Rick Smith

Favourite Thing: Trying to understand the physics that makes the electronics we all use work, and using this knowledge to design tomorrows technologies.



The University of Sheffield


Physics BSc and soon (hopefully) PhD

Work History:

The University of Sheffield

Current Job:

PhD Research student


The University of Sheffield

Me and my work

Somewhere between Physics, Chemistry and nanoengineering, trying to improve LEDs using the science at the smallest scale.

I work on new techniques to improve the performance of LEDs for the next generation of energy efficient lighting and new Lasers. I use techniques from different sciences applied at nano scale, just one hundred thousand times smaller than a human hair.

Working with semiconductor materials I spend about half my time in a semiconductor fabrication cleanroom lab making new structures and the other half firing lasers at the samples to see what I have made.

The next stages of my work will be moving the science I have done in the lab into practice and using these techniques in lights that could be lighting our homes in the next few years.

When I’m not in the lab I like road cycling and learning Chinese.

My Typical Day

Fire Lasers at some samples and see what happens.

What I'd do with the money

Help fund some books to help young children become curious about science.

A colleague of mine has been developing books designed to help young children develop curiosity in science and I would use the money to help those books make it to some schools.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Happy, optimistic and curious.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

What's your favourite food?

Taiwanese Food

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Getting married

What did you want to be after you left school?

Several different things, before I realized I had to be a scientist

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not really

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Probably my parents introducing me to some of the amazing things about the world

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

An Engineer

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Tell us a joke.

Other stuff

Work photos:

Where I fire Lasers at my samples:

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And some of the equipment I use to make my samples:

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