Prof. Michael Graetzel

photo michael graetzel

Michael Grätzel created the field of molecular photovoltaics, being the first to conceive and realize mesoscopic photo-systems based on dyes as light harvesters that can rival and even exceed the performance of state of the art solar cells based on planar solid state p-n junctions.  He is credited with moving the photovoltaic field beyond the principle of light absorption via diodes to the molecular level. His device presented a new paradigm since the it features a 3-dimensional architecture in contrast to the planar p-n junction used in conventional solar cells. The prototype of this new photovoltaic family is the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC), also named “Grätzel cell”, which employs dye molecules, pigments or quantum dots to sensitize the mesoporous oxide semiconductor scaffold.

His landmark papers published in 1985 and 1991 (J.Am.Chem.Soc.1985, 107, 2988; Nature 1991, 353, 7377) had a huge impact, the Nature paper being cited over 20’000 times till now, ranking by citations amongst the top 100 papers of all times, published across all domains of science. His revolutionary approach allowed reaching very high efficiencies in a photovoltaic conversion process that separated, for the first time, light harvesting and charge carrier transport mimicking successfully the primary process in natural photosynthesis. A key advantage of the mesoscopic over planar semiconductor architecture is that it accomplishes near quantitative collection of the photo-generated charge carriers even for materials where the charge-carrier diffusion length is much shorter than the light absorption length.  DSCs are now commercially produced on a multi-MW/year scale for applications as light weight flexible power sources and electric power producing glazings. Grätzel also played a pivotal role in the recent development of perovskite solar cells (PSCs) that directly emerged from the DSC (Scientific Reports 2012, 2, 591, Nature 2013, 499, 316-319, Nature 2017, 545, 208-212, Their meteoric rise has attracted wide research interest with nearly 9000 papers published on the subject over the last 6 years.  Certified power conversion efficiencies currently attain 23.7%, exceeding already the performance of polycrystalline silicon solar cells. However, a serious caveat of PSCs has been their notorious instability to light, heat and moisture. This has put in question the outlook for practical applications of PSCs (Nature Materials, 2014 13, 838-842). Grätzel has made decisive contributions to realize stable and efficient PSCs that are suited for large-scale practical deployment as senior author or coauthor of four papers published recently in Science (Science 2014, 345, 295-298, Science 2015, 350, 944-948 and Science 2016, 353, 58-62, Science 2016, 353, 62-66).

Grätzel is also a leader in the field of fuel generation by sunlight, which is a key technology to provide future renewable energy sources that can be stored. Using a tandem of two mesoscopic photosystems he achieve the photo-electrochemical generation of hydrogen and oxygen from water splitting by visible light (Nature Photonics, 2012, 6, 824). A key advantage of mesoscopic over planar semiconductor architectures unraveled by Grätzel’s work on solar fuel production is that they can achieve near quantitative collection of the photo-generated charge carriers even for materials where the charge-carrier diffusion length is much shorter than the light absorption length. Recently he reached a new record solar to chemical conversion efficiency for the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen by of 12,3% by employing perovskite photovoltaics as light harvesters  (Science, 2014, 345, 1593-1596). A similar efficiency of 13.4 % was obtained for the direct solar reduction of CO2 to CO.

Awards and Academic Distinctions (past 10 years only)
2019  Elected Member of the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences (SATW)
2018  August Wilhelm von Hofmann Memorial Medal
2017  RusNANO Prize
2017  Global Energy Prize St. Petersburg, Russian Confederation
2017  Zewail Prize and Medal in Molecular Science
2016  Elected Member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Engineering
2016  Centenary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK )
2016  Paracelsus Prize and Medal of the Swiss Chemical Society
2016  Elected Member of the National Academy of Inventors, USA
2015  Ordre de mérite du canton de Vaud, Switzerland
2015  King Feisal International Science Prize, Saudi Arabia
2014  Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels, Israel
2014  Elected member of the German Academy of Science (Leopoldina)
2014  First Leigh-Ann Conn Prize in Renewable Energy, University of Kentucky USA
2014  Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK)
2013  Leonardo da Vinci Medal of the European Academy of Science.
2013  Marcel Benoist Prize (Switzerland)
2012  Swisselectric Research Award
2012  Albert Einstein World Award of Science, World Cultural Council.
2011  Wilhelm Exner Medal, Vienna Austria
2011  Federation of the European Material Societies (FEMS) Innovation Award
2011  Gutenberg Research Award, University of Mainz, Germany
2011  Paul Karrer Gold Medal University of Zurich, Switzerland
2010  Galileo Galilei Award, Padova Italy,
2010  Millenium Technology Grand Prize, Technology Academy Finland
2010  City of Florence Award of the Italian Chemical Society
2009  Balzan Prize , Balzan Foundation, Milano, Zurich
2009  Galvani Medal of the Italian Chemical Society
2008  Harvey Prize in Science and Technology ,The Technion Haifa, Israel
2007  First International Prize, Japan Society of Coordination Chemistry
2007  Kroll endowed Chair, University of Cornell, Itaca, USA, offered

