2008 Tabor medal and prize

Professor David Ritchie

The University of Cambridge

For his highly accomplished experimental work in developing and fabricating novel semiconductor quantum devices with a wide range of applications. His work has re-defined the frontiers of semiconductor physics.

The Tabor medal and prize for distinguished research in surface or nanoscale physics has been awarded to Professor David Alastair Ritchie, Professor of Experimental Physics, Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, for his highly accomplished experimental work in developing and fabricating novel semiconductor quantum devices with a wide range of applications. His work has re-defined the frontiers of semiconductor physics.

Professor Ritchie has combined the development of techniques to grow extremely high-quality semiconductor crystals, with novel processing technology using molecular and ion beams to pattern three-dimensional nano and mesoscopic structures. Applications range from studies of the fundamental physics of electron transport to novel optoelectronic devices.

His research led to the discovery of the quantisation of conductance and many-body effects in one dimension, and to many other effects that are now significant in the burgeoning field of advanced semiconductor nanoelectronics. Of note, is his pivotal work, with Toshiba Research Europe Ltd in Cambridge, on photonic devices based on self-assembled quantum-dot technology which led to the first electrically-driven single photon device and the first on-demand source of entangled photons. These breakthroughs have significant implications for quantum communications and computing.

Ritchie’s group was also the first to grow material for a quantum cascade laser emitting at Terahertz frequencies. The materials for these lasers are exquisitely demanding to grow. They are revolutionising Terahertz technology and are attracting worldwide recognition and acclaim.

Professor Ritchie has provided inspirational guidance for numerous students and postdoctoral researchers working at Cambridge, developing a significant intellectual capacity there that has helped establish the UK as a world-leader in mesoscopic physics.