Distinguished Lectures

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How Materials Science can help to Save Energy, Purify Water and generate Solar Energy

Start Date: April 29, 2014
End Date: April 29, 2014

​Speaker: Prof. Sir Colin Humphreys CBE, CBE, FREng, FRS Director of Research in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College , Cambridge
Date: Tuesday 29 April, 2014
Time: 10:30 - 11:30 am.
Location: Auditorium 0215 between Buildings 4&5

Light refreshments will be served at 10:00 am

Abstract: Two of the major problems facing our world are energy shortage and the lack of drinkable water. Materials Engineering has a key role to play in helping to solve these problems. The two pillars of sustainable energy are energy efficiency and renewable energy. Gallium nitride (GaN) is a key material for energy efficiency: electricity savings of 10-15% are possible using GaN-based LED lighting, and a further 10% from GaN-based power electronics. GaN is also a key future material for highly efficient solar cells: the bandgap of InGaN, with varying In content, covers most of the solar spectrum and multi-junction InGaN solar cells in theory can be over 70% efficient. In addition, GaN-based power electronics used for invertors/convertors can increase the efficiency of any solar cell system. AlGaN emits deep ultra-violet radiation which can kill all bacteria and viruses. AlGaN LEDs, powered by solar cells therefore have huge potential for purifying water in both the developing and the developed world. This talk will describe how Materials Science and Engineering, including advanced techniques such as electron microscopy, can help to solve the above problems and the talk will also briefly feature some novel medical applications of new materials.

Biography: Sir Colin Humphreys is Professor of Materials Science and Director of Research in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was educated at Luton Grammar School, Imperial College (BSc) and Cambridge (PhD). He was a Lecturer at Oxford and a Professor in Liverpool before coming to Cambridge. He founded and directs the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride (GaN). He founded a spin-off company, CamGaN, to exploit the research of his group on low-cost LEDs for home and office lighting. The company was acquired in February 2012 by Plessey, which is now manufacturing LEDs based on this technology at their factory in Plymouth, UK. He founded and directs the Cambridge/Rolls-Royce Centre for Advanced Materials for Aerospace. Materials developed by this Centre are now flying in Rolls-Royce engines. He has given public lectures on science throughout the world. He has received national and international medals for his research in electron diffraction and microscopy and on gallium nitride. He was the Master of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers in 2010-2011, and the President of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in 2002-2003. From 2003-2011 he was the Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. He was Knighted in 2010 for services to science.