Funding

Our research group has an ongoing research program investigating and creating conducting polymers.  We receive funding for both fundamental and applied research projects related to a wide range of scientific and engineering fields. 

NSF Solar Fuels

Dr. Freund has joined the NSF funded CCI-Solar Fuels as a new investigator.   His group will recieve two years of funding from NSF to support research into membrane design for artificial photosynthetic devices as part of the larger team of PIs.  

High-Resolution Electron Microscopes

This project involves a partnership between Western Economic Diversification, FEI, the Province of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba to create a world-class facility for materials characterization.  The investment will result in a suite of state-of-the-art electron microscopes including a Nova NanoSEM, a Quanta and a Talos TEM.  

Advanced Nanostructures for Electronic and Photosynthetic Applications

This award from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund will secure infrastructure including a chemical vapor deposition system for the synthesis of semiconductor micro- and nano-structures and an electronic probe station for the characterization of the semiconductor structures as well as electronic devices. By enabling the growth and characterization of semiconductor nanostructures, which will be key elements in the next generation of electronics and photosynthetic systems, this investment will maintains theUniversity's program in electronic materials at an internationally competitive level. 

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair for Conducting Polymers and Electronic Materials

The Canada Research Chairs program focuses on supporting research excellence and to increase Canada’s international competitiveness.  The advancement of Dr. Freund’s CRC will provide 7 years of funding that will be used for teaching load reduction, the support of a postdoctoral scholar and administrative support.  This support from the CRC program and the University allows our group to expand our research focus and pursue collaborative research projects that would otherwise not be possible.

NSERC Discovery and Accelerator Award

This NSERC Discovery Grant providees 5-years of operating funds for our research group.  It supports basic research focused on creating new conducting polymers for enhanced and useful properties.  The result of this fundamental research feeds into our various applied research projects including NSERC supported Strategic Projects as well as projects funded by industry and government laboratories.  The funding is key for supporting the activity of our group and the training of the students who work with us.

We were fortunate to recieve one of the few Discovery Accelerator Suppliments that provides additional funds over the next three years to enhance training and research in the area of electronics and solar energy conversion.

International Collaboration for Developing New Clean and Renewable Energy Systems

This three year project is lead by Dr. Freund and involves two co-investigators from the University of Manitoba (Dr. Thomson and Dr. Hegmann) as well as members of Caltech’s  Powering the Planet Center for Chemical Innovation (Lewis, Gray and Brunschwig).  The goal is to address current technological hurtles for the creation of an artificial photosynthetic system that is both efficient and cost effective.  Funding comes from the Province of Manitoba’s Science and Technology International Collaboration Fund and supports three graduate students and two postdoctoral scholars at the University of Manitoba.  Matching funds have been provided by Caltech to fund personnel in their institution.

Clean and Renewable Energy Systems

News Release: Renewable energy program with Caltech

M. McDonald and M. S. Freund*: “A Novel Conducting Polymer-Heteropoly Acid Hybrid Material for Artificial Photosynthetic Membranes” ACS Appl. Mat. & Interfaces DOI: 10.1021/am1010223.

I. Yahyaie, K. McEleney, M. Walter, D. Oliver, D. J. Thomson, M. S. Freund*, N. S. Lewis*:  “Electrical Characterization of Si-Microwires and their Junction with Conducting Polymer Composites” J. Phys. Chem. lett. 2: 675–680 (2011)

S. L. McFarlane, B. A. Day, K. McEleney, M. S. Freund*, N. S. Lewis*: “Designing Electronic/Ionic Conducting Membranes for Artificial Photosynthesis” Energy Environ. Sci., 4: 1700 – 1703 (2011) Cover Article

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair for Conducting Polymers and Electronic Materials


The Canada Research Chairs program focuses on supporting research excellence and to increase Canada’s international competitiveness.

The renewal of Dr. Freund’s CRC will provide 5 additional years of funding that will be used for teaching load reduction, the support of a postdoctoral scholar and administrative support.  This support from the CRC program and the University allows our group to expand our research focus and pursue collaborative research projects that would otherwise not be possible.

Fabrication and Characterization of Self-Assembled Soft and Nanoscale Materials

This award from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund, lead by Dr. Torsten Hegmann with Dr. Freund as a co-investigator has allowed the purchase of a combined small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and wide-angle x-ray scattering (WAXS) instrument for studying the structure and ordering of materials at the nanoscale level.  This instrument will play a key role in the development of conducting polymer thin films for electronic applications as well as composite conducting polymer membranes for artificial photosynthesis. 

SAXS/WAXS is an x-ray scattering technique that allows the structural determination of ordered systems down to the nanoscale.  It can be used to study liquid crystals, polymers and proteins.

Field Modulated Conducting Polymers for Nanoelectronics


This NSERC funded Strategic Research Grant lead by Dr. Thomson and involving Dr. Freund and Dr. Buchanan is focused on developing new conducting polymer-based composites for electronic applications.  By controlling the movement of ions within the polymer it is possible to alter the conductivity of the material in the solid state.  Because the conductivity lasts after the field is removed, the movement of ions can be used as an memory bit. 

The cross-bar structure is used to deposit the conducting polymer across a 200 nanometer spacer.  An electrical potential is applied between the two to modulate the conductivity.

J. H. Zhao, D. J. Thomson*, M. Pilapil, R. G. Pillai, G. M. A. Rahman and M. S Freund*: “Field Enhanced Charge Carrier Reconfiguration in Electronic and Ionic-coupled Dynamic Polymer Resistive Memory” Nanotechnology, 21: 134003 (2010

G. M. A. Rahman, J. H. Zhao, D. J. Thomson, and M. S. Freund: “Compensation Doping in Conjugated Polymers: Engineering Dopable  Heterojunctions for Modulating Conductivity in the Solid State” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131: 15600-15601 (2009)

J. H. Zhao, D. J. Thomson, R. Gopalakrishna Pillai and  M. S. Freund “Dynamic resistive crossbar memory based on conjugated polymer composite” Appl. Phys. Lett. 94: 092113 (2009)

R. Gopalakrishna Pillai, J. H. Zhao, M. S. Freund and D. J. Thomson: “Field-induced Carrier Generation in Conjugated Polymer Semiconductors for Dynamic, Asymmetric Junctions” Adv. Mat., 20: 49-53 (2008)

Design, Fabrication and Evaluation of an Integrated CO2 -Odour Sensor for Grain Quality Monitoring

This three year NSERC funded Strategic Research Grant, lead by Dr. Jayas and involving Drs. Freund, Thomson, Shafai and White is focused on developing conducting polymer based sensors for monitoring spoilage in grains.  The funding supports four graduate students working on various aspects of sensor design, testing and integration. 

Early identification of spoilage is key to maintaining the quality of grains.  Detection of respiration products - CO2 and other volatiles - is important for identifying the source of spoilage (insect, mold, fungus, etc.) and in turn the treatment method.

S. Neethirajan, M. S. Freund*, D. S. Jayas*, C. Shafai, D. J. Thomson, N. White: “Development of Carbon dioxide (CO2) Sensor for Grain Quality Monitoring” Biosys. Eng. 106: 395-404 (2010