THE DataPoints is designed with the forward-looking and growth-minded institution in view
Research into renewable energy has taken an exciting new direction in recent years with the discovery of a new lost-cost highly efficient way of making solar cells.
The method, which uses solar cells made from materials known as perovskites, has already spawned a number of start-up companies that hope to revolutionise the market.
Its growth as a major field in applied physics is shown by research into perovskite solar cells using the compound methylammonium lead heading a list of the most prominent scientific topics on SciVal, Elsevier’s tool for analysing data in its Scopus database of published research.
SciVal recently introduced the “topic prominence” module to rank almost 100,000 global research topics according to the current momentum they have in terms of citations and views by other scholars.
Twice each month, Times Higher Education will look at which universities and academics are producing the highest-quality research either in topics that are high ranking for prominence or in standard subject areas.
But which universities and academics have been at the forefront of developing this solar cell technology that is currently the most prominent in science?
The following graph shows the 10 institutions that published the most highly cited research into methylammonium lead solar cells.
It shows, using a measure known as an expected output index (EOI), that the University of Oxford was almost nine times more likely than the world average (which equals 1) to have produced research in the period that was in the top 10 per cent of cited articles.
The key reason for Oxford’s performance has been the success of a team led by Henry Snaith, professor of physics at the university’s Clarendon Laboratory, that is researching low-cost alternatives to traditional solar cell technology.
This is shown by Professor Snaith topping a list of the 10 individual academics worldwide with the highest EOI for research into perovskite solar cells using methylammonium lead. His EOI means he was 65 times more likely than the world average to publish in the top 1 per cent most cited research.
The top 10 also features five entries from researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, including Michael Grätzel, director of the institution’s Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, where Professor Snaith was a postdoctoral researcher for two years in the 2000s.
Top 10 university researchers in SciVal topic "perovskite; solar cells; methylammonium lead", 2014 to 2017, by expected output in top 1 per cent of world's most cited research (world average =1)
|Author||Affiliation||Scholarly output, 2014 to 2017||Expected output index (EOI)|
|Snaith, Henry J.||University of Oxford||157||65|
|Abate, Antonio||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||51||64.7|
|Saliba, Michael||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||50||62|
|Grätzel, Michael||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||164||58.5|
|Huang, Jinsong||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||77||53.2|
|Mathews, Nripan||Nanyang Technological University, Singapore||53||50.9|
|Zakeeruddin, Shaik Mohammed Ohammed||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||63||50.8|
|Bakr, Osman M.||King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)||53||49.1|
|Nazeeruddin, Mohammad Khaja Haja||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||126||48.4|
|Jen, Alex K.Y.||University of Washington||59||47.5|