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Clifford Paterson Prize Lecture by Richard Friend FRS

Plastics - or, more correctly, polymers have traditionally been used by the electronics industry as passive materials, for casing and electrical insulation. Now however, new types of polymers have been discovered which behave as semiconductors. For example, they can emit light when subjected to an electric current, or can be used to make transistors.

In this lecture, Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge and a pioneer in the field, will discuss our understanding of the physics of these exciting new polymers, and show how their use is now based on structures akin to those used in biology (for example, in photosynthesis). Through this, we can now use them in a wide range of devices which, from flat flat-screen televisions to printed circuit boards, are set to revolutionise industrial and consumer electronics.