Sam Lawton - UK

Sam graduated from the University of Warwick with an MChem in 2014. His masters project, in the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group (WEIG), focused on the large scale synthesis and patterning of graphene nano-ribbons. With a taste for organic based electronics Sam was inspired to work in the field of renewable energy resources, specifically organic solar cells.

Sam started his PhD under the supervision of Professor David Haddleton in July 2014. His PhD is sponsored by the advanced materials sector of Merck ltd and focusses on investigating the intricate connection between backbone structure and optoelectronic properties of conjugated polymers for application in organic photovoltaics. Sam's research and eagerness to learn has taken him to the USA to work with Professor Wei You at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and to present his work at a number of international conferences, most recently the American Chemical Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco, April 2017.

Outside of his project, Sam has worked with external companies through the Warwick Polymer Characterisation RTP on a number of materials characterisation and analysis projects. He has also taken on roles outside of the lab organising and hosting the social events for Warwick 2016 Polymer conference (500+ attendees). In his free time, Sam likes to engage in sports such as squash, football and running, although when it comes to the rugby, he's more at home sitting back and watching the professionals do it.

Polymer power: From light to current

With the world's energy demand predicted to increase by 48% between 2012 and 2020, relying on the limited supply of traditional fuels is no longer a viable option. Further to their growing scarcity, traditional fuel supplies release large amounts of waste and are a major contributor to annual greenhouse gas emissions. Inspired by the growing demand for economically viable and renewable energy sources, Organic Photovoltaics (OPV's) are attracting significant attention. With efficiencies exceeding 12%, these devices are nearing commercialisation.

In this talk I introduce some of the semiconducting plastics used in organic photovoltaics and we explore how molecular sequence in polymers can influence their properties and the future of this market. I look at what influences the world of science and technology and demonstrate how the world around us can be an infinite source of inspiration in world leading research.

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