Young Physicist Rewarded for Work on Plastic Electronics

An Imperial physics postgraduate student has been awarded a prestigious national prize for his PhD thesis. Dr James Kirkpatrick has won the Institute of Physics' annual Roy Prize which is given for the best thesis submitted in the last year in the field of condensed matter and materials physics.

Dr Kirkpatrick, who studied for his PhD in the College's Experimental Solid State Physics Group under the supervision of Professor Jenny Nelson, finishing it in May 2007, worked in a team aiming to develop new organic materials for solar cells and other electronic devices. Solar cells are currently made from silicon, but Dr Kirkpatrick and other members of the group are working on making carbon-based electronics a viable, low cost reality.

In particular, Dr Kirkpatrick's PhD thesis focused on computer modelling of how electronic charge moves through organic materials, and how it is different from charge transport in conventional silicon-based semi-conducting materials.

Commenting on the prize, Dr Kirkpatrick said: "I had no idea that my supervisor Professor Nelson had submitted my thesis for the prize, so I was delighted to learn that I had won. It's a real honour and obviously after working so hard at my PhD I'm really pleased that it has been recognised nationally by the Institute of Physics."

Congratulating Dr Kirkpatrick on his prize, Professor Donal Bradley FRS, Head of the Department of Physics, said: "This is wonderful news for James and a great start to his research career which he is continuing with us here at Imperial. The Experimental Solid State Physics Group is doing some very exciting theoretical and experimental work towards the development of plastic electronics applications and I'm sure James will have important contributions to make to this field in the coming years. It is also a further recognition of Professor Jenny Nelson's excellent student mentoring, which was highlighted last year by a Rector's Award."

Dr Kirkpatrick is now continuing his work, funded by an EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, in Imperial's Department of Physics. He will collect his £500 prize at the Institute of Physics' Condensed Matter and Materials Physics Conference in March this year.

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