Professor Amaratunga is a founder of five technology start-up companies: CamSemi and Enecsys in the area of electronics which have attracted in excess of $120M in venture capital funding and have class leading commercial products in the market, Nanoinstruments in the area of nanotechnology which was acquired by Aixtron AG in 2007 and WindTechnologies and Camutronics which are at earlier stages of product development.
He has published over 500 archived journal and conference papers (~15000 citations) and is an inventor on 32 patents. Professor Amaratunga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2004. In 2007 he was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal ‘for outstanding personal contributions to British engineering resulting in commercial success’.
Professor Amaratunga’s research is in the broad area of materials and technologies for electrical energy and power. It intersects electrical and electronic engineering with chemistry, physics, materials science and information systems.
An example would be a solar cell. Here the physics of optics, photonics and solid state electronics are realized in a material the properties of which are determined by its chemical elements, their bonding and long range order. The application however is as an optoelectronic battery ( cell), connected to other similar batteries ( panels) , which in turn are connected together to feed power into the electrical grid through ultra efficient DC-AC conversion/inversion using power electronics. Professor Amaratunga’s research spans the whole spectrum of areas from nanophotonics for enhancing light coupling into solar cells to solar electricity generation and its intelligent connection to the electrical power system to maximise benefit.
Electrochemical batteries and supercapacitors used as energy/power sources, another subject of interest, engender a similar spectrum of research areas.
Nanomaterials and nanotechnology in the context of solar cells and energy storage devices is a research focus.