Professor Michael Graetzel (Switzerland)

Affiliation : Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Telephone number: +41-21-6933112
Office street address: Station 6, LPI, EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne Switzerland

  1. Education and Positions Held


Habilitation (Dr.habil.) Physical Chemistry, 1976, Free University of Berlin.

Dr.rer.nat. in Physical Chemistry, 1971 (summa cum laude), TU Berlin.

Diploma degree in Chemistry, 1968 (summa cum laude), Free University of Berlin.

Positions Held

Since 1981: Full Professor, Director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL. Head of the Chemistry Department from 1991-1993, and 1983-1985. Since 2017: External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research Stuttgart, Germany. Since 2011: Guest Professor NTU Singapore. 2005-2009 Distinguished Invited Professor National University of Singapore. 2004 Invited Professor, Delft University of Technology. 1998: Invited Professor Ecole Polytechnique Supérieure de Paris-Cachan. 1988: Invited Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. 1977 -1981: Associated Professor of Physical Chemistry at EPFL. 1974-1976: Senior Staff Scientist, Hahn-Meitner Institute Berlin, Germany. 1974 -1976: Lecturer of Photochemistry and Physical Chemistry, Free University of Berlin. 1972-1974. Petroleum Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Notre Dame, USA. 1969-1972 Research Associate, Hahn Meitner Institute Berlin.

  1. Brief Summary of Prof. Michael Graetzel’s Research Achievements

Michael Graetzel pioneered the field molecular photovoltaics, being the first to conceive and realize mesoscopic photosystems based on molecular light harvesters that convert light very efficiently to electricity. By now the new generation of solar cells that emerged from his research can rival and even exceed the performance of conventional photovoltaics. He is credited with moving the photovoltaic field beyond the principle of light absorption via diodes to the molecular level. His revolutionary cell design presented a new paradigm since it features a three-dimensional mesoscopic junction, in contrast to the planar p-n architecture used in conventional solar cells. The prototype of this new photovoltaic family is the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC), also referred to as “Graetzel cell”, which employs dye molecules, pigments or quantum dots as light harvesters. These are surface-bound on a support formed by an array of colloidal nanocrystals of a wide band gap semiconductor, such as TiO2 or SnO2 as key electron capturing substrate. The mesoporous film is infiltrated with a redox electrolyte or a solid-state hole conductor to effect charge transport to the back contact of the cell.  They are the first and only photovoltaic system that achieves the separation of light absorption from charge carrier transport mimicking the light reaction of natural photosynthesis in solar energy harvesting. DSCs are simple and inexpensive to manufacture and possess unique practical advantages including their flexibility, aesthetic appeal, transparency and bifacial photon collection. They reach currently a power conversion efficiency of close to 15 % in full sunlight and 32% in ambient light. These features along with excellent long-term stability have fostered commercial applications on the industrial scale. dye sensitized solar cells (DSCs) were the first to use three-dimensional mesoscopic junctions for solar electricity production, reaching currently a power conversion efficiency of close to 15 % in standard air mass 1.5 sunlight and 32% in ambient light. By now, large-scale DSC production and commercial sales have been launched for applications as semitransparent glass panels for solar electricity production or in flexible photovoltaics providing electric power from ambient light as battery replacements for electronic devices. Graetzel played also a pivotal role in the recent development of perovskite solar cells (PSCs) that directly emerged from the DSC. Their meteoric rise to reach a solar to electric power conversion efficiency of 25.2 % in 2019 has stunned the PV-community and attracted enormous research interest with over 10’000 papers being published on the subject over the last 7 years. Graetzel also applied his mesoscopic design concept to create photoelectrochemical cells that realize efficient generation of chemical fuels from sunlight, opening up a new path to provide future sources of renewable energy that can be stored. His group achieved very high quantum efficiencies for the solar light driven decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide by to carbon monoxide or ethylene and ethanol.  Graetzel’s 1650 publications have received some 280’000 citations and his h-index is 245 (Web of Science, November 2019).  A recent ranking issued by Stanford University places Graetzel in the first position on a list of 100,000 top scientists across all fields.

