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Dr George Fern

Dr George Fern
Theme Leader / Reader

Research area(s)

Displays, Electronics and Lighting; Polymer Processing and Biopolymers; Nanomaterials, Nanoparticles and Nanocatalysts, ionising radiaiton Sensors, transmisison electron microscopy, applications in horticulture, security and novel display technology.

Research Interests

My PhD started with the synthesis of linked ferrocene compounds to investigate the electronic interaction along sigma bonded carbon chains by the use of Mössbauer spectroscopy.  I also used single crystal x-ray diffraction to study crystalline materials.  Moving on from this was the synthesise of various iron-sulfur cluster materials using Schlenk line methods and a glove box.  Hence developing skills in organic and coordination chemistry and the characterization of these compounds.  As a research assistant at Hull University this knowledge was appied to synthesising organic ligands using various amino acids as a mimic for methane mono-oxygenase and testing their catalytic activity using gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy (ESI-MS) and NMR spectroscopy to identify specific isomers in these chiral molecules.  Having moved to Greenwich University I was able to follow my research interests and joined the Centre for Phosphors and Display Materials.  I was able to continue to studying macrocyclic chemistry and ran MSc projects around the study of ligand binding in metallo-phorphyrins.  However I developed an interest in x-ray analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to study the phosphors synthesised in the research group and ran the TEM for various School of Chemistry users.  Phosphors are luminescent inorganic materials; simply put these are carefully doped high purity minerals.  I became a co-investigator on many collaborative research programs with industry, studying the synthetic parameters of these inorganic materials and how these influence the optical performance of the phosphors and their integration into many applications.  Moving the group to Brunel University London in 2006 with Prof Silver and Withnall enabled additional university support to develop large scale research facilities in device manufacturing, polymer processing and characterisation.  I have been pioneering the use of a TEM using cathodo-luminescence (JEOL 2100F TEM and Gatan Vulcan) that enables the visualisation of visible light emissions of discrete quantum dots at the nanometre scale and the study of intrinsic emission of light from pure and doped inorganic materials as well as from f-block lanthanide elements. I have active interests in developing radiation sensors based around my existing synthetic techniques related to phosphors research.

Research supervision

  1. Dr Ali Salimian, 1st, Electroluminescent Devices, Greenwich University, 2007
  2. Dr Abdullah Tahhan, 2nd, 2015, Solar Cell Enhancement using a variety of materials/phosphors
  3. Dr Anna Wojdyla-Ciesam, 2nd, 2016, Hydrophobic and Oleophobic coatings.
  4. Dr James Allan, 2nd, 2015, Thermal-Photovoltaic Cells operation and modelling.
  5. Alex Metcalfe, 1st, Writing-up, 15 October 2013 to 30 September 2017
  6. Tsegie Farris, 1st, OTFT devices, writing up 2017
  7. Hailab Kubrom, 2nd, Starting, Feb 2017-December 2020.
  8. Fanchao Meng, 2nd, PV enhancement using phosphors, 1 May 2015-

Research project(s) and grant(s)

Nuffield Foundation High Pressure Mössbauer and Raman Spectroscopy of Materials using a Diamond Anvil Cell. G Fern, (14/03/02) for £5,600.

Investigation of phosphor production, Industry spondor, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I) (1/10/03-30/06/04) £80,813.

EPSRC/LINK ISD grant to improve the performance and understanding of the electroluminescent phosphors used in alternating current electroluminescent (ACEL) panels, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), Kodak UK and Pelikon industry partners, 2004-2006, ~£300,000.

LINK ISD grant FLCOLOUR to develop full colour ACEL panels, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), with Kodak UK, 2004-2006, ~£147,000.

Develop applications of phosphors, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), (1/06/2005-6) £65,000.

MNT project with industry on nanophosphors for displays and lighting, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), Forge Europa, Cambridge University, Semilab Ltd, 1/03/05-28/02/08.

DTI funded project to improve CCFLs for backlighting application, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), LG Philips, Masonlite Ltd., Queen Mary College and Teeside Univ., 1/05/06-31/04/08. £195,765

DTI funded project to develop ACEL panel binder technology based on a patent held by the group in collaboration with industry, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I) with Elumin8 Ltd. 1/05/06-31/12/07. £189,026.

