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Professor Henning Sirringhaus has been awarded the 2015 Faraday medal for physics

Henning Sirringhaus has greatly transformed the understanding and exploitation of charge transport physics in organic semiconductors

10 Jul 2015 | Editor

Professor Henning Sirringhaus, University of Cambridge, has been awarded the 2015 Faraday medal for Physics for transforming our knowledge of charge transport phenomena in organic semiconductors as well as our ability to exploit them.

According to the announcement Henning Sirringhaus' research crosses the interface between condensed matter physics, materials science and electrical engineering. In several areas of soft matter electronics and opto-electronics research he has carried out landmark investigations which have given birth to stunning new technologies and industries.

Sirringhaus has greatly transformed the understanding and exploitation of charge transport physics in organic semiconductors. When he started to work on polymer field-effect transistors (FETs) in the late 1990s, they had poor mobilities, 10,000 times lower than thin film silicon.

In 1999, using solution self-organisation mechanisms, he pioneered improvements in the mobility to values comparable with silicon, showing that their origin depends on the ability of the polaronic charge carriers to delocalise over several polymer chains.

Faraday Medalist 2015 - Professor Henning Sirringhaus

Figure: Faraday Medalist 2015 - Professor Henning Sirringhaus

By 2000 he developed an inkjet printing process for polymer FETs which allowed fabricating well-defined multilayer structures by solution-deposition and achieving high printing resolution through surface energy patterning. This constituted one of the first practical printing processes for organic FETs, forming the basis in 2000 for Plastic Logic, a spin-off company that has successfully commercialised flexible displays based on organic semiconductors.

Sirringhaus’s research has concentrated on fundamental physics, scoring notable breakthroughs including the discovery of efficient electron transport in a broad range of polymer semiconductors provided with trapping-free gate dielectrics, and the realisation of ambipolar field-effect transistors, where electron and hole accumulation layers are formed simultaneously with light-emission at their boundary. Low-temperature processing was also significantly extended to high performance metal oxide semiconductors.

Sirringhaus’s group first reported band-like transport characteristics in a high-mobility solution-processed molecular semiconductor and then pioneered the measurement of the molecular vibrations they had identified as limiting transport.

In 2013 his group first observed the inverse spin-Hall effect in a conjugated polymer and pure spin-current transmission through organic semiconductors, opening exciting opportunities for spin-based information processing in organic materials. They recently reported high-mobility conjugated polymers where transport approaches disorder-free limits, overcoming a traditional limitation of these materials.

Professor Sirringhaus is also Hitachi Professor of Electron Device Physics, Head of Microelectronics and Optoelectronics Group at the Cavendish Lab, Cambridge University.

The Faraday medal

In 2008 Council decided to establish the Faraday medal of the Institute of Physics. Faraday Medal

This had been known previously as the Guthrie Medal and Prize.

Originally this had been the Guthrie Lecture which was instituted by the Council of The Physical Society in 1914 in memory of its founder, Professor Frederick Guthrie.

In 1965 the Council of the Institute and Society decided that, in view of the changed conditions since the lecture was established, this, the senior award within its gift, should be changed to a Medal and Prize.

The first award was made in 1966. In 1992 the Council decided that the Guthrie medal and prize should become one of its Premier Awards and and then from 2008 that it should be one of its Gold medals and be known as the Faraday medal of the Institute of Physics.


The award will be made annually, for outstanding contributions to experimental physics, to a physicist of international reputation in any sector. The medal will be silver gilt and will be accompanied by a prize of £1000 and a certificate.

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