Department of Physics: Papers relating to amorphous silicon

Scope and Content

Experiment results from the University of Leicester, 1960-1968; Experiment results from the University of Dundee, 1960-1993; Lecture and Seminar notes, 1979-1990; Minutes and reports of meetings, 1984-1990; Photographs and slides, n.d.; Publications, 1970-1992; Articles, 1959-1991; Instruction Manuals and Guide Books, 1941-1990; Miscellaneous items, c.1977-1991; Architectural Plans, 1983-1988

Administrative / Biographical History

Educated at the University of Leicester, Peter Le Comber was appointed at the University of Dundee in 1968. In 1986 he achieved a personal chair in Solid State Physics, pioneering research into amorphous silicon fields and transistors. During his career, Le Comber published over 170 papers and was co-inventor of 10 patents. His research culminated in the first hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si: H) transistor, as used in matrix LC displays, with a current value of fifty billion dollars. Amorphous silicon is a non-crystalline allotropic form of silicon and can be divided into two main groups according to their structural properties, namely crystalline and amorphous. Anyone who uses solar powered calculators, or has purchased a LCD or plasma television, will benefit from his work.

With the aid of his colleagues, Le Comber made other discoveries during his time at Dundee. The most important include the first report of photovoltaic (solar cell) activity in the first all amorphous thin-film diode, and the observation of the double reversal of the sign of the Hall Effect in hydrogenated amorphous silicon. Peter Le Comber died of a heart attack whilst celebrating his thirtieth wedding anniversary in Switzerland.


Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The University of Dundee Physics Department.


The manuals in this collection (/8) are the manuals for the equipment used by Walter Spear and Peter Le Comber in the early days of amorphous semiconductor research at the University of Dundee and the University of Leicester.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The records are on paper and include photographs, slides and rubyfiche

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description compiled by William Young, Archival Student, November 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.

Custodial History

The manuals were retained by the University of Dundee Physics department and stored in the Jute Shed between the Geddes quadrangle and Small's Wynd at the University until their deposit into the archives in 2004.



Location of Originals

The material is original or photocopies of publications


Personal Names