DTI funded project to develop phosphors for conversion LEDs, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), Enfis Ltd, IQE Ltd, Exxelis Ltd, Smiths (now GE), Westland Helicopter, Airbus Ltd, Bath University, (09/2006-08/2009) £250,533

Direct industrial sponsorship, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), £150,000 (1/1/2008- 31/12/2009)

BBSRC grant for the development of novel materials for biological cell markers, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall, Coppo and Fern (Co-I), other project investigators are based in the Biology department at York University, MRC and JEOL UK (1/04/08-31/03/10) £412,608

DTI project with industry to develop printed electronic materials, Prof Silver (PI), Dr Withnall and Fern (Co-I), Partners, Intrinsiq Materials Ltd, Johnson-Matthey, Bayer Materials Science A.G. (1/1/08-31/12/10), £377,000.

University Brief Award for Investigation of photo-luminescent and infra-red emitting phosphors for solid state lighting and security applications, G Fern, £14,910. (1/11/07-31/10/08)

DTI project with industry to develop low cost ACEL displays, , £296,000 (01/01/08).

BESSYII Synchrotron application: Characterisation of Photonic Band Gap Phosphors joint with King’s College London, A Michette (PI), GR Fern, J Silver, S Pfauntsch, R Withnall. (06/2008) (Approximate value of £10,463)

BESSYII Synchrotron application: Can we selectively probe the local structure of only luminescent Mn{2+} ions in Mn{2+}-doped host nanocrystals? EXAFS/Optical Luminescence EXAFS Synchrotron beam time, DD Sarma, P Santra, S Muikherjee, A Erko, GR Fern (PI), R Withnall, 18 shifts (08/2009) (Approximate value of £11,300)

BESSYII Synchrotron application: Can we selectively probe the local structure of only luminescent Mn{2+} ions in Mn{2+}-doped host nanocrystals? DD Sarma, P Santra, S Muikherjee, A Erko, GR Fern (PI), R Withnall, 26 shifts (05/2010) (Approximate value of £13,905)

BESSYII Synchrotron application: Characterisation of terbium doped photonic band gap phosphors and nano-crystalline scintillation phosphors, GR Fern (PI), A Michette, J Silver, R Withnall, TG Ireland, 18 shifts (09/2010) (Approximate value of £11,298)

Describing at high resolution the stacking disorder in electroluminescent phosphors, GR Fern (PI), R Withnall, J Silver, TG Ireland and M Leoni. (Diamond Light Source, BL-I11) Grant number EE4732, 6 shifts (19-21/05/2010) (Equivalent Value £24,675)

BESSYII Synchrotron application: Site preference and electronic structure of the S6 centro-symmetric site in rare earth element doped yttria. GR Fern (PI), R Withnall, J Silver, TG Ireland, 6-12/12/2010 Estimate £11,298

Viral Surface Plasmon Resonance, A novel approach to biosensing, GR Fern (PI), I Alberts, A Ray, J Kerr, (9/11-08/12) (£14,900)) Funding from St George’s Hospital.

InnovateUK, Biopolymer-based Electronic Circuits and Displays (BEDs), Prof. R. Withnall (PI) and Co-Is were Profs J. Silver and D. Harrison and Drs P. Allan, K. Tarverdi and Fern, I got involved after Prof Withnall died to run the program from Brunel, other partners included Johnson and Matthey Ltd, Hasbro, Intrinsiq Materials Ltd, (2011-2014) £253,129

EPSRC/InnovateUK, CONVERTED - enhanced solar energy harvesting in dye sensitised solar cells using nanophosphors and nano-structured optics, (2011-2014) £390,996

Dragon’s Den pitch to EPSRC sector rep, Chair of the IMechE and Head of Brunel University London Research office for Impact Accelerator Account, Laser Lighting, £10,000, G Fern.

MicroDisplay development with Industry, J Silver (PI) and G Fern (2013-2015) £140,000

High Temperature Radiation Hard Detectors, GR Fern (PI), P Hobson, D Smith, J Silver, R Withnall, EPSRC funded and InnovateUK funded Micron Semiconductor Ltd, and overseas partner (1/9/13- 31/08/16), £637,000

PRISM, J Silver (PI), GR Fern, K Tarverdi, EPSRC and industry funded by InnovateUK, partners Nextek, Johnson and Matthey,   (09/2015-01/2018), £166,565

InnovateUK, LIGHTWAY for horticultural lighting applications, partners Johnson and Matthey, Ixscient, Industrial Phycology, Lux-TSI, Dr Fern (PI), Prof Silver and Tarverdi, (2017-2020),   £246,053

InnovateUK, Smart light controlling crop cover technology, (PURELIGHT), partners Arid AgriTech Ltd, Colloids Ltd, Lancaster University, Dr Fern (PI), Prof Silver and Tarverdi, (2017-2020), £246,293