Professor Martin Heeney
Winner: 2020 Peter Day Award
Imperial College London
For pioneering contributions to solution processed organic semiconductors, particularly heavy main group containing polymers, and their device applications.
Celebrate Professor Martin Heeney
Unlike traditional polymers, which are electrically insulating, conjugated polymers can be either conducting or semiconducting materials, and therefore find potential use in a range of interesting applications, from flexible, rollable displays to transparent solar cells for smart windows to integrated sensors. Their performance in such applications is critically dependent on their arrangement in the solid-state, which is strongly linked to their chemical structure amongst other factors. Professor Heeney’s group’s work has focussed on the development of new classes of such polymers, which are designed to self-assemble in the solid-state to provide optimal performance.Read full biography
Professor Heeney is a Professor of Organic Materials Chemistry and Royal Society Wolfson Fellow at Imperial College London. He is a graduate of the University of East Anglia and received his PhD from the same institution in 1999 under the supervision of Professor Michael Cook. Following a postdoctoral position with a start-up company in the area of photodynamic therapy, he joined Merck Chemicals in 2000, eventually becoming project leader for the organic electronics team. He made the move to academia in 2007, joining the Materials Department at Queen Mary University of London as a senior lecturer. In 2009 he moved across London to join the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London.
His research interests are mainly in the area of organic electronics, with a focus on the design, synthesis and characterisation of solution processed materials for a variety of applications. He has published over 300 research papers, six book chapters and over 100 patents. In 2013 he was awarded the RSC Corday-Morgan Prize and from 2014–2018 he was named by Thomson Reuters as a HighlyCited researcher in the field of Materials Science.
How did you first become interested in chemistry?
Watching (from a safe distance) my dad’s homemade fireworks as a child.
What advice would you give a young person considering a career in chemistry?
I think it’s important to accept all the opportunities that come your way, even if you don’t feel comfortable or ready at the time. The best advice I’ve received is don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer.
Why do you think teamwork is important in science?
There are so many reasons. It brings new expertise and skills, different perspectives and ideas and most importantly it helps to builds a network of friends and collaborators.