Professor Robert Hoye named a 2023 MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 Europe

Date 5 May 2023

Professor Robert Hoye’s pioneering work on developing sustainable semiconductors recognised.

MIT Technology Review has named Professor Robert Hoye as a 2023 Innovator Under 35 Europe for his groundbreaking research. Co-founder of a start-up and leader of a team of researchers developing a new generation of semiconductors, Professor Hoye aims to revolutionise sustainable energy conversion and to reduce the world’s reliance on short-lived batteries.

Robert Hoye with medal

Robert has discovered and patented a new class of semiconductors that can tolerate imperfections, enabling efficient performance to be achieved when manufactured cost-effectively. These defect-tolerant semiconductors include compounds containing the nontoxic element bismuth, which he has developed into photovoltaics for clean electricity production with outstanding potential. A core application is to use these devices to harvest the energy widely available from indoor lighting to sustainably power Internet of Things (IoT) electronics. IoT are key to creating a smarter future, but heavily rely on batteries. Over 100 billion batteries will need to be replaced each year when there are a trillion IoT nodes. The bismuth-based semiconductors Robert discovered have the potential to achieve >50% efficiency, and using these to power IoT devices directly, or in synergy with an energy storage device, reduces the reliance on short-lived batteries, which could unleash the potential of the IoT.

For his visionary and pioneering work, Robert has been awarded over thirty-five international prizes, including 2018 Young Engineer of the Year by the Royal Academy of Engineering, 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 – Europe and, in 2021, the Imperial College London President's Award for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, as well as the Rosenhain Medal and Prize from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining for distinguished achievement in any branch of Materials Science.

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