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The Directors

Power Textiles Limited has two directors: Professor John Wilson and Dr. Robert Mather, who together bring wide experience in solar cell and textile technologies.

Professor John Wilson

John Wilson was Professor of Materials Processing at Heriot-Watt University, Physics, from 1996 until 2012. His first post there was Wolfson Research Fellow 1975, following a similar appointment at St Andrews University. At Heriot-Watt University, John was Academic Head of Physics (2002-5 and 2010-2012), setting up several degree programmes, and supervising over 30 PhD and MSc students, including a collaboration with Chinese Ph.D. students from Beijing Jiaotong University. His publications include a book on solar energy, encyclopaedia and book chapters, and over 200 scientific papers.

His interests in the applications of solar energy span over 40 years of research, from thin-film II-VI cells for his PhD thesis, later pioneering the UK amorphous silicon solar cell research, and to current work on flexible solar cells. Recently he worked with a small group at The Turing Trust to design and deliver a solar-powered, off-grid, computer laboratory for Malawi. He has been a consultant to the UN and to companies (e.g. Pilkington) and institutions throughout the world (e.g. Romania, India, Nigeria) on solar energy and photovoltaics, and was founder secretary of the Scottish Solar Energy Group until 1988. He presently delivers solar photovoltaic training courses for the European Energy Centre Limited, Edinburgh.

His materials R&D used lasers and plasmas to deposit or modify metals, semiconductors, dielectrics and polymers, for applications in optics, mechanics and bioengineering. In particular, research into thin-film diamond led to the founding of DILAB Limited in 1994, of which he was managing director. The company gained two SMART awards for the design and development of microwave plasma coating equipment for thin-film diamond, and a business innovation award during the Euroleaders ’95 course, run by the European Business Network.

Professional memberships held include:

  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics (and a past member of their Science Board), CPhys and CEng

Dr Robert Mather

Robert Mather’s involvement with textiles began when he joined the staff at the Scottish College of Textiles (SCOT) in Galashiels in 1983. He had previously worked for ten years at Ciba-Geigy Pigments in Paisley, following two spells of postdoctoral work at Imperial College and Brunel University in London. At SCOT, which subsequently became part of Heriot-Watt University, Robert acquired his interest in technical textiles and established a profile in the processing of polypropylene fibres. He also worked on three-dimensional woven engineering products. As well as the incorporation of solar cells onto textiles, his R&D interests include gas plasma treatments for textiles.

Robert was Director for five years of the newly established Technical Textiles and Polymer Innovation Unit at Galashiels, set up with funds from the UK Department of Trade and Industry. During this period, the Unit successfully undertook projects for a variety of companies, and Robert was contracted to write on the technical textile industry in Scotland for a briefing paper for the Scottish Executive. In 2000, the Unit was subsumed into the UK TechniTex Faraday Partnership, and he became responsible for technology transfer in the Partnership’s organisation. He has also been Director of the Biomedical Textiles Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University. He is the author of over 80 technical papers and in recent years has contributed chapters to a number of books on technical textiles. Together with a co-author, he wrote a book on textile chemistry for the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2011. A second, updated edition was published in 2015.

Professional memberships held include:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, CChem
  • Fellow of the Textile Institute, CTex