2018 Henry Moseley Medal and Prize

Dr Sam Stranks of the University of Cambridge for his work in pioneering the understanding of the photoexcited states in metal halide perovskite semiconductor materials as used in efficient solar cells, including their diffusion, collection and recombination.

2018 Henry Moseley Medal and Prize

Dr Sam Stranks has been spectacularly successful in developing understanding of the semiconductor processes that control metal halide perovskite solar cells and has established an international reputation for this work.

Sam worked as a Post-Doc Junior Research Fellow with Henry Snaith in Oxford, where he produced a seminal paper for the field in Science 2013, which has received more than 3000 citations. This demonstrated long carrier diffusion ranges, over 1 micron, and established the correct basis for the understanding of the semiconductor processes that operate in the perovskites, showing that both electrons and holes are fully mobile and that there is bulk photogeneration of free carriers. Sam also appreciated the importance for efficient photovoltaic operation of the remarkably efficient photoluminescence in the perovskites.

Sam moved to MIT in 2014 for two years, supported by an EU Marie-Curie Fellowship and, in the group of Vladimir Bulovic, developed his work on the perovskites very successfully. He produced important papers on the role of Rashba-split indirect bandgaps on radiative recombination rates (Nature Materials, 2017) and on evidence that these perovskite systems show rapid halide redistribution under illumination (Nature Communications, 2016).

Sam returned to the UK, to Cambridge, in October 2016, to complete his EU Marie-Curie Fellowship and then take up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in October 2017.  Sam was recently awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant and has very rapidly built up a world-leading and independent research programme on perovskites.

His particular focus has been on radiative and non-radiative recombination and their impact on solar cell performance. He has led the field in the use of luminescence microscopies to track luminescence behaviour in these polycrystalline samples and, in this way, to engineer materials with reduced non-radiative decay rates. Sam has shown very convincingly that this is largely controlled by defects at crystallite surfaces, and has demonstrated how this can be controlled using surface chemical treatments. Most recently, he found that addition of potassium causes specific and desirable modification to the crystallite surfaces, bringing luminescent yields and solar cell performance to extremely high values (Nature, 2018).

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