  1. Twenty Selected Publications

1) J. Desilvestro, M. Grätzel, L. Kavan, J. Moser and J. Augustynski  Highly Efficient Sensitization of Titanium Dioxide J.Am.Chem.Soc., 107, 2988 (1985).

2)  B.O’Regan and M. Grätzel , A Low Cost, High Efficiency Solar Cell based on the Sensitization of  Colloidal Titanium Dioxide, Nature,1991, 353, 7377-7381.

3) U.Bach, D.Lupo, P.Comte, J.E.Moser, F.Weissörtel, J.Salbeck, H.Spreitzer and M.Grätzel,  Solid-state dye-sensitized mesoporous TiO2 solar cells with high photon-to-electron conversion efficiencies, Nature 1998, 395, 550.

4) A. Hagfeldt and M. Grätzel, M., Molecular Photovoltaics,  Acc. Chem. Res. 2000, 33 , 269.

5) M. Grätzel, Photoelectrochemical Cells, Nature  2001, 414, 332.

6)  M.Grätzel, Recent Advances in Sensitized Mesoscopic Solar Cells, Acc. Chem. Res. 2009, 42, 1781.

7 A.Yella, H.-W. Lee, H. N. Tsao,1 C. Yi, A.Kumar Chandiran,Md.K. Nazeeruddin,1 E. W.-G.Diau, C.-Y. Yeh, S. M. Zakeeruddin and M. Grätzel, Porphyrin- based Solar Cells Exceed 12 % Efficiency,  Science 2011, 334, 629-634.

8) J.H Delcamp, A. Yella, T.W. Holcombe, and M.Grätzel, The Molecular Engineering of Organic Sensitizers for Solar-Cell Applications, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 52, 376-380.

9) H.Snaith and M.Grätzel, Light-Enhanced Charge Mobility in a Molecular   Hole  Transporter,

PRL 2007, 98, 177402 – 177402-4.

10) M. Freitag, J. Teuscher, Y. Saygili, X. Zhang, F. Giordano, P. Liska, J. Hua, S.M.

Zakeeruddin, J.-E. Moser, M. Grätzel, A. Hagfeldt, Dye-sensitized solar cells for efficient power generation under ambient lighting, Nature Photonics, 2017, 11, 372-378.

11) H.S.Kim, C.R.Lee, J.H.Im, K.B. Lee, T. Moehl, A. Marchioro, S.J.Moon, R. R.Humphry Baker, J.H.Yum, J.E. Moser, M. Grätzel, N.G. Park, Lead Iodide Perovskite Sensitized  Mesoscopic Solar Cell with Efficiency Exceeding 9%  Scientific.Reports 2012, 2, article 591.

12) S. Mathew, A. Yella, P, Gao, R. Humphry-Baker, B.F.E. Curchod, N. Ashari-Astani, I.Tavernelli, U. Rothlisberger, Md.K. Nazeeruddin and M. Grätzel, Dye-sensitized solar cells with 13% efficiency achieved through the molecular engineering of porphyrin sensitizers, Nature Chemistry 2014, 6, 242-247.

13)  J. Burschka, N. Pellet, S.-J. Moon, R.Humphry-Baker, P. Gao, M K. Nazeeruddin and  M. Grätzel, Sequential deposition as a route to high-performance perovskite sensitized solar cells, Nature 2013, 499, 316-319.

14)  G.C. Xing, N. Mathews, S.Y. Sun, S.S. Lim, Y.M. Lam, M. Grätzel, S. Mhaisalkar and T.C. Sum “Long-Range Balanced Electron- and Hole-Transport Lengths in Organic-Inorganic CH3NH3PbI3, Science 2013, 342, 344-347.

15) M. Grätzel, Light and shade of perovskite solar cells, Nature Materials 2014, 13, 838-842

16) J. Luo, J.-H. Im, M.T. Mayer, M. Schreier, Md.K. Nazeeruddin, N.-G. Park, S.D.Tilley, H.J. Fan, M. Grätzel, Water photolysis at  12.3% efficiency via perovskite photovoltaics and Earth abundant catalysts, Science 2014, 345, 1593-1596.

