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Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Advancements in this field are through emerging PV materials and devices, including halide perovskites, organic semiconductors and nanomaterials. Emerging concepts cover high efficiency tandem solar cells, luminescence solar concentration approaches, ultra-lightweight PV cells for space and photo-electrochemical work, including production of solar fuels.

Cambridge’s strengths lie in the combination of emerging materials, characterisation techniques and high efficiency concepts, all of which are world leading. Development of the higher efficiency materials and devices required for uptake of solar power at scale can be achieved through enhanced understanding and control of materials properties to increase efficiency, performance and recyclability, therefore driving down costs of systems.

Tandem solar concepts with new materials can push cell efficiencies towards 40% under lab conditions, and are likely to be developed and commercialised over the next ten years, enabling a flexible range of solar technologies to accompany current silicon solar cell technology. These complementary solar PV materials technologies combined with novel energy storage will allow us to meet different types of energy needs by 2050. Solar fuels can also play a role in enabling green chemistry and fuels, either from direct PV conversion or smart integrated photoelectrochemical cell designs.


Some key centres and initiatives include:


Cambridge Photon Technologies developing next-generation advanced materials

Swift Solar manufacturing lightweight solar panels using perovskite materials

FlexEnable manufacturing solutions for flexible organic electronics


Researchers working in this area:

Prof Manish Chhowalla

Professor of Materials Science

Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee

Prof Jonathan Cullen

Professor of Sustainable Engineering

Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee

Prof Rachel Evans Professor of Materials Chemistry
Prof Sir Richard Friend

Cavendish Professor of Physics

Director of the Energy IRC Steering Committee, 

Prof Neil Greenham Professor of Physics
Professor Hannah Joyce Professor of Low-Dimensional Electronics
Dr Bartomeu Monserrat Gianna Angelopoulos Lecturer in Computational Materials Science 
Prof Richard Penty Professor of Photonics 
Prof Akshay Rao Professor in Physics and Solid State
Prof Sam Stranks

Professor of Optoelectronics

Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee