution in writing. After completing the course you should be able to explain what plagiarism is, be familiar with the concept of academic integrity, be able to explain how to avoid plagiarism and learn what the College’s policy concerning plagiarism is.
  3. Writing for Masters: Literature Review
    This course will provide advice on how to prepare and structure a literature review as well as reading efficiently and effectively. On completion, you will be able to: describe what a literature review is, employ efficient and effective reading style of the literature, compare and contrast the usefulness of different sources of literature, construct a well-reasoned coherent structure when writing the literature review.
  4. Mastering Presentations: Presentation Skills
    This course offers ideas on targeting content for an audience, slide design and delivery to meet the needs of your peers and academics including an opportunity to present in small groups. On completion of this course you will be able to: recognise the importance of knowing your audience, understand the importance of having a clear structure and content when presenting, employ various techniques to communicate your message clearly and respond to questions, design an engaging presentation, assess the quality of presentations and provide constructive feedback.
  5. Stress Management
  6. Journal Club:
    Weekly Journal Club meetings commence in the autumn term. This course aims to develop presentation skills, whilst encouraging scientific debate, and providing the opportunity to broaden scientific knowledge.  The cohort works together in a group to make a presentation about a seminal high impact paper, which is then followed by chaired discussion and debate.
  7. Outreach: 

    The tought outreach course takes place in Term 1. MRes students receive both group and individual training on techniques and preparation to publicise and present scientific work to non-specialist audiences.  These outreach activities are designed to instil important communication skills for students to draw upon throughout their careers. Outreach activities by students are strongly encouraged and supported; students are encouraged to participate in the Imperial Festival and other public engagement events. More information about the Outreach course can be found here.

All MRes studentships are aligned with a research project. View details of current projects on offer.  

The minimum academic requirement is a 2:1 undergraduate degree in physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, chemical engineering or related disciplines. We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. Further details of the MRes course, including entry requirements and English language requirements, can be found on the central College postgraduate prospectus pages.

Find out more about funding and scholarships

Apply for the MRes in Plastic Electronics Materials