17)  M. Saliba, T. Matsui, K. Domanski, J.-Y. Seo, A. Ummadisingu, S.M. Zakeeruddin, J.-P. Correa-Baena, W. Tress, A. Abate, A. Hagfeldt, M. Grätzel, Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells improves photovoltaic performance, Science, 2016, 354, 206-209.

18)  X. Li, D. Bi, C. Yi, J.-D. Décoppet, J. Luo, S.M. Zakeeruddin, A. Hagfeldt and M.Grätzel, A vacuum flash–assisted solution process for high-efficiency large-area perovskite solar cells, Science, 2016, 353, 58-62.

19) A.Ummadisingu, L. Steier, J.-Y. Seo, T. Matsui, A. Abate1, W. Tress and M.Grätzel  The effect of illumination on the formation of metal-halide perovskite films, Nature 2017, 545, 208-212.

20)  N. Arora, M.I. Dar, A.Hinderhofer, N. Pellet, F. Schreiber, S.M. Zakeeruddin and M. Grätzel, Perovskite solar cells with CuSCN hole extraction layers yield stabilized efficiencies greater than 20 %. Science 2017, 358, 768-771.


  1. Selected Major Honors and Awards

2019 Elected Member of the Swiss Academy for Technical Sciences

2018 August Wilhelm von Hofmann Memorial Medal, German Chemical Society

2017 Global Energy Prize, St. Petersburg, Russian Confederation

2017 Zewail Prize and Medal in Molecular Science

2017 RUSNANO Prize, Moscow, Russian Confederation

2016 Elected Member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Engineering

2016 Paracelsus Prize and Medal of the Swiss Chemical Society

2015 King Faisal International Science Prize, Saudi Arabia

2014 Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels, Israel

2014 Elected member of the German Academy of Science (Leopoldina)

2014 First Leigh-Ann Conn Prize in Renewable Energy, University of Kentucky USA

2014 Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK).

2013 Leonardo da Vinci Medal of the European Academy of Science.

2013 Marcel Benoist Prize (Switzerland)

2012 Albert Einstein World Award of Science, World Cultural Council.

2011 Wilhelm Exner Medal, Vienna Austria.

2011 Paul Karrer Gold Medal, University of Zurich, Switzerland

2010 Millenium Technology Grand Prize, Technology Academy Finland..

2009 Balzan Prize, Balzan Foundation, Milano, Zurich.

2008 Harvey Prize in Science and Technology ,The Technion Haifa, Israel.

2007 First International Prize, Japanese Society of Coordination Chemistry

2005 Gerischer Prize of the Electrochemical Society.

2003 ENI-Italgas Price in Science and Environment

2001 Havinga Lecture, Award and Medal, Leiden, The Netherlands

2001 Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom

2000 European Grand Prix of Innovation and Technology, Monaco.


Honorary Doctors Degrees (Dr.honoris causa):

Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paris-Cachan; Université de Liège; Belgium, Roskilde University, Denmark; Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China;  NTU (Singapore); University of Lund, Sweden; University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia.; University of Hasselt, Belgium; Delft University of Technology, Netherlands; University of Turin, Italy; University of Uppsala, Sweden.


