The use of creative art for explaining organic semiconductors

Nedyalka Panova is an artist-in-residence inthe School of Physics & Astronomy. Her work explores the boundaries between art and science, organic and inorganic, natural, synthetic and manmade. Nedyalka works in collaboration with the Organic Semiconductor Centre led by Prof. Ifor Samuel on “The use of creative art for explaining organic semiconductors”. The purpose of the project was to give a higher visibility to the interesting phenomenon of organic semiconductors using their aesthetic values.

Interdisciplinary collaboration such as this, between artists and scientists, brings together experts from different fields. The result is art exhibitions which provide a different way for the public to access or connect with the science.

While the concept of the colours and shapes of natural materials have inspired artists in their studies of nature for centuries, progress by scientists in material science has created a new range of synthetic materials which are manufactured in entirely different ways. In this context, contemporary art and science start asking new questions, such as:
  • How can art respond to the colours that are invisible to visible light? 
  • How can invisible 2-D imprinted patterns be used as colours and structures? 

The line between the past and the future modern technological world is drawn with a nanoscale precision and the question is:
  • Are these new technological tools also a new media for creative endeavours? 
Organic semiconductors combine properties of both metals and organic polymers with their capacity to conduct electricity. This opens new doors for applications in light communication, organic LED displays, healthcare and harvesting energy from abundant natural sources such as sunlight. Their general target is to offer an alternative solution to the existing inorganic electronic components or to combine the best of both worlds in a new generation of hybrid devices.

Arabidopsis Thaliana seed germination used for explosive sensing.
Image: Nedyalka Panova (2016)