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Sam Stranks

Halide perovskites for solar photovoltaics

Halide perovskites are hybrid crystalline materials developed out of curiosity. Unexpectedly, solar photovoltaic (PV) light-harvesting devices incorporating these perovskites are rapidly emerging as serious contenders to rival the leading technologies. PV power conversion efficiencies have jumped from 3% to over 24% in just seven years of academic research, now exceeding the performance of commercial thin film technologies. In this talk, I will give an overview of the potential of this nascent technology to enable new PV application opportunities through high-performance, lightweight solar PV systems, as well as the key commercialisation challenges facing the technology. I will show how we are addressing these challenges through multi-modal approaches to connect the local behaviour of energised charge carriers to the local material, chemical and physical properties of the device structures. In particular, we track the energised charges as they lose their energy to heat upon collisions with unwanted defects using techniques with extremely short length and fast time resolution, and use this information to identify avenues towards eliminating these defects and associated power losses. Understanding and eliminating these processes is key to further development of the field and to bringing the perovskite technology to commercialisation.

Sam Stranks

Sam Stranks

Department of Physics, University of Cambridge

Sam Stranks is a University Lecturer in Energy and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He completed his PhD as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University with Robin Nicholas, receiving the 2012 Institute of Physics Roy Thesis Prize for his work on carbon nanotube/polymer blends for organic solar cell applications. He was then a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, followed by a Marie Curie Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sam received the 2016 IUPAP Young Scientist in Semiconductor Physics Prize, the 2017 Early Career Prize from the European Physical Society, the 2018 Henry Moseley Award and Medal from the Institute of Physics, and the 2019 Marlow Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry for his pioneering work on halide perovskite optoelectronics. Sam is also a co-founder of Swift Solar, a startup developing lightweight perovskite PV panels, and was named by the MIT Technology Review as one of the 35 under 35 innovators in Europe.