École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Chemical Science and Engineering (EPFL)

Principal investigator: 
Michaël Grätzel


Prof. Michael Grätzel directs the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. He has discovered a new type of solar cell based on dye sensitized mesoscopic oxide particles and pioneered the use of nanomaterials in electroluminescent and electrochromic displays and lithium ion batteries. Author of over 500 publications, two books and inventor of 46 patents, his work received over 30,000 citations ranking him amongst the most highly cited scientists in the world. The goal of the group is to develop high efficiency dye-sensitized photovoltaic cells and apply these in tandem systems for generation of hydrogen [14, 82]. The group has also carried out research on materials for electrochemistry, secondary batteries, light-emitting diodes, charge transfer reactions on interfaces and microheterogeneous systems, the optoelectronic properties of mesoscopic oxide semiconductor films, and photocatalysis for environmental applications [83-92].

Facilities and infrastructure

The group has expertise and facilities in the areas of: Synthesis: state-of-the-art synthetic facilities for preparation of inorganic, organic and organo- metallic materials. Electrochemistry: voltammetry, impedance spectroscopy including time resolved voltage and photo-current decay measurements. Photovoltaics: calibrated spectral response and precise conversion efficiency characterisation systems. Excited state dynamics: photochemistry and kinetics systems with femtosecond resolution. Materials science: structural and mechanical characterisation, including imaging by SEM, TEM, SFM and AFM. Analytical measurements: NMR, Resonance Raman, ATR-FTIR and BET. Thin film technology: tape casting, screen printing and sintering. Theoretical and Computational: Density Functional Theory (DFT) and Time Dependent-Density Functional Theory (TDDFT).

Training and tutoring capacity

Michael Grätzel and his group have supervised several MSc/PhD students, and have extensive experience in giving courses for academic and industrial guests. The presence of several senior scientists, post-docs and Ph.D. students who work on dye-sensitized solar cells and tandem systems for production of hydrogen guarantees an excellent training environment for ESRs and ERs working in and visiting the group.
experience with international collaboration

Michael Grätzel has developed international collaboration for solar generation of hydrogen particularly with the teams of Prof. Augustynki (Universities of Geneva), Prof. Calzaferri (Universities of Bern), Professor Schoonman (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands), and Prof. Reller (University of Augsburg, Germany). There are also intensive contacts with colleagues form other countries that participate in Annex 14 and 20 of the International Energy Agency (IEA). He has organized an IEA meeting at EPFL, Lausanne and attended several IEA meetings to discuss and coordinate research in the field of photochemical hydrogen production.

Key publications

  • M. Grätzel, Photoelectrochemical cells, Nature, 414, 338 (2001).
  • M. Grätzel, Mesoscopic Solar Cells for Electricity and Hydrogen Production from Sunlight, Chemistry Letters, 34, 8 (2005).
  • Md. K. Nazeeruddin, Michael Grätzel, and coworkers: Combined Experimental and DFT-TDDFT Computational Study of Photoelectrochemical Cell Ruthenium Sensitizers, J.Am.Chem.Soc. 127, 16835 (2005).


14. I. Cesar, A. Kay, J.A. Gonzalez Martinez, and M. Grätzel, J. Am. Chem. Soc. communicated (2006).
82. A. Duret and M. Grätzel, J. Phys.Chem.B 109, 17184 (2005).
83. Q. Wang, J.-E. Moser, and M. Grätzel, J. Phys. Chem. B 109 109, 14945 (2005).
84. M. Zukalova, A. Zukal, L. Kavan, M.K. Nazeeruddin, P. Liska, and M. Grätzel, Nano Lett. 5, 1789 (2005).
85. S. Ito, P. Liska, P. Comte, R. Charvet, P. Péchy, U. Bach, L. Schmidt-Mende, S.M. Zakeeruddin, A. Kay, M.K. Nazeeruddin, and M. Grätzel, Chem. Commun. 4351 (2005).
86. L. Kavan, M. Kalbac, M. Zukalova, I. Exnar, V. Lorenzen, R. Nesper, and M. Grätzel, Chem. Mater. 16, 477 (2004).
87. Q. Wang, S.M. Zakeeruddin, I. Exnar, and M. Grätzel, J.Electrochem.Soc. 151, A1598 (2004).
88. L. Kavan, M.Zukalova, M. Kalbac, and M. Grätzel, J. Electrochem.Soc. 151, A1301 (2004).
89. M.K. Nazeeruddin, R. Humphry-Baker, D. Berner, S. Rivier, L. Zuppiroli, and M. Graetzel, J. Am.Chem.Soc 125, 8790 (2003).
90. H.J. Bolink, L. Cappelli, E. Coronado, M. Grätzel, and M.K. Nazeeruddin, J. Am.Chem.Soc. 128, 46 (2006).
91. R. Huber, J.-E. Moser, M. Grätzel, and J. Wachtveitl, Proc. of SPIE 121, 5223 (2005).
92. Q. Wang, S.M. Zakeeruddin, J. Cremer, P. Bäuerle, R. Humphry-Baker, and M. Grätzel, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 5706 (2005).