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Physicist wins prestigious award

A University of St Andrews scientist has won a highly prestigious award from several prominent scientific organisations for his work on semiconductors, light and the treatment of cancer.

Physicist Professor Ifor Samuel is to be awarded the Beilby Medal and Prize for three areas of his work in the development and application of organic semiconductors. The award, to be presented officially in July, is given out jointly by the Institute of Materials, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of the Chemical Industry. It is given for research of exceptional practical significance and shows how understanding developed by University researchers can lead to practical applications.

Professor Samuel, of the University’s School of Physics & Astronomy, has worked on a new approach to the treatment of skin cancer using a light-emitting sticking plaster. The device, developed and tested with Professor James Ferguson at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, contains its own light source and is so portable that patients can go about their daily business while undergoing treatment.

Light-emitting dendrimers, a new class of organic superconductor, are another area of Professor Samuel’s research that the award recognises. These materials (developed with Dr Paul Burn in Oxford) have been used to create the world’s most efficient LEDs that can be applied to make flexible television screens, or lighting-emitting panels for home lighting.

Finally, Professor Samuel has worked towards practical polymer lasers, which he has found ways to make smaller and more easily- produced.

The Beilby Medal and Prize is named for Sir George Beilby (1850- 1924), a graduate of the University of Edinburgh who made significant breakthroughs in the chemistry of mining and developed new techniques for oil-mining and gold refinement. Given out jointly by the three organisations, it is widely respected and highly prestigious.

Previous recipients of the prize at St Andrews include Professors Peter Bruce and John Irvine (both School of Chemistry), confirming the University’s leading position in materials related research.

ENDS

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Ref: Beilby Medal Ifor Samuel 200407

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