Resnick Institute Director Harry Atwater Receives ENI Award
Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleague Albert Polman of the Dutch Research Institute AMOLF have been awarded the 2012 ENI Award in Renewable and Nonconventional Energy for research on high-efficiency solar cells based on nanophotonic design. Their ultra-thin solar cells offer greater efficiency and reduced production costs, which will open up new opportunities for the development of technologies based on solar energy.
Atwater and Polman accepted their award on June 15th in a special ceremony at the Quirinale, the Italian Presidential Palace. The President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, presented the award assisted by ENI's CEO, Paolo Scaroni, and President, Giuseppe Recchi. Also on hand for the event was US Ambassador to Italy, David Thorne, who congratulated the victors.
Professor Atwater was moved by the experience stating, "This is a wonderful moment of affirmation for solar energy research. We are breaking the boundaries of what was once thought impossible and this award will stimulate our future efforts. We are honored to receive the ENI Prize, which serves as an inspiration to us and to the young scientists—the students and postdoctoral researchers—who have collaborated with us, and who have committed their scientific careers to this exciting field."
The ENI Awards were established in 2007 by the Italian energy company ENI to encourage the improved use of energy sources and to promote development of a new generation of researchers in sustainable energy. ENI awards annual prizes in four categories: New Frontiers in Hydrocarbons, Renewable and Non Conventional Energy, Environmental Protection, and Research Debut. The Scientific Review Panel of the Awards is composed of 24 members, including university chancellors, two Nobel Prize winners, and researchers and scientists from leading organizations worldwide.
Professor Atwater is one of America's foremost solar energy researchers. His research group at Caltech is engaged in the development and analysis of enhanced materials and processes related to solar energy. Recently they have created new photovoltaic devices, including the silicon wire array solar cell, and layer-transferred fabrication approaches to III-V semiconductor III-V and multijunction cells, as well as making advances in plasmonic light absorber structures for III-V compound and silicon thin films. Atwater is also co-founder of Alta Devices and Caelux, solar start-ups that grew out of his research group in 2007 and 2010 respectively. Alta Devices made headlines in July 2011 for record setting solar cell efficiencies.
In addition to directing Caltech's Resnick Sustainability Institute, Atwater also serves as Director of the DOE Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion Energy Frontier Research Center (LMI-EFRC). His work with the LMI-EFRC is focused on optical design and photonic materials for high-efficiency photovoltaics. LMI scientists are engaged in a diverse array of efficiency improving research including photonic structures for light trapping, spectrum splitting and improving the radiative efficiency of solar cells.
Reflecting on Harry's ENI award, LMI-EFRC Assistant Director Carrie Hofmann said, "Harry is an inexhaustible champion of solar energy. His optimism is infectious and motivates all of the students and postdocs he interacts with. With Harry's visionary leadership, the LMI-EFRC and the Resnick Sustainability Institute will continue to advance the kind of transformative science recognized by the ENI Award." This summer the LMI-EFRC and the Resnick Institute are co-sponsoring a workshop titled "Redefining the Limits of Photovoltaic Efficiency." For more information on the workshop please visit the LMI-EFRC website.
Congratulazioni Professor Atwater –Bravo!