Semiconductor technology with molecules

01 February 2011

Speaker: Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS, Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge 

Carbon-based molecular semiconductors were seen as scientific curiosities in the 
1990s, but have now been engineered to provide very effective semiconductor operation in a wide range of devices. These include light-emitting diodes, field-effect transistors and solar cells.

When formed as polymers, these materials can be readily coated or printed over large areas. This makes them very attractive for many applications, particularly where their robustness, flexibility and low weight can be exploited. Current examples are e-paper displays and solar cells. Future applications include very high efficiency solid state lighting and large-area TV displays. The technology has the potential to lower materials and manufacturing costs well below those of current semiconductor technology as needed, for example, for large-scale adoption of solar cells.

This lecture explores the path from scientific discovery in the University of Cambridge, through company spinout, to commercialisation, drawing attention to the benefits of close academic and industrial collaboration. The challenges of introducing radical innovation into a complex manufacturing environment will be discussed.

Professor Sir Richard Friend
Professor Friend holds the Cavendish Professorship of Physics in the University of
Cambridge. He has worked there on the fundamental semiconductor physics of organic semiconductors within the University, drawing in collaborations from materials science, chemistry and engineering. He has also co-founded three university spin-out companies: Cambridge Display Technology (1992), Plastic Logic (2000) and Eight-19 (2010), to exploit applications of this science in light-emitting diodes, transistor circuits and solar cells respectively. Professor Friend is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society, and received his Knighthood for services to physics in 2003. 

He has received several honorary degrees and international prizes, most recently the 2009 King Faisal Prize for Science and was a 2010 Millennium Technology Laureate in 2010.


Keywords: Prime Innovator lecture series, Sir Richard Friend, Semiconductor, molecules

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