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Functional Polymeric and Organic Materials

Polymers are traditionally thought of as thermally and electrically insulating materials that are easily processed, environmentally stable, lightweight, and useful for packaging and moderate structural applications. As thermosets and in composites, higher thermal properties and increased modulus are obtained. The development of organic electronic materials over the past 30 years has greatly expanded the application range for polymeric and organic materials. The application space is quite large and this program is limited to exploring basic research in a few concentrated areas that could one day enhance Navy capability. Past programs include early work in liquid crystal displays, organic light emitting diodes and nonlinear optical materials. Current program thrusts that are separately described on the ONR website include Dielectric Materials and Films and Organic and Hybrid Photovoltaics. Additional research efforts typically explore new areas that seek to utilize the inherent strengths/properties of organic and polymeric materials to bring new capability to the Navy.

Research Concentration Areas

  • Semi-crystalline wide band gap polymers inherently have high dielectric breakdown strengths. Processing techniques can take advantage of strain hardening to produce rolls of very thin films with few pinholes and little variation in thickness. The improved morphology yields even higher breakdown strengths making them excellent candidates for use as the dielectric in wound film capacitors.
  • Organic semiconductors have the potential for low cost, wide area processing on flexible substrates. Though they have somewhat low charge mobility, it can be sufficient for high performance in solar cells.
  • The tunability of organic materials can yield novel energy harvesting devices with specific transparency and absorption windows.
  • The above two thrust areas take advantage of the inherent properties of polymeric and organic materials. Such novel properties relevant to functional materials include:
    • Tunability of electronic properties
    • Facile wide area fabrication
    • Low dielectric constants
    • Desirable mechanical properties
    • Ability to be swollen by electrolytes
    • High absorption coefficients
    • Ability to self-assemble into complex morphologies and low thermal conductivities
  • Beyond the two stated thrusts, this program invests in basic research towards understanding and function relevant to other novel applications.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Novel approaches to extend the performance of electrochromic devices
  • Photo stable approaches to n-doping
  • Kinetically or thermodynamically stable, self-assembled bulk heterojunctions

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please refer to our broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-22-S-B001.

Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.

Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.


Armistead, Paul Dr.
Program Officer
Code 332