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Plenary Session Featuring The Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Materials Science

Tuesday, April 23
8:15 am – 9:30 am
Summit - Seattle Convention Center, Level 5, Ballroom 2

2024 MRS Spring Meeting Plenary Speaker

Alán Aspuru-Guzik
Henry Snaith
University of Oxford


Henry Snaith is a professor of physics at the University of Oxford, and Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Oxford PV and Helio Display Materials. He works on new materials and devices for photovoltaic solar-energy conversion and optoelectronic applications. Snaith is most renowned for the discovery that metal halide perovskites can produce extremely efficient solar cells when processed as a solid thin film “sandwiched” between two charge-selective electrodes, and for his work on perovskite “tandem cells.” He was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society at the age of 37, for “starting a new field of research attracting both academic and industrial following.” He has won numerous awards and accolades, including the Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy, the MRS Outstanding Young Investigator Award, the Becquerel Prize in Photovoltaics, being named one of “Natures Ten” people who mattered, in recognition of his work on next-generation solar power technology, and topping the rank of the world’s “most influential scientific minds.”

Metal Halide Perovskites—From a Scientific Curiosity Toward an Industrialized Photovoltaic Technology

Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy is already the least expensive form of producing electricity in many geographic locations. The industry is set to increase in scale by at least another order of magnitude, and many technological innovations are being developed and implemented at the laboratory scale, implying that the roadmap for progress will continue to deliver efficiency and power output gains for decades to come. Altogether, it is inevitable that a significant fraction of our future, clean and sustainable power generation capacity will be met with PV. One of the most exciting new materials, poised to deliver significant efficiency gains for solar PV, is metal halide perovskites. These materials were only found to be remotely useful for solar energy conversion a little over a decade ago, and since then the performance of a solar cell fabricated with a single thin film of metal halide perovskites has reached the performance of the very best silicon PV cells, with multi-junction perovskite, or perovskite-on-silicon tandem cells, shooting past and beyond the efficiency levels that could ever be achieved with Silicon or even Gallium Arsenide alone. Despite the progress, there remain naysayers, largely pointing toward the unproven stability of metal halide perovskites and also the reliance upon lead in the most efficient and most stable perovskite materials. In this lecture, I will describe some of the key moments in the early development of metal halide perovskite PV, some of the key research challenges, opportunities and recent progress, and the industrial progress toward delivering a reliable, scalable and sustainable PV technology.



The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity. The foundation’s mission is to stimulate basic research in astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience and theoretical physics; strengthen the relationship between science and society; and honor scientific discoveries with The Kavli Prize. Learn more at kavlifoundation.org and follow @kavlifoundation.

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