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The Directors

Power Textiles Limited has two Executive Directors: Professor John Wilson and Dr. Robert Mather.

Professor John Wilson

John Wilson has been Professor of Materials Processing at Heriot-Watt University, Physics, since 1996. His first post there was in 1975 as Wolfson Research Fellow, following a similar appointment at St Andrews University. His interests in the applications of solar energy span 30 years of research, from thin-film II-VI cells for his PhD thesis, later pioneering the UK amorphous silicon solar cell research, and to recent work on flexible solar cells. 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.

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 is 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.

At Heriot-Watt University, John has been Academic Head of Physics (2002-5), has set up several degree programmes, and has supervised over 25 PhD students, currently including Chinese Ph.D. student visitors from Beijing Jiaotong University. Lecturing responsibilities have encompassed all levels of university teaching. His publications include a book on solar energy, encyclopaedia and book chapters, and >170 scientific papers. He is on the editorial board of physica status solidi (Wiley-VCH).

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 is a Cambridge graduate in Chemistry, with a Ph.D. from Birmingham University in polymer chemistry. He is a Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Textile Institute. He is also a Corporate Member of the Society of Dyers and Colourists. After two spells of postdoctoral work at Imperial College and Brunel University in London, he worked for 10 years in the R&D Department of Ciba-Geigy Pigments at Paisley, Scotland. He then transferred to The Scottish College of Textiles (SCOT) in Galashiels, where he acquired his interest in technical textiles and established a research profile in polypropylene fibre processing. He also worked on 3D woven engineering products. As well as the incorporation of solar cells onto textiles, his R&D interests include gas plasma treatments for textiles, and the application of polypropylene nonwovens for oil spill recovery. SCOT subsequently became part of Heriot-Watt University, where Robert is now an Honorary Senior Lecturer.

Robert was Director for five years of the newly established Technical Textiles and Polymer Innovation Unit at Galashiels, set up with funds from the 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 been contributing chapters to a number of books on technical textiles. Together with a co-author, he has written a book on textile chemistry, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.