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News

Outstanding Young Investigator Award for work on solar cells

Materials Research Society (MRS) : 21 May, 2014  (Company News)
The Materials Research Society’s (MRS) Outstanding Young Investigator Award recognizes outstanding, interdisciplinary scientific work in materials research by a young scientist or engineer who shows exceptional promise as a developing leader in the materials area. This year's award was presented to Henry Snaith, a professor of physics at Oxford University, for "innovation and development of solid state dye-sensitized solar cells and for his groundbreaking work in perovskite hybrid solar cells." Snaith was recognized on April 23 during the Awards Ceremony at the 2014 MRS Spring Meeting held in San Francisco.
During his research at the University of Cambridge, Snaith demonstrated growth of dye-sensitized solar cells from perfectly organized nanoporous titanium dioxide, formed by templated growth onto a self-organized diblock copolymer. Since then, his achievements include the first demonstration of “gyroid” structured titania for dye solar cells, the first demonstration of mesoporous single crystals of anatase TiO2, and the recent discovery of high-efficiency solid-state organometal trihalide perovskite-based thin film and mesosuperstructured solar cells. In 2012, he reported a lead iodide perovskite structure that can produce a power conversion efficiency above 10%. With this new structure, it is possible to dispense with the titanium dioxide. He later reported efficiencies up to 15% in a simple layer-by-layer structure deposited by simple evaporation and solution processing techniques.
 
Snaith received his MSc degree in 2001 from the University of Bristol and his PhD degree from Cambridge in 2004. He was awarded the Patterson Medal of the Institute of Physics in 2012, and named as one of “Nature’s 10” people who mattered in 2013. In 2010, he founded Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd, which is commercialising perovskite solar cells for building integrated and utility scale photovoltaic applications.
 
Perovskite thin-film solar cells
 
Oxford PV has pioneered the development of perovskite thin-film solar cells, which can be printed directly onto glass to produce a transparent, coloured coating.
 
Once integrated into the glazing units of a building, the technology is capable of providing a significant percentage of the building’s electrical energy requirements directly from solar power.
 
By employing well known and understood printing processes focussed on inexpensive and abundant raw materials, Oxford PV has developed a highly cost-effective technology that it will license to glass manufacturers and processors.
 
Prototypes of its new Meso-Superstructured Solar Cells (MSSC) have already achieved a new conversion efficiency record for the technology of 17% (February 2014).
 
Significantly, these results were achieved without using Mesoporous Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) as a semiconductor, resulting in higher levels of efficiency, much lower processing temperatures and improved cell stability.
 
The company plans to continuously optimise its perovskite solar cells towards a goal of more than 20% efficiency and accelerate the transfer of the technology into production. It also aims to develop the range of substrates to which the cells can be applied.
 
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