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Imperial College physicist wins major European science prize

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-Department of Physics
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-European Science Foundation
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For immediate release
Friday 25 November 2005

Pioneering research into electronic materials and devices is recognised today with the award of a prestigious European prize to UK physicist Donal Bradley Opens in new window

Professor Bradley of Imperial College London receives the 2005 Latsis Prize for Nano-Engineering, awarded by the European Science Foundation, for research on molecular-level control of the performance of organic semiconducting materials and devices. He explains:

"What we are looking at is how to engineer desirable properties for a wide range of applications by understanding and exploiting the materials' molecular nature."

Professor Donal Bradley, winner of the 2005 Latsis Prize for Nano-Engineering

"I am delighted to be the European Latsis Prize laureate for 2005. The research recognised by this award has involved a number of close collaborations over the past decade, especially with The Dow Chemical Company and with colleagues both at Imperial College and at the University of Sheffield," he adds.

Professor Bradley's research has the potential for a wide range of practical applications, including solar energy conversion, flexible electronic circuits, imaging devices and optical communications. An earlier breakthrough, with colleagues in Cambridge, involved the discovery in 1989 that certain plastics could be used to make light emitting diodes (PLEDs), which are now being developed as a next generation technology for flat panel displays. These have already been translated into lightweight low-power displays for products such as mobile phones and small screens in consumer electronic goods.

It is this combination of leading edge research and commercial expertise that makes Professor Bradley a worthy winner, according to Professor Sir Peter Knight Opens in new window, Principal of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. He said: "I'm delighted to applaud this award, which reflects the ground-breaking research that Donal leads, taking his work from pioneering fundamental research into real world applications."

The Prize is awarded to those who are judged by their peers to have made the greatest contribution to a particular field of European research and reflects the significant impact Professor Bradley's work has had within the scientific community. He is currently placed among the top 1% most cited physicists in the world and holds a range of patents for inventions spun off from his research.

The commercial potential of his work is further illustrated by his direct involvement in the foundation of two companies, Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) in 1992 and, more recently, Molecular Vision. CDT now works with a range of major companies including Sumitomo Chemical Company, Toshiba Matsushita Displays and Osram to exploit the commercial potential of PLEDs for consumer electronics devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players and DVD consoles.

Meanwhile Molecular Vision, set up in partnership with Imperial chemists John and Andrew de Mello, is focused on developing instrumented microfluidic devices with integrated organic light sources and detectors for applications such as medical diagnostics related to kidney or heart function.

Bertil Andersson, CEO of the European Science Foundation, welcomed the award of the Prize to Professor Bradley, saying: "The Prize committee has made a wise choice in selecting Donal as this year's winner - a world leading scientist very much deserving of this kind of recognition."

The Latsis Prize is awarded yearly by the European Science Foundation to a scientist or research group in recognition of outstanding and innovative contributions to a selected field of European research. The field for this year's award is Nano-Engineering.

Photographs of Professor Donal Bradley are available.

For further information contact:

Abigail Smith
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701

Notes to editors

About Professor Donal Bradley FRS FInstP, FRSA, CPhys

Donal Bradley, 43, studied physics at Imperial College London. After graduating in 1983 with first class honours he moved to Cambridge and in 1987 he completed his PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory. He remained at Cambridge University for a further six years, as first a research fellow and then a lecturer, spending one year during that period in Japan as a Toshiba Research Fellow. In 1993 he moved to the University of Sheffield where he was given the opportunity to set up a new research group. The group rapidly established a reputation for excellence, attracting for instance a strong interest from The Dow Chemical Company.

In 2000 Professor Bradley returned to Imperial as the Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics and shortly thereafter became Head of the Solid State Physics Group.

Professor Bradley was part of the team awarded the European Union Descartes Prize in 2003 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, manufactures and Commerce.

Earlier this year he and Cambridge colleagues Jeremy Burroughes (CDT) and Richard Friend (Cavendish Laboratory) were awarded the Jan Rajchman Prize by the Society for Information Display for their discovery and contributions to the development of polymer light emitting diodes for displays.

About the Latsis Prize

The European Latsis Prize, valued at 100,000 Swiss Francs is financed by the Latsis Foundation. It is awarded annually by the European Science Foundation.

About Imperial College London

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