2012 Paterson medal and prize

Dr Henry J Snaith, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford.

For his important contributions to the field of excitonic solar cells.

Henry Snaith is a leading figure in excitonic solar cell research and in organic and hybrid optoelectronics. His activities range from nanomaterials synthesis through to device fabrication and optimisation, optical spectroscopy and theory. He has studied a number of device systems including LEDs, polymer lasers, polymer solar cells and transistors, but focuses his efforts on solid-state dye sensitised solar cells (DSSC). DSSC technology has a real chance of becoming a major future power source, with very low basic materials and processing cost. Snaith has made significant contributions to the study of charge generation and transport mechanisms in polymer blend, hybrid and dye-sensitised solar cells: he has introduced new device concepts and new optoelectronic methods to analyse these nanocomposite materials.

His achievements include the first demonstration of gyroidal nanostructured metal oxide electrodes in dye-sensitised solar cells, and the first clear observation of charge generation from light coupled through the surface plasmon modes of core-shell metal-insulator nanoparticles in hybrid solar cells. He has also demonstrated record power conversion efficiencies of over 5% for solid-state DSSCs by enhancing light capture in the active layer.

His research has a strong practical focus, and he is contributing to the commercial development of DSSC technology. In 2010 he founded Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd. to commercialise the solid-state DSSC technology being developed in his laboratory.