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Professor Neil Robertson

Professor Neil Robertson

Chair of Molecular Materials

Room 277

University of Edinburgh
Joseph Black Building
David Brewster Road

Research Interests

Molecular materials, dye-sensitised solar cells, luminescent materials, conducting/magnetic materials

Research Overview

Our research involves molecule-based materials with conducting, magnetic and optical properties. This includes preparation of electronically-delocalized molecules with properties such as reversible redox processes, intense low-energy absorptions and the capability for strong intermolecular interactions. These are then used to prepare functional electronic materials.

Such materials and devices have the potential to be more cheaply fabricated in comparison with conventional semiconductor technology and as such are set for widespread application in areas such as displays, transistors and solar cells. The molecules we synthesize include both transition metal complexes and extended-aromatic organic molecules. We use these molecules to prepare conducting materials, magnetic materials and solar cells and characterize these by measuring properties such as magnetic susceptibility, conductivity, charge mobility and light-to-electricity conversion efficiency of solar cells.

We work with a range of UK and international collaborators in universities and industry for more specialist characterization of our devices.

Charge separation process

Figure: The charge separation process in a dye-sensitised solar cell using a Pt-based dye synthesised in our lab. The dye binds to nanocrystalline TiO2 through carboxylate groups on the bipyridyl ligand


  1. Antonio Abate, Miquel Planells, Derek J. Hollman, Vishal Barthi, Suresh Chand, Henry J. Snaith, Neil Robertson, Hole-Transport Materials with Greatly-differing Redox Potentials give Efficient TiO2-[CH3NH3]PbI3] Perovskite Solar Cells, PhysChemChemPhys., 2015, 17, 2335
  2. Luca Pilia, Michele Serri, Michio M. Matsushita, Kunio Awaga, Sandrine Heutz, Neil Robertson, Giant Magnetoresistance in a Molecular Thin Film as an Intrinsic Property, Adv. Funct. Materials, 2014, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201303218
  3. Tracy E. Hewat, Lesley J. Yellowlees, Neil Robertson, Neutral Copper(I) Dipyrrin Complexes and their use as Sensitizers in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells, Dalton Trans., 2014, 43, 4127
  4. Miquel Planells, Antonio Abate, Derek J. Hollman, Samuel D. Stranks, Vishal Bharti, Jitender Gaur, Dibyajyoti Mohanty, Suresh Chand, Henry J. Snaith, Neil Robertson, Diacetylene Bridged Triphenylamines as Hole Transport Materials for Solid State Dye Sensitized Solar Cells, J. Mater. Chem. A., 2013, 1, 6949
  5. Alexander M. Whyte, Yoshiaki Shuku, Gary S. Nichol, Michio M. Matsushita, Kunio Awaga, Neil Robertson, Planar Ni(II), Cu(II) and Co(II) Tetraaza[14]annulenes: Structural, Electronic and Magnetic Properties and Application to Field Effect Transistors, J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 16967
  6. Antonio Abate, Miquel Planells, Derek J. Hollman, Samuel D. Stranks, Annamaria Petrozza, Ajay R. Srimath Kandada, Yana Vaynzof, Sandeep K. Pathak, Neil Robertson, Henry J. Snaith, Organic donor-free dye for efficient solid-state solar cells, Advanced Energy Materials, 2014, 4, 1400116