His research encompasses the physics, materials science and engineering of semiconductor devices made with carbon-based semiconductors, particularly polymers. His research advances have shown that carbon-based semiconductors have significant applications in LEDs, solar cells, lasers, and electronics. These have been developed and exploited through a number of spin-off companies. His current research interests are directed to novel schemes – including ideas inspired by recent insights into nature’s light harvesting – that seek to improve the performance and cost of solar cells.
Sir Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He has received many international awards for his research, including Laureate of the Millennium Prize for Technology (2010), the Harvey Prize of the Israel Institute of Technology (2011) and the von Hippel Award of the Materials Research Society (2015). He was knighted for "Services to Physics" in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, 2003.