Sfeir Named Inventor of the Year by Battelle

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UPTON, N.Y., June 20, 2018 — Matthew Sfeir, a chemical physicist developing enabling technologies for next-generation electronic devices at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been selected as an "Inventor of the Year" by the Battelle global science and technology organization.

In collaboration with Stony Brook University, Battelle manages Brookhaven Lab through Brookhaven Science Associates. The annual awards recognize individuals who have made significant scientific or engineering contributions with important societal or financial impacts.

Sfeir is being recognized for his work in the Electronic Nanomaterials Group at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), a DOE Office of Science user facility at Brookhaven and one of five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers. For the past decade at the CFN, Sfeir has been studying the most basic photophysical properties and has recently made significant advancements in thin-film optical devices and solar cell materials.

"It was a great honor to represent Brookhaven at the Battelle Celebration of Solvers Event," Sfeir said. "My work exploiting the unique optical processes of nanoscale materials is made possible by the unique collaborative environment at the CFN."

Using low-cost metal oxide nanoparticles, Sfeir developed a laser that has a record-setting low-power threshold for operation. Moreover, this laser can be easily integrated with silicon microelectronics and other electronic devices. He also demonstrated the promise of using organic semiconductors in IR light photodetectors, which have applications in communications, medicine, defense, and sensing.

In the area of solar cell materials, Sfeir led the development of two inventions with the potential to radically improve solar cell performance: nanoarchitectures that take advantage of light-matter interactions to increase light absorption in a photovoltaic anode, and classes of materials that can split single incoming photons of light into multiple electrical charge carriers, thereby increasing the maximum theoretical efficiency of solar cells.

Sfeir earned his Ph.D. and master's degree in chemical physics from Columbia University, and his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago. He first joined Brookhaven Lab in 2005 as a postdoctoral research associate in the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Department.

Published: June 2018
BusinessMatthew SfeirU.S. Department of EnergyDOEBrookhaven National LaboratoryBattellepeoplesemiconductorsOpticsphotovoltaicsAmericas

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