Richard Friend

Sir Richard Henry Friend FRS FREng[3] (born 18 January 1953) is a British physicist who is Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore. Friend's research concerns the physics and engineering of carbon-based semiconductors.[7]. He also serves as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore.[8]

Sir Richard Friend
Friend in Finland in 2010
Richard Henry Friend

(1953-01-18) 18 January 1953[1]
Alma mater
Known for
Spouse(s)Carol Anne Maxwell (née Beales)[1]
Scientific career
ThesisTransport properties and lattice instabilities in one and two dimensional metals (1979)
Doctoral advisor
  • Abraham Yoffe[4]
  • Denis Jérome[2]
Doctoral studentsHenry Snaith[5][6]


Friend was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] gaining a PhD in 1979.[9]


Friend's research has been applied to development of polymer field effect transistors, light-emitting diodes, photovoltaic diodes, optically pumped lasing and directly printed polymer transistors. He pioneered the study of organic polymers and the electronic properties of molecular semiconductors. He is also one of the principal investigators in the new Cambridge-based Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) on nanotechnology and co-founder of Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) and Plastic Logic. Friend has over 600 publications[10][11] and more than 20 patents. Friend's research has been used to develop flat panel displays and future screens that can be rolled and transported.

Awards and honours

In March 2003 Friend won the IEE's Faraday Medal. He was knighted for "services to physics" in the 2003 Birthday Honours.

Friend received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2006[12]

In 2010, Friend was elected as one of the three laureates of Millennium Technology Prize for the development of plastic electronics.[13]

In 2011 he was awarded the Harvey Prize of the Technion in Israel.[14] He is a fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2002.

His nomination for the Royal Society reads:

Personal life

Friend is married to Carol Anne Maxwell (née Beales) with whom he has two daughters.[1] His brother[16] Peter Friend is a professor of transplantation and director of the Oxford Transplant Centre.


  1. "FRIEND, Sir Richard (Henry)". Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. Alan Macfarlane. "Interview of Sir Richard Friend". Cambridge University.
  3. "List of Fellows".
  4. Richard Friend at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. Snaith, H. J.; Arias, A. C.; Morteani, A. C.; Silva, C.; Friend, R. H. (2002). "Charge Generation Kinetics and Transport Mechanisms in Blended Polyfluorene Photovoltaic Devices". Nano Letters. 2 (12): 1353. Bibcode:2002NanoL...2.1353S. doi:10.1021/nl0257418.
  6. Snaith, Henry James (2005). Polymer based photovoltaic diodes (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 890157906.
  7. "Professor Sir Richard Friend". Optoelectronics group, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge
  9. Friend, Richard Henry (1979). Transport properties and lattice instabilities in one and two dimensional metals (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.
  10. List of publications from Microsoft Academic
  11. Richard Friend's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  12. "Annual Review 2006 : People, Honours and Awards". Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  13. "Professor Sir Richard Friend: Developer of plastic electronics". Millennium Prize. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  14. Harvey Prize 2011 Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "EC/1993/12: Friend, Richard Henry. Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014.
  16. "EPSRC Council Members Declarations of Interest 2015/16" p4
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