Hages Receives NSF Career Award to Create New Semiconductor Material for Clean and Renewable Solar Energy

Charles Hages, Ph.D.

Charles Hages, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award. His research focuses on developing next-generation semiconductors for energy research.

With this award, Dr. Hages aims to develop solution-based, thin-film semiconductor materials that would lead to an improved method of generating clean and renewable solar energy.

“Renewable energy is necessary for a better future, so it’s important to put the effort in now to discover promising new materials which can make this a reality,” said Dr. Hages. “I think we have an exciting vision and talented graduate students which can make a significant contribution to this effort. Though research is only half the battle – I’m excited this award also supports our goals for cross-generational public outreach in renewable energy education.”

This prestigious award will allow Dr. Hages’ research group to develop a new class of materials, chalcogenide perovskites, as a low-cost, non-toxic, and stable photovoltaic material which can replace existing technologies due to their improved properties. Chalcogenide perovskites are an emerging class of semiconductor with the potential to replace the ubiquitous organic-inorganic hybrid metal halide perovskites as a high-performance photovoltaic absorber due to their improved stability and use of earth-abundant constituents. To meet this challenge, Hages proposes a paradigm shift in the approach used to synthesize chalcogenide perovskites by using reactive nanomaterials – a research area in which Hages’ lab specializes in.

This award will also support the development of cross-generational STEM education and outreach in renewable energy, which includes developing and delivering tailored educational modules for the underserved local aging community and K-12 students. Research is also integrated with training and education for graduate and undergraduate students in teaching, technical communication, and in emerging energy technologies.

“Dr. Hages’s research to develop materials for clean and renewable solar energy through a combination of nanoscale synthesis and state-of-the-art materials characterization is an exciting example of the relevance and impact of chemical engineering research in solving one of society’s most pressing problems,” said Dr. Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos, Chair of Chemical Engineering at UF.

Dr. Hages holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was also a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Structure & Dynamics of Energy Materials at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin in Germany prior to his appointment at UF.

CAREER awards are the NSF’s most prestigious award for early-career faculty and are designed to help provide a foundation for a lifetime of scientific leadership. The awards are given to an outstanding scientist who exemplifies the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of education and research.