Honorary Doctors Degrees (Dr.honoris causa)
Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paris-Cachan, France. Université de Liège Belgium, Roskilde University, Denmark. Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan, China. NTU (Singapore). University of Lund, Sweden. University of Nova Gorica Slovenia. University of Hasselt, Belgium. Delft University of Technology. University of Turin, University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Honorary Named Lectures (last 10 years only)
2018: Siemens Foundation Lecture,  Theodor Förster Memorial Lecture Munich Germany,  Peiyang Lecture Tianjin University China, Betts Lecture University of Manitoba, Canada, 2016: Shipley Lecture Clarkson University Potsdam NY (USA). 2014: Argonne National Laboratory Director’s Lecture, USA, Barré lectures University of Montreal. William Mong lecture University of Hong Kong.  2013:  O.Hassel Lecture, University of Oslo Norway. Nanqiang Lecture, University of Xiamen China, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director’s Lecture,USA. 2012:  Dr. R. A. Mashelkar Endowment Lecture, National Chemical Laboratory Pune, India, Oersted Lecture University of Copenhagen (DK), Kolthoff Lecture, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, Meloche Lecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Irvin Shain Lecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. 2011: Klaus Römer Lecture, Maximilian University, Munich, Germany, Albert Einstein Lectures, Chinese Academy of Science, China. Max Planck Lecture, MPI Stuttgart Germany. 47th Shiram Institute Founder Memorial Lecture, New Delhi, India. Louis Pasteur Lecture, Paris France. 2010: COPE Distinguished Lecture Georgia Tech, Atlanta Georgia, USA. European Chemical Society Lecture, Nuremberg Germany. European Science Foundation Lecture, Paris, France. CNR Rao Award Lecture, Indian Institute of Sciene Bangelore India. Michael Faraday Lecture, J.Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India. 2009: Patrick S. Ncholson Memorial Lecture, Lake Louise Canada. John C. Bailar Lectures and Medal University of Illinois. 2008 18th Brdicka Lecture, Karl’s University Prague, Czech Republic. 2008: AD Little lectures, MIT Boston, USA. 2008 “Lecture at the Leading Edge”, University of Toronto, Canada, Earl L. Muetterties Memorial Lectures, University of California at Berkeley, USA. 2007: William Lloyd Evans Lectures and Award, Ohio State University. Columbus, USA, 6th Distinguished Gouq-Jen Su lecturer, University of Rochester, Rochester USA.

Invited Professorships and Guest Scientist Appointments (last 5 years)

2007-2011 Mary Upson Visiting Professor, University of Cornell Ithaca N.Y. USA
2010 Watkins Visiting Professor, Wichita State University, Kansas, USA
2010-2013 Guest Professor, Tsinghua University Beijing, China
2010-2011 Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professor, NTU Singapore
2012 Einstein Professor  Chinese Academy of Science
2011-2014 Adjunct Professor, King Abdulaziz University (KAU) Jeddah, SA
2013-2019 Max Planck Fellow. MPI for Solid State Research Stuttgart
2013-2016 Distinguished Visiting Chair Professor and Honorary Director of SAINT (SungKyunKwan University Advanced Institute of Technology) Seoul
2007- 2016 Visiting Professor NUS and NTU Singapore
2017- 2022 Elected external member of the Max Plnack Institute for Solid State Research Stuttgart Germany

See below citation report from the Web of Science, January 17, 2019:

