Michael Grätzel elected to Chinese Academy of Sciences

Michael Grätzel. Credit: EPFL

Michael Grätzel. Credit: EPFL

Professor Michael Graetzel at EPFL had been elected as a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the national academy for the natural sciences of the People's Republic of China. Formed in 1949, it consistently ranks among the world’s top research organisations as well as the largest, with around 60,000 researchers in 114 institutes.

Membership to CAS is the highest honor that China gives to its scientists, with elections held every other year. Membership is predominantly given to Chinese citizens, but the distinction is also given to foreign scientists, who form a smaller cohort of the members’ ranks.

On November 18, the CAS announced the election of 149 Chinese scientists and 25 foreign ones to membership, bringing the foreign cohort to 129 members from eleven countries. Among the new foreign CAS members is Professor Michael Grätzel at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences.

About Professor Michael Grätzel

Professor Grätzel is world-renowned for inventing the first dye-sensitive solar cell in 1991 with chemist Brian O’Reagan. Just as plants use chlorophyll to turn sunlight into energy, the “Grätzel cells” use industrial dyes, pigments or quantum dots stimulated by sunlight to transmit an electrical charge. Within fifteen years of the original invention, Grätzel evolved the cells into an applied technology that is now being developed in universities and companies worldwide.

Having discovered molecular photovoltaics, Grätzel’s research has focused on designing mesoscopic photosystems based on molecular light harvesters that convert light very efficiently to electricity. He is credited with moving the photovoltaic field beyond the principle of light absorption via diodes to the molecular level. Recently his research engendered a second revolution in photovoltaics prompting the advent of perovskite solar cells. Within only one decade theIr power conversion efficiency increased from 3% to over 25% rivaling and even exceeding the performance of conventional photovoltaics.

Grätzel also applied his innovative mesoscopic design concept to enhance the power of lithium-ion batteries and to create photoelectrochemical cells that efficiently generate chemical fuels from sunlight, opening up a new path to provide future sources of renewable energy that can be stored.

Grätzel currently directs EPFL’s Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces within the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC). His 1,650 publications have received over 400,000 citations and have an h-index of 282. In 2019, Stanford University ranked Grätzel first of 100,000 top scientists across all fields.

Read more about Professor Michael Grätzel