Published: 15 September 2015

Sixth former’s research presented at British Science Festival

Research conducted by an 18 year old during a summer placement with the University of Surrey has been presented at the British Science Festival.

Thomas Burridge, who was on a placement at Surrey organised by SATRO (an educational charity and social enterprise) last summer, co-authored the research paper with lead researcher Dr Radu Sporea and Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI).

The research was presented on 9th September by Dr Radu Sporea at the British Science Festival, hosted this year by the University of Bradford. Dr Sporea was delivering his presentation having been awarded the prestigious 2015 Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award Lecture.

Published in Nature Scientific Reports on the same day, the research challenges the idea that the self-heating effects of source gated transistors (SGTs) – an evolution of the conventional thin-film transistor – could jeopardise their usability. The findings demonstrate that these effects are minimal and that SGTs are suitable for use in consumer technology.

Already proven in a variety of material systems such as silicon and organics, on either glass or plastics, SGTs have the potential to enable more lightweight and energy efficient flexible electronic devices, and could be incorporated into clothing, sensors and displays – making wearable technology and flexible screens more accessible.

Thomas said, “Being able to work with leading professionals to develop technology that could be fundamental for future electronic devices was an amazing and enjoyable opportunity. Seeing how real research is carried out was very interesting and the work I was involved in really helped me to develop new skills.”

“I decided to do it because I was interested in engineering and it was a great opportunity to find out more about studying engineering and having a career in engineering research. I also wanted to make a contribution to real scientific research. During the placement I had to code and run computer simulations of source gated transistors and analyse the results to determine if self-heating was significant.”

Dr Sporea commented, “The results show that, with straightforward optimisations to the design, the source-gated transistor can be a robust component of future large-area and flexible electronics, lending more support to the utility of this unconventional device.

“The way we went about the research makes this an even more rewarding achievement. What Thomas has achieved in his month-long placement at Surrey is truly admirable, and a reminder of the potential waiting to be unlocked in young engineering minds. I am delighted to be able to host such enthusiastic people and I hope Thomas is among the first in a long line of students who embrace engineering as a result of these placements.”

Thomas is now due to start studying engineering at the University of Cambridge.

The paper, ‘Self-heating effects in polysilicon source gated transistors’, was published in Nature Scientific Reports on 9 September 2015.


Discover our programmes in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Share what you've read?