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Interdisciplinary Research Centre


Richard Friend is the Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge. He has pioneered the physics, materials science and engineering of semiconductor devices made with carbon-based semiconducting polymers.  His research group was the first to demonstrate using polymers efficient operation of field-effect transistors and light-emitting diodes. These advances revealed that the semiconductor properties of this broad class of materials are unexpectedly clean, so that semiconductor devices can both reveal their novel semiconductor physics, including their operation in efficient photovoltaic diodes, optically-pumped lasing, directly-printed polymer transistor circuits and light-emitting transistors. The work of his research group has revolutionised the scientific understanding of the electronic properties of organic semiconductors, which are now recognised to be very suitable for use in semiconductor devices.  The impact of this technology may prove to be immensely significant: the fabrication of semiconductor devices and circuits by direct printing is radically different from the traditional patterning and process technologies of inorganic semiconductors, and is driving a new set of manufacturing processe in the electronics industry.


Richard Friend has also been directly involved in the process of commercialisation of this technology, forming spin-out companies from the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Display Technology was set up to develop advance polymer LED technology for displays and is now part of the Sumitomo Chemical Company.  Plastic Logic which was created to develop printed transistor circuit technology and has focused on the manufacture of flexible transistor arrays on plastic substrates suitable for use as active matrix backplanes for e-paper displays. More recently, Sir Richard co-founded, Eight-19 Ltd, a company to develop organic solar cell technology for manufacture.  He is currently a non-executive director of Eight-19 and of Azuri Technologies Ltd, a company spun out of Eight-19 to market ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar lighting in the developing world.


Current research interests include the electronic properties and device physics of light-emitting diodes and solar cells made with organic semiconductors.  

Director of the Energy IRC Steering Committee
Cavendish Professor of Physics
Professor Sir Richard  Friend
Not available for consultancy


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