Seminar Series – Hugh W. Hillhouse, Ph.D.

Hugh W. Hillhouse, Ph.D.

Date(s) - 10/19/2020
9:35 am - 10:30 am

New Engineering Building - Room 100

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Professor and Harry A. and Metta R. Rehnberg Endowed Chair
Chemical Engineering
University of Washington

“Engineering Perovskite Photovoltaics”


The cost of electricity from solar cells has dropped dramatically over the past decade. However, the large capital cost of manufacturing significantly inhibits the growth rate of solar energy sector and is much higher than the capital cost of power generation with natural gas. By developing new chemistry and processing routes that enable solar cells to be printed with roll-to-roll processing, the capital cost of solar energy could be significantly reduced. However, photovoltaic device development with new materials is time consuming and expensive. To address this, we have pioneered new photoluminescence and photoconductivity methods that allow one to rapidly and reliably determine photovoltaic performance metrics directly from the material (without making a photovoltaic device). Along with a novel combinatorial deposition system we have developed, these methods have enabled us to explore tens of thousands of compositions of solution processed semiconductors. The presentation will review the current status of photovoltaics, the physics of solar cells, our new methods, and their impact on the development of ink-based routes to chalcopyrites (CIGS), and Earth abundant element kesterites (CZTS). However, the focus of the presentation will be on our efforts to understand hybrid perovskites and will include the first quantitative predictions of perovskite degradation and stability using machine learning algorithms.


Hugh Hillhouse is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington and currently holds the Harry A. and Metta R. Rehnberg Endowed Chair. Hugh received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University in 1995. He earned a Master’s degree in Physics and a Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 2000, working with Michael Tsapatsisand Jan van Egmondon the self-assembly of nanostructured thin films. After an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellowship at the KavliInstitute for Nanoscience at Delft University in the Netherlands working with TeunKlapwijkon organic semiconductors, he started as a professor at Purdue University in 2002 working on nanomaterials and semiconductors. He later spent a year on sabbatical at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden Colorado working with Matt Beard and Art Nozikon multiple exciton generation and quantum dot solar cells before moving to the University of Washington in 2010. He has received the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, the Early Career Research Excellence Award from Purdue, the Shreve Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Clemson University and the Sharma Medal from the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers. His current research lies at the nexus of materials chemistry and solar energy conversion.