Member of Production & Storage Solutions Group
Role in Affiliated Centers
Co-founder of the Center for Polymers and Organic Solids and the Center for Energy Efficient Materials; Steering Committee Member of the Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials
Alan Heeger and his colleagues discovered conducting polymers (for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize), a novel class of materials with electrical and optical properties like metals and semiconductors coupled with the mechanical and processing advantages of polymers. Heeger continues to study aspects of the science and technology of these materials with a focus on the gate-induced insulator-to-metal transition in polymer Field Effect Transistors, understanding the detailed operation of bulk heterojunction "plastic" solar cells, and improving the efficiency of low-cost organic solar cells based on plastic and small molecule semiconductors.
Alan Heeger obtained a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1961 and was a member of the Physics Department at the University of Pennsylvania from 1962-82. In 1982, he moved to UC Santa Barbara to become Professor of Physics. He was one of the founding members of the Materials Department and currently holds a joint appointment in Physics and Materials. Widely known for his pioneering research in semiconducting and metallic polymers, Heeger is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2000), the Oliver E. Buckley Prize for Condensed Matter Physics, the Balzan Prize for the Science of New Materials, the President’s Medal for Distinguished Achievement from the University of Pennsylvania, the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Europe and Asia. He is a member of the National Academy of Science (USA), the National Academy of Engineering (USA), the Korean Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Science.
Heeger is also an experienced entrepreneur. He founded UNIAX Corporation in 1990, which was acquired by DuPont in 2000. He is co-founder of Konarka Technologies Inc., and is co-founder and Chairman of CBrite Inc. in Santa Barbara. He is also co-founder and Vice-Chairman of Cynvenio (micro fluidics for cell sorting and related areas) and Cytomx Therapeutics (novel technology for targeted drug delivery). Heeger has authored or co-authored more than 800 publications in scientific journals and has been granted more than 50 patents.