Carmichael Research Lab

About Tricia

Dr. Tricia (Breen) Carmichael received her B.Sc. in Honours Chemistry at the University of Windsor. Her research career began as an undergraduate with a summer position in the lab of Dr. Keith Taylor and Dr. Nihar Biswas in Engineering, where she worked on new wastewater treatment protocols. The following year, she did her Honours research project in the lab of Dr. Doug Stephan, where her work focused on the organometallic chemistry of the early transition metals. She remained in the Stephan lab as a graduate student for the next four years, and received her Ph.D. in 1996, along with the Governor General’s Gold medal. Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled “Studies of Terminal Phosphinidene Complexes of Zirconium”, and it was awarded the NSERC Doctoral Prize in 1997. After graduate school, Dr. Carmichael was an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in Professor Stephen L. Buchwald’s Research Group at M.I.T. for a short time. Realizing that she wanted to broaden her scientific background beyond organometallics, she moved down the road to Harvard University and the lab of Dr. George M. Whitesides, where she was a postdoctoral fellow from 1997-1999. In the Whitesides lab, Dr. Carmichael focused on mesoscale self-assembly, developing methods to form close-packed and open three-dimensional structures by the self-assembly of millimetre-scale objects. She also developed topographically-directed photolithography, a low-cost technique to rapidly fabricate nanostructured films.

Dr. Carmichael’s independent research career began in 1999 at IBM’s T.J Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, where she was a Research Staff Member. At IBM she developed low-cost patterning methods for organic electronic devices and soluble organic semiconductors. One of her notable achievements at IBM was her work as part of a small team that developed a soluble precursor to pentacene, an organic semiconductor used in organic thin-film transistors. For device fabrication, the soluble precursor provides the cost benefits of solution processing along with the semiconducting performance of pentacene. This work was both a valuable patent and notable publication, and was licensed by Sigma-Aldrich, which now offers the precursor compound in its catalogue here.

In 2005, Dr. Carmichael left IBM to pursue academic research and teaching at the University of Windsor as an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Here, she has established a broad research program encompassing flexible and stretchable electronics and molecular electronic devices. Research on flexible and stretchable electronics includes the development of new methods to selectively deposit metal films on polymers and elastomers using low-cost electroless metal plating, and more recently research into intrinsically stretchable light-emitting devices. Dr. Carmichael’s research on molecular electronic devices uses eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) top electrodes to measure charge transport through SAMs of dithiophosphinic acids (DTPAs) on gold. Another aspect of this work involves the use of chemical-mechanical planarization to prepare atomically smooth metal surfaces as the bottom contact. Part of this work is done in collaboration with Professor George Whitesides at Harvard University.

In 2016 Dr. Carmichael published "Reinventing Butyl Rubber for Stretchable Electronics" in Advanced Functional Materials. As of 2016 she has amassed approximately 25 patents.
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Dr. Carmichael will be at MRS 2016 in Boston, MA, USA, Nov 27-Dec 2..