Selected list of 25 publications

  1. B. O’Regan and M. Grätzel “A Low Cost, High Efficiency Solar Cell based on the Sensitization of Colloidal Titanium Dioxide”, Nature,1991, 353, 7377-7381.
  2. A. Hagfeldt and M.Grätzel, Light Induced Redox Reactions in Nanocrystalline Systems, Chem. Rev. 1995, 95 ,49-68.
  3. P. Bonhôte, A.-P. Dias, N. Papageorgiou, K. Kalyanasundaram and M. Grätzel, Hydrophobic, Highly Conductive Ambient-Temperature Molten Salts, Inorganic Chem. 1996, 35, 1168-1178.
  4. U.Bach, D.Lupo, P.Comte, J.E.Moser, F.Weissörtel, J.Salbeck, H.Spreitzert and M.Grätzel, Solid-state dye-sensitized mesoporous TiO2 solar cells with high photon-to-electron conversion efficiencies, Nature 1998, 395, 550.
  5. A. Hagfeldt and M. Grätzel, M., Molecular Photovoltaics, Acc. Chem. Res. 2000, 33, 269.
  6. M. Grätzel, Photoelectrochemical Cells, Nature 2001, 414, 332.
  7. M. Grätzel, “Recent Advances in Sensitized Mesoscopic Solar Cells”, Acc. Chem. Res. 2009, 42, 1781.
  8. Y. Bai, Y. Cao, J. Zhang, M. Wang, R. Li, P. Wang, S.M. Zakeeruddin and M.Grätzel “High-performance dye-sensitized solar cells based on solvent-free electrolytes produced from eutectic melts”, Nature Mat. 2008, 7, 626-630.
  9. A.Yella, H.-W. Lee, H. N. Tsao,1 C. Yi, A.Kumar Chandiran,Md.K. Nazeeruddin,1 E. W.-G. Diau, C.-Y. Yeh, S. M. Zakeeruddin and M. Grätzel, “Porphyrin- based Solar Cell with Co(II/III) Redox Electrolyte Exceed 12 % Efficiency”, Science 2011, 334, 629 – 634.
  10. A.Paracchino, V. Laporte, K. Sivula, M. Grätzel and E. Thimsen “Highly active oxide photocathode for photoelectrochemical water reduction”, Nature Mat. 2011, 10, 456-461.
  11. M. Grätzel, R.A.J. Janssen, D.B. Mitzi and E.H. Sargent “Materials interface engineering for solution- processed photovoltaics”, Nature 2012, 488, 304-312.
  12. J.H Delcamp, A. Yella, T.W. Holcombe, and M.Grätzel, “The Molecular Engineering of Organic Sensitizers for Solar-Cell Applications”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 52, 376-380.
  13. J.H. Heo, S. H. Im, J.H. Noh, T.N. Mandal, Ch.S. Lim J.A. Chang, Y.H. Lee, H.J Kim, A. Sarkar, Md.K. Nazeeruddin, M. Grätzel, and S.I. Seok, Efficient inorganic–organic hybrid heterojunctionsolar cells containing perovskite compound and polymeric hole conductors, Nature Photonics 2013, 7, 487-492.
  14. J. Brillet, J.-H. Yum, M. Cornuz, T. Hisatomi, R. Solarska, J.Augustynski, M. Grätzel and K. Sivula. “Highly efficient water splitting by dual-absorber tandem cell“, Nature Photonics 2012, 6, 824.
  15. J. Burschka, N. Pellet, S.-J. Moon, R.Humphry-Baker, P. Gao1, M K. Nazeeruddin1 and M. Grätzel, “ Sequential deposition as a route to high-performance perovskite sensitized solar cells”, Nature 2013, 499, 316-319.
  16. G.C. Xing, N. Mathews, S.Y. Sun, S.S. Lim, Y.M. Lam, M. Grätzel, S. Mhaisalkar, T.C. Sum “Long-Range Balanced Electron- and Hole-Transport Lengths in Organic-Inorganic CH3NH3PbI3”, Science 2013, 342, 344-347.
  17. S.C. Warren, K. Voïtchovsky, H. Dotan ,C.M. Leroy, M. Cornuz F. Stellacci, C. Hébert, A. Rothschild and M.Grätzl Identifying champion nanostructures for solar water-splitting”, Nature Materials 2013, 12, 842–849.
  18. S. Mathew, A. Yella, P, Gao, R. Humphry-Baker, B.F.E. Curchod, N. Ashari-Astani, I.Tavernelli, U. Rothlisberger, Md.K. Nazeeruddin, M. Grätzel, Dye-sensitized solar cells with 13% efficiency achieved through the molecular engineering of porphyrin sensitizers, Nature Chemistry 2014, 6, 242-247.
  19. M. Grätzel, The light and shade of perovskite solar cells, Nature Materials 2014, 13, 838-842
  20. J. Luo, J.-H. Im, M.T. Mayer, M. Schreier, Md.K. Nazeeruddin, N.-G. Park, S.D.Tilley, H.J. Fan, M. Grätzel. Water photolysis at 12.3% efficiency via perovskite photovoltaics and Earth abundant catalysts, Science 2014, 345, 1593-1596.
  21. W. Chen, Y. Wu, Y. Yue, J. Liu, W. Zhang, X. Yang, H. Chen, E. Bi, I. Ashraful, M. Grätzel, L. Han, Efficient and stable large-area perovskite solar cells with inorganic charge extraction layers, Science, 2015, 350, 944-948.
  22. M. Saliba, T. Matsui, K. Domanski, J.-Y. Seo, A. Ummadisingu, S.M. Zakeeruddin, J.-P. Correa-Baena, W. Tress, A. Abate, A. Hagfeldt and M. Grätzel, Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells improves photovoltaic performance, Science, 2016, 354, 206-209.
  23. X. Li, D. Bi, C. Yi, J.-D. Décoppet, J. Luo, S.M. Zakeeruddin, A. Hagfeldt, M. Grätzel, A vacuum flash–assisted solution process for high-efficiency large-area perovskite solar cells, Science, 2016, 353, 58-62.
  24. A.Ummadisingu, L. Steier, J.-Y. Seo, T. Matsui, A. Abate1, W. Tress and M.Grätzel  The effect of illumination on the formation of meta halide perovskite films, Nature 2017, 545, 208-212.
  25. N. Arora, , M.I. Dar, A.Hinderhofer, N. Pellet, F. Schreiber, S.M. Zakeeruddin, M. Grätzel, Perovskite solar cells with CuSCN hole extraction layers yield stabilized efficiencies greater than 20 %, Science 2017, 358, 768-771.