High-Tech Electronics on Plastic Materials

In the basement laboratory of Max Bergmann Center for Biomaterials, organic molecules are observed at minus 268 degrees Celsius. With a special low temperature scanning tunnel microscope, Francesca analyzes the behavior of organic molecules on metallic and semiconductor surfaces. Her fundamental research helps to develop new models for systems of nanosensors and organic solar cells.

The 48-year-old Italian pyhsicist is the Co-Leader of the Organic/Polymer Path. This Path researches a relatively new area using not sillicon, but organic substances as raw material. „It is the vision of this Path to develop materials and technologies which allow entering industrial producation and becoming commercially attractive“, Francesca says.

Dresden is already a center of the organic electronic industry with more than a thousand people workinig in this area. The Dresden-based OLED cmpany Novaled which was co-founded by a cfaed Path Leader has been taken over by the world market giant Samsung. Another successful enterprise of this group, Heliatek, focuses on photovoltaics.

Francesca originates from Genoa. „In Italy, there are a lot of women studying mathematics or physics“, the scientist explains. When she first came to Hannover to write her PhD thesis, she was the only woman. „In Germany, there are no female role models for natural scientists“, the physicist says.

She continued her scientific career at the Freie Universität Berlin up to her habilitation. In 2004 her first son was born. She moved to her husband in Dresden and worked for the chip company Qimonda.

After the company’s insolvency in 2009, Francesca started a new research position at TU Dresden’s Chair for Materials Science and Nanotechnology where she is now leader of the molecular electronics group. Because of her own experience, she appreciates the balancing act her PhD students have to juggle when combining scientific career and family life. „I really enjoy my work in cfaed. It enables the close cooperation of several groups in Dresden working all in the field of advancing electronics – this is extremely important to me“, Francesca says. „The Cluster of Excellence brings together research fields that have normally little interaction. In cfaed, we have the unique chance to combine basic research and applications, experiments and theory, bridging the gap from single atoms to complex devices.“