The work undertaken separately by seven academics to uncover the promise of perovskite materials for solar energy, and to open the door to high-efficiency devices, was recognized by the judges of the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics.
Seven solar researchers from academic institutions in Japan, Korea, Europe and the United States have seen their pioneering work on perovskite cells rewarded with the 25th Rank Prize for Optoelectronics.
Nam-Gyu Park, whose group first reported a long-term stable perovskite solar cell, in 2012; and Sang Il Seok, whose group laid the foundation for more efficient perovskite devices, are among the seven winners of the optoelectronics award founded by British industrialist Lord J Arthur Rank, who was the head of the Rank cinema group.
Park, professor of chemical engineering at Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, South Korea; and Seok, whose group presented the first inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite heterojunction solar cell to function differently from perovskite solar cells, were joined in the spotlight by Michael Graetzel, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne ( EPFL); Akihiro Kojima, of chemicals maker Zeon Corporation; Scientific robotics editor-in-chief Mike Lee; Tsutomu Miyasaka, founder of photoelectric conversion start-up Peccell Technologies and research fellow
University of Tokyo Center for Advanced Science and Technology; and Henry Snaith FRS, co-founder and scientific director of solar perovskite manufacturer Oxford PV.
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Graetzel, who heads the Photonics and Interfaces Laboratory at EPFL, pioneered research into energy and electron transfer reactions in mesoscopic systems and their use to generate electricity and fuels from the sun. His dye solar cells led to the advent of perovskite solar cells, and the professor was recently ranked at the top of Stanford University’s list of 100,000 of the world’s leading scientists.
Kojima studied the optical properties of organic-inorganic layered perovskite compounds in 2004, before receiving a Masters of Engineering in Photo-Optical Engineering from Tokyo Polytechnic University, and undertook research on the application of compounds from organometallic halide perovskite in dye solar cells as visible light sensitizers from 2005 to 2010, when he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Multidisciplinary Science from the University of Tokyo, before joining Peccell Tech.
Lee conducted research at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Intra-European Fellow and then completed his doctoral training at the University of Oxford. He was also co-founder of the publisher of Electronic Nature.
“Tom” Miyasaka’s research specializes in photoelectrochemistry and hybrid photovoltaic cells, in particular halide perovskite devices, and his accomplishments include the Chemical Society of Japan Prize, the PVSEC Hamakawa Prize, and the Clarivate Analytics Citation Honor. Award, all in 2017; the Japan Society of Applied Physics Achievement Award, in 2019; and last year’s Ichimura Academic Prize.
Park’s group is currently undertaking material and device engineering research for high-efficiency perovskite solar cells and developing high-efficiency technology as well as long-term stable processing technologies on large areas for commercialization. , and Seok and his colleagues hold the world record for the most efficient perovskite solar cell, at 25.5%, certified by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Snaith discovered that perovskites could produce extremely efficient solar cells when integrated into a simple thin-film device that would be easy and inexpensive to manufacture and his Oxford photovoltaic company is working to commercialize the production of perovskite cells. .
The two biennial Rank Awards recognize achievement in optoelectronics and nutrition, reflecting the business interests of the philanthropist they are named after, who also headed the Hovis food group.
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