How unexpected discoveries lead to new technologies
Imagine watching videos on a paper-thin screen which can be rolled up and put in your pocket or projecting documents from a smart phone onto a flexible screen for easy reading. What if you could cover a whole wall in your lounge with a 'wallpaper' screen, powered by the light coming through the window? These revolutionary technologies may not be the product of our imaginations for much longer. Sir Richard Friend, the 2012 Royal Society of New Zealand Distinguished Speaker, has pioneered the study that allows organic polymers, normally fashioned into plastic, to take on the electronic properties utilised in digital displays and solar cells.
In his talk, Richard Friend tells the story of the unplanned discoveries and breakthroughs that have led to the development of this extraordinary technology. His talk will take us from the basic research on plastic semiconductors and the realm of quantum mechanics through to his experiences of the commercialisation of his team's ideas as part of the high-technology cluster which has built up around Cambridge University.
Sir Richard Friend has pioneered the study of organic polymers and the electronic properties of molecular semiconductors. His work has led to the development of LEDs and photovoltaic cells and used to develop flat panel displays and screens. He is a founder of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd, the leading developer of commercial display technology based on polymer light emitting diodes. He is also co-founder of the spin-off company, Plastic Logic which is developing flexible electronic displays on plastic sheets. More recently, he co-founded a company to develop low cost flexible solar cells, Eight19.
Sir Richard Friend is the Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, a position originally occupied by Ernest Lord Rutherford. He was knighted for services to physics in 2003.