Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Professor of Physical Chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Michael Graetzel directs the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces.
He pioneered research in the field of energy and electron transfer reactions in mesoscopic systems and their use in energy conversion systems, in particular photovoltaic cells and photo-electrochemical devices for the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide by sunlight as well as the storage of electric power in lithium ion batteries.
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He discovered a new type of solar cell based on dye sensitized nanocrystalline oxide films which successfully mimic the light reaction occurring in green leafs and algae during natural photosynthesis. Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are currently produced by industry and sold commercially on the megawatt scale as light-weight flexible cells for powering portable electronic devices and as electricity producing glass panels for application in building integrated photovoltaics. The DSSC has engendered perovskite solar cells (PSCs) that have revolutionized the whole field of photovoltaics reaching over 22% efficiency only a few years after their inception. This exceeds the performance of polycrystalline silicon solar cells.
Author of several books and over 1200 publications that received some 180’000 citations (h-factor 196) he is one of the 3 most highly cited chemists in the world. His recent awards include the Paracelsus Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society, the King Feisal International Science Prize, the Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels, the First Leigh-Ann Conn Prize in Renewable Energy, the Albert Einstein World Award of Science, the Marcel Benoist Prize, the Paul Karrer Gold Medal, the Gutenberg Research Award, the Millennium Technology Grand Prize, and the Balzan Prize. Other prestigious awards include the Galvani Medal, the Faraday Medal, the Harvey Prize, the Gerischer Award, the Galileo Galilei Award, the City of Florence Award of the Italian chemical Society, the Dutch Havinga Award and Medal, the International Prize of the Japanese Society of Coordination Chemistry, the ENI-Italgas Energy-Prize and the year 2000 European Grand Prix of Innovation.