Richard Friend

  • Professor - University of Cambridge

Research interests

Sir Richard Friend is in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge. His research encompasses the physics, materials science and engineering of semiconductor devices made with carbon-based semiconductors, particularly polymers. 

His research advances have shown that carbon-based semiconductors have significant applications in LEDs, solar cells, lasers, and electronics.  These very surprising findings have been important both for fundamental science, because they reveal new regimes and models for semiconductor behavior, and for real applications that have been developed and exploited through a number of university spin-off companies. The first of these, Cambridge Display Technology, now part of the Sumitomo Chemical Company, developed fully printable organic LEDs for use in high resolution displays that are now commercialized and used in current OLED displays. His current research interests are directed to novel schemes – including ideas inspired by recent insights into Nature’s light harvesting – that seek to understand and improve the performance and cost of solar cells. 

Within Cambridge Professor Friend was Director of the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability from 2011 to 2020, and is currently Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Energy Transitions.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.