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Royal Society of Chemistry recognition

Woman wearing pink fleece with arms crossed in front of foliageProfessor Laura Herz, Supernumerary Fellow in Physics, has won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division Mid-Career Award.

The award recognises her pioneering work advancing the development of solar cells through a fundamental understanding of electronic, structural and chemical properties of next-generation light-harvesting materials. Professor Herz’s work focuses on understanding how the energy provided by sunlight can be converted into electricity in solar cells based on new absorber materials. While silicon solar cells currently dominate the market, more efficient materials may enable us to pay less for the energy we consume. Advances in solar cells will allow us to make the switch to renewable energy generation affordable: to address climate change and for energy security.

New organic-inorganic metal halide perovskite materials have recently emerged as active materials in solar cells, exceeding power conversion efficiencies of 25%. Professor Herz’s group has been at the forefront of developing an understanding of the fundamental processes that underpin the impressive performance of these materials.

Professor Herz directs the Semiconductors Group at the Clarendon Laboratory and is the Associate Head of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division for Research. She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and was a Research Fellow at St John’s College Cambridge from 2001 to 2003, after which she moved to a faculty position at Oxford Physics. Professor Herz has published over 150 peer-reviewed research articles and is currently listed by Clarivate Analytics/Web of Science as a Highly Cited Researcher.

In 2018, Professor Herz was awarded the Nevill Mott Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics and the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She is an Associate Editor of Applied Physics Reviews, Chemical Physics Reviews (AIP) and a member of the editorial advisory board for Energy and Environmental Science (RSC) and ACS Energy Letters. Professor Herz is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

She comments: “I feel honoured and thrilled to be given this award in an area that is so important to addressing climate change by reaching net-zero carbon emissions through sustainable energy generation.”

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Published: 10 June 2022

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