Dr Robert Douglas Richards
Tel: +44 (0)114 22 25148
I studied physics at the University of Sheffield, gaining an MPhys in 2009. I then enrolled in the E-Futures Doctoral Training Centre, working on a variety of energy related projects from molecular biology through to mechanical engineering. In late 2010 I started my PhD in Sheffield on photovoltaic characterisation, working with the Imperial College London spin-out company Quantasol. Following the sale of Quantasol in 2011, I moved into molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and gained my PhD in the MBE growth and characterisation of dilute bismide materials in 2014. I was awarded an EPSRC Prize Fellowship to continue this work throughout 2015 and remained in the Semiconductor Materials and Devices group as a PDRA throughout 2016. During this time I was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering research fellowship, which started in 2017. Through this fellowship I am working on the development of MBE growth techniques for producing infrared optoelectronic devices.
The development of modern electronic devices has been driven by breakthroughs in functional materials. The realisation of gallium nitride devices gave us blue LEDs, blu-ray players, and white light LEDs; recent improvements in television technology have been triggered by the advent of organic LEDs and progress in quantum dot production.
My interest is in the development of highly mismatched alloys (HMAs) for next generation opto-electronic devices. These are devices that manipulate the interaction between photons and electrons, such as LEDs, lasers or solar cells.
HMAs are material systems wherein one of the component elements is significantly larger or smaller than the others. This mismatch makes the synthesis of these materials very challenging, but also endows them with unique opto-electronic properties.