Professor Henry Snaith

Professor Snaith awarded Rank Prize

Photovoltaics and nanoscience
Condensed Matter Physics

Professor Henry Snaith, Binks Professor of Renewable Energy, is one of seven internationally leading scientists to be awarded the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics 2022. The prize is awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to optoelectronics where an initial idea has been carried through to practical applications that have or will demonstrably benefit mankind.

Professor Snaith has been awarded the prize for his work on the key initial development of all-solid-state perovskite semiconductor solar cells. He discovered that a new type of solar cell material, named perovskites, can produce extremely efficient solar cells when integrated into a simple thin-film device, which are also very easy and cheap to manufacture. By combining perovskites with silicon, in so-called ‘tandem cells’ he has demonstrated efficiencies far beyond what is possible with existing commercial PV technologies and promises to deliver the next generation of improved PV for powering the world towards net zero. Henry is in the process of commercialising this technology, as co-founder and Chief Scientific Offer of Oxford PV ltd. Oxford PV is presently building the first full-scale production line based on his perovskite technology.

‘It is a great honour to be awarded this prize, alongside my colleagues in the field who have contributed significantly to the discovery and advancement of perovskite solar cells,’ comments Professor Snaith. ‘The last ten years has been an unexpected and unbelievable journey of discovery, and the next decade promises to be equally exciting, as we enable the industrialisation of perovskite photovoltaics and accelerate the global transition to carbon-free energy production.’

Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of the Department of Physics, comments: ‘Henry’s work is groundbreaking; photovoltaic research is vital if we are to address the impact of energy use on the Earth’s climate and Henry’s group is leading the way. This latest accolade is a fantastic and much-deserved achievement.’