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Lars Samuelson receives the IVA’s Great Gold Medal
jessika [dot] sellergren [at] lth [dot] lu [dot] se (Jessika Sellergren)
- published 22 September 2022
Lars Samuelson, professor of nanotechnology and semiconductor electronics at LTH and founder of NanoLund, is awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences’ (IVA) Great Gold Medal for significant contributions to the Academy’s field of activity. The award is presented by IVA’s patron, HM The King.
Lars Samuelson is awarded the prize for his internationally outstanding contributions as an innovative researcher and research leader in nanoscience and nanotechnology, and for the application of scientific results, not least in semiconductor technology.
On being awarded the prestigious gold medal, Lars Samuelson says:
“I am incredibly pleased and honored to be considered for the unique award of the IVA Great Gold Medal. I see this as a collective award to the amazing environment of talented students and researchers that I have had the privilege to lead and work with.”
Throughout his career, Lars Samuelson has made a name for himself as a creative innovator, able to bring together experts in many different fields and get them working towards a common goal. Back in 1988, he founded Europe’s first center for nano research – the Nanometer Consortium, now NanoLund – and led it for 25 years.
Part of the nanowire revolution
Lars Samuelson and his research colleagues have made several epoch-making discoveries. His research team was among the first in the world to build nanowires – wire-shaped crystals that, when grown in a lab environment, enable unique properties of the material.
“For basic research, the breakthrough gave us access to unique one-dimensional component structures where we could study basic quantum physics and manipulate individual electrons. This had a major impact on the scientific literature, and together with Harvard and Berkeley, we in Lund were part of the nanowire revolution,” says Lars Samuelson.
Several companies and commercially viable products have been spun off from Lars Samuelson's research on nanowires. One of them is Glo AB, which has been particularly successful in developing unique nanomaterial-based light-emitting diodes for electronic displays.
“The companies are the result of the research that I and my research colleagues have published scientifically and patented over the years,” says Lars Samuelson.
In recent years, a strong development in power electronics and advanced display technology based on gallium nitride (GaN) has taken place in one of the research spin-off companies, Hexagem AB, which develops semiconductors for electric cars and displays technology at Ideon in Lund. Lars Samuelson explains that gallium nitride, in addition to being a superior material for power and radio frequency technology, is the semiconductor material that has enabled the transition to LED-based lighting.
“Our super-small gallium nitride LEDs, so-called nano-LEDs with sizes as small as 300–600 nanometers, are considered a key technology for tomorrow’s displays for pilots and car drivers, among others, which I am continuing to explore today,” says Lars Samuelson.
New challenges and opportunities at universities in China
After Lars Samuelson started to wind down his activities at NanoLund five years ago, he received a new offer he found hard to resist, as Chair Professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and Institute Director of the Institute of Nanoscience and Applications in the city of Shenzhen in China.
“Today, Shenzhen has developed into a meeting place for semiconductor technology and related research where I, as a semiconductor physicist, find it particularly exciting to be,” says Lars Samuelson.
About the medal
Motivation for IVA's Great Gold Medal 2022:
“Professor Lars Samuelson is awarded IVA's Great Gold Medal for his internationally outstanding contributions as an innovative researcher and research leader in nanoscience and nanotechnology and for the application of the scientific results, not least in semiconductor technology.”
About IVA’s Great Gold Medal (from IVA’s website)
The IVA Great Gold Medal is awarded to those who have made a particularly outstanding contribution to the Academy's field of activity. The IVA Gold Medal is awarded for significant achievements in the fields of invention, research, dissemination of knowledge, technology, and administration. The medals will be awarded at the IVA’s High Ceremony by the IVA's patron, HM The King, on 28 October 2022.
Lars Samuelson has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) since 2007, and of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) since 2006. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Japan Society of Applied Physics, among others. In 2008, he was also appointed Einstein Professor by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Lars Samuelson is the third researcher at LTH to receive IVA's Great Gold Medal. Previous winners are Karl-Johan Åström (2002) and Sune Svanberg (2010).
Several companies have spun off from Lars Samuelson’s research. Some of them are
Sol Voltaics AB
Written by Jessika Sellergren. Photo by Evelina Lindén, Lund University