James Collier graduated as a physicist but has been active in and at the forefront of microelectronics system design for over 20 years, during which time the feature sizes of devices have fallen 100-fold from 2 microns to 20 nanometres. This discipline is a cross-over between detailed engineering and applied physics as engineering constraints and imperfections interact with the desired function, be it measurement or communications.
A particular achievement was leading a project in 1999 to construct the first full radio system - radio circuitry, oscillators, signal processing, computer, memories, program and human interface on one piece of silicon, something which had hitherto eluded all companies active in the field. This work was exploited commercially with several billion devices made by the company Mr Collier founded, and was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Award in 2005. The techniques developed are now commonplace and included in all consumer wireless devices.