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In memoriam: Professor Poopathy Kathirgamanathan


Professor Poopathy Kathirgamanathan, who has died aged 67, was an extremely talented academic with a long and world-leading career in organic electronics.

Affectionately known as PK, Poopathy joined Brunel University London's Wolfson Centre in 2009 as Professor of Electronic Materials Engineering, bringing with him a wealth of experience in researching and developing high-efficiency lighting and display panels using organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

Technology he invented in his previous role at London South Bank University resulted in the spin-off company OLED-T, which he founded in 2000 and which commercialised OLED materials for 8 years.

He attracted a great deal of UK and international grants, including Horizon 2020 funding for the three-year European Flexolighting project, in partnership with a consortium including Marks & Spencer and Tata Steel. The project, coordinated by Poopathy and which concluded in 2018, revealed that by introducing novel manufacturing techniques and rethinking the complete supply chain, it’s possible to reduce the cost of producing thin, high-efficiency OLED lighting panels to a similar level to that of traditional LEDs.

Colleague and friend Emeritus Professor Jack Silver, who had the pleasure of knowing Poopathy for nearly 30 years, said: "Over the years, we often attended the same international display and lighting conferences, and he always found the time to meet me and exchange views. To talk science with him was both an honour and a privilege. So it was a coup for me and my colleagues to attract him to join Brunel.

"Poopathy was much more than just a distinguished scientist. He took his teaching and educational duties very seriously – a respected teacher who took particular pride in his PhD students.

"Above all, he had a great sense of humour, was an honest and true friend, and a real gentleman. I will miss Poopathy greatly, and the Wolfson Centre at Brunel has lost one of its best."

Professor Poopathy Kathirgamanathan died on 20 November 2019. He is survived by his wife Jayanthi, his daughter Janany and his son Ganesh.

Reported by:

Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268821