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EPSRC CDT in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future



Sam Stranks (@samstranks) is a University Lecturer in Energy and Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology and the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. He graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2007 with a BA (German and Applied Mathematics), BSc Hons (Physics and Physical Chemistry) and a University Medal. He completed his PhD as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, receiving the 2012 Institute of Physics Roy Thesis Prize. From 2012-2014, he was a Junior Research Fellow at Oxford University and Worcester College, Oxford, before holding a Marie Curie Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2014-2016). Sam established his research group (@strankslab) in Cambridge in 2017.

Sam's research focuses on the optical and electronic properties of emerging semiconductors including halide perovskites, carbon allotropes and organic semiconductors for low-cost electronics applications such as photovoltaics and lighting. He 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. In 2016 he was named a TED Fellow, and in 2017 he was listed by the MIT Technology Review as one of the 35 under 35 innovators in Europe. Sam is a co-founder of Swift Solar, a startup developing lightweight perovskite PV panels.


Our research focuses on the optical and electronic properties of emerging semiconductor systems in order to control the absorption or emission of light and/or manipulate the transport and recombination of energised charge carriers in these materials. Our work finds a number of applications in the sensors space including light harvesting (photovoltaics, photo- and X-Ray- detectors) and light emission (LEDs, lasers) devices. These areas impact the affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) and good health and well-being (SDG 3) themes. We use optical spectroscopic techniques to assess the optoelectronic quality of materials and relate these characteristics directly to their chemical, material, morphological and structural properties. We employ a number of cutting edge techniques to monitor the photophysics of full devices under operating conditions with high spatial and temporal resolution. Through these approaches, we can make new fundamental scientific discoveries as well as construct optimised devices in which we push efficiencies to their theoretical limits. Our recent work has a strong focus on halide perovskites and organic semiconductors. 


University Lecturer in Energy
Royal Society University Research Fellow
Sam Stranks