  1. Honorary Named Lectures (past 12 years only)

2019 : Aun Lecture POSTECH, Pohang, South Korea, 2018: L. E. Tannas Jr. Lecture, UCLA, California, USA, Siemens Foundation Lecture, Theodor Förster Memorial Lecture Munich Germany, Peiyang Lecture Tianjin University China, Betts Lecture University of Manitoba, Canada, 2016: Shipley Lecture Clarkson University Potsdam NY (USA). 2014: Argonne National Laboratory Director’s Lecture, USA, Barré lectures University of Montreal. William Mong lecture University of Hong Kong.  2013:  O.Hassel Lecture, University of Oslo Norway. Nanqiang Lecture, University of Xiamen China, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director’s Lecture,USA. 2012: Dr. R. A. Mashelkar Endowment Lecture, National Chemical Laboratory Pune, India, Oersted Lecture University of Copenhagen (DK), Kolthoff Lecture, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, Meloche Lecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Irvin Shain Lecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. 2011: Klaus Römer Lecture, Maximilian University, Munich, Germany, Albert Einstein Lectures, Chinese Academy of Science, China. Max Planck Lecture, MPI Stuttgart Germany. 47th Shiram Institute Founder Memorial Lecture, New Delhi, India. Louis Pasteur Lecture, Paris France. 2010: COPE Distinguished Lecture Georgia Tech, Atlanta Georgia, USA. European Chemical Society Lecture, Nuremberg Germany. European Science Foundation Lecture, Paris, France. CNR Rao Award Lecture, Indian Institute of Sciene Bangelore India. Michael Faraday Lecture, J.Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India. 2009: Patrick S. Ncholson Memorial Lecture, Lake Louise Canada. John C. Bailar Lectures and Medal University of Illinois. 2008 18th Brdicka Lecture, Karl’s University Prague, Czech Republic. 2008: AD Little lectures, MIT Boston, USA. 2008 “Lecture at the Leading Edge”, University of Toronto, Canada, Earl L. Muetterties Memorial Lectures, University of California at Berkeley, USA. 2007: William Lloyd Evans Lectures and Award, Ohio State University. Columbus, USA, 6th Distinguished Gouq-Jen Su lecturer, University of Rochester, Rochester USA.


  1. Professional Assignments, Selection Committees, Advisory and Editorial Boards

Since 2018: European Research Council (ERC) Panel for selecting recipients of Advanced Research Grants in the Physical Science and Engineering. Since 2015: Scientific Commission for ENI Energy Award. Since  2014: Election Panel for Fellows and Advanced Investigator of the National Research Foundation Singapore. Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Presidents of: DGIST (Daegu South-Korea 2012-2014) KTH Stockholm (2010-2011) and University of Helsinki (2010-2013), Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel (2006). UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRC) Review College Evaluation Board of the NIMC Institute, Tsukuba, Japan (1999-2006). Invited panelist, US Department of Energy Council on Chemical Science, 2005 and 1997. Expert witness for the Royal Court of Justice, London (2002-2004). Evaluation Board: Scientific Committee of the French CNRS, Photovoltaic Research Helmholtz Foundation Germany (1998), and Volkswagenstiftung, Hannover Germany (1997-2003). International Editorial Board (past and present): Angewandte Chemie (Wiley),C hemPhysChem. (Wiley-VCh), Journal of Molecular Catalysis (Elsevier), Langmuir (American Chemical Society), Chemistry of Materials (American Chemical Society), Handbook of Nanostructured Materials and Nanotechnology (Academic Press), Advances in Photochemistry and Photophysics (CRC), Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells (Elsevier), Renewable &Sustainable Energy Reviews (Elsevier), Advanced Functional Materials (Springer), Nanostructured Materials (Elsevier), Progress in Photovoltaic Science and Technology. Chemical Physics Letters (Elsevier). Topical Editor, New Journal of Chemistry, 1989: Fractals in Chemistry.


  1. Bibliometry,

Graetzel’s 1645 publications have received some 303’300 citations and his h-index is 247 (Web of Science May 2020).  A recent ranking based on comprehensive standardized citation metrics developed by Stanford University places Graetzel in the first position on a list of 100,000 top scientists across all fields.


  1. Patents and Translation of Inventions to Industry

Michael Graetzel’s discoveries have launched major new industrial developments in the field of solar electricity generation. ambient light harvesting as well as direct fuel generation by sunlight. In addition, he extended the application of mesoscopic electroactive materials to lithium ion batteries and electrochromic display. He is the inventor or coinventor of over 80 patents and has been a consultant to several corporations commercializing his inventions. He is the cofounder of 2 start-up companies that won the Venture 98 and Venture 2002 McKinsey Awards.