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‘Super plastics’ at science festival

A University of St Andrews scientist explained how new materials could develop roll-up tv screens and make the internet faster at one of the UK’s biggest science festivals today (Wednesday 5th September, 2001) in Glasgow.

Professor Ifor Samuel of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy delivered his talk entitled ‘ New Photonic Materials’ in the ‘Seeing is Believing’ session at the 2001 BA Festival of Science, held this year at the University of Glasgow.

In collaboration with Dr Paul Burn at the University of Oxford, Professor Samuel has developed a new flexible material which emits light when electricity is passed through it, and believes the versatile plastic-like substance will transform the future of information display. He spoke about how this low-cost material is opening exciting new directions for electronics.

The substance (classed as an organic semiconductor) consists of snowflake-shaped molecules and can be used in a variety of light- emitting forms from mobile phone displays to food packaging. It will also be possible to use the material to ‘light up’ wallpaper in a variety of colours as an alternative to traditional overhead lighting. The material is also so flexible and durable that it could be applied to clothing in everything from school uniforms to sports gear.

Professor Samuel and his team have just made a breakthrough showing that a semiconducting plastic can amplify light – making it one thousand times brighter. This work could, in the future, make the internet faster.

The 2001 BA Festival of Science attracts 400 of the best scientists from home and abroad to talk about the latest developments in research. This year, the Festival’s theme is ‘Science and Society’ – a subject chosen by the President of the Association, Sir William Stewart.

A full programme for the 2001 BA Festival of Science is available online at http://www.indigowebdev.com/the- ba/page.asp?selectpage=28 ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS: Professor Samuel will be taking part in a press conference at the Festival at 9am on Wednesday 5th September. Please call the BA Press Office on 020 7973 307 for further information.

PICS AVAILABLE: Please call 01334 467227 for details.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

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