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Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Sam Stranks

Dr Sam Stranks

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Sam Stranks is accepting applications for PhD students.

Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Ave
Kapitza Building K26
Cambridge CB3 0HE
United Kingdom

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 337288


Sam Stranks is a TED Fellow and a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2007 with a BA (German and Applied Mathematics), BSc (Physics and Physical Chemistry), BSc (First Class Honours in Physics) and a University Medal. He completed his PhD as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University with Robin Nicholas, receiving the 2012 Institute of Physics Roy Thesis Prize for his work on carbon nantoube/polymer blends for organic solar cell applications. From 2012-2014, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in Henry Snaith’s group at Oxford University where he was also a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College and Lecturer in Physics at Corpus Christi College. From 2014-2016, he was a Marie Curie Outgoing Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology undertaking independent research in Vladimir Bulovic's ONE Lab. Sam received the 2016 IUPAP Young Scientist in Semiconductor Physics Prize for 'pioneering discoveries in the field of perovskite solar cells and optoelectronics through spectroscopy”.

Research Interests

Our research generally focuses on the optical and electronic properties of emerging photovoltaic and optoelectronic systems. We use spectroscopic techniques to assess the optoelectronic quality of materials and construct optimised devices including solar cells, light-emitting diodes and lasers. We are particularly interested in understanding the photophysical properties and potential device applications of new absorber and emitter materials including metal halide perovskites and related materials. See my recent TED talk on our work on perovskites.

Our approaches include:

  • Time-resolved techniques including time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC), photoinduced absorption (PIA) and transient absorption (TAS)
  • Time-resolved confocal photoluminescence and electroluminescence mapping
  • Steady-state photoluminescence and absorption spectroscopy
  • Perovskite, hybrid and organic photovoltaic and light-emitting device fabrication and characterisation
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy-dispersive X-Ray (EDX) spectroscopy and X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)
  • X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)
  • Carbon nanotube–polymer nanohybrid synthesis and characterisation

Potential Projects

Please get in touch if you are interested in joining the group. Some specific PhD projects on offer for 2017 are listed below, though please also get in touch if other areas of my research are of interest. The deadlines for application to the University are typically in early December for international students for a start date the following October.

1. Understanding the origin of non-radiative losses in perovskite films

2. Direct relationship between local structure and local optoelectronic behaviour in perovskites

3. Investigating the origin of slow charge carrier recombination in metal halide perovskites

4. Eliminating non-radiative losses in materials for perovskite-perovskite tandems

5. Developing high-performance perovskite white light LEDs


  • Energy
  • Hybrid Nanomaterials,
  • Photovoltaics
  • Optical spectroscopy

Key Publications

Selected recent peer-reviewed publications:

  • Hutter, E. M.; Osherov, A.; Gelvez-Rueda, M. C.; Bulovic, V.; Grozema, F. C.; *Stranks, S. D.; *Savenije, T. Direct-Indirect Bandgap Character of the Band Gap in Methylammonium Lead Iodide Perovskite, Nat. Mater.2016, DOI: 10.1038/nmat4765
  • Osherov, A., Hutter, E. M., Galkowski, K., Brenes, R., Maude, D. K., Nicholas, R. J., Plochocka, P., Bulović, V., Savenije, T. J., *Stranks, S. D. The Impact of Phase Retention on the Structural and Optoelectronic Properties of Metal Halide PerovskitesAdv. Mater., 2016DOI: 10.1002/adma.201604019
  • Stranks, S. D. Petrozza, A. Revisiting photocarrier lifetimes in photovoltaicsNat. Photon.2016,10562
  • *Barbero, D. R.; *Stranks, S. D. Functional Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Nanoengineered Networks for Organic- and Perovskite-Solar-Cell ApplicationsAdv. Mater.2016, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201600659
  • deQuilettes, D. W.; Zhang, W.; Burlakov, V. M.; Graham, D. J.; Leijtens, T.; Bulovic, V.; Ginger, D. S.; Snaith, H. J., Stranks, S. D.  Photo-Induced Halide Redistribution in Organic-Inorganic Perovskite FilmsNat. Commun., 2016, 7, 11683
  • Stranks, S. D.; Snaith, H. J. Metal-Halide Perovskites for Photovoltaic and Light Emitting DevicesNat. Nanotechnol., 2015, 10391-402
  • deQuilettes, D. W.; Vorpahl, S. M.; Stranks, S. D.; Nagaoka, H.; Eperon, G. E.; Ziffer, M. E.; Snaith, H. J.; Ginger, D. S., Impact of Microstructure on Local Carrier Lifetime in Perovskite Solar CellsScience2015, 348683-686
  • Sivaram, V.; Stranks, S. D.; Snaith, H. J. Outshining silicon, Scientific American, 201531354-49
  • Miyata, A.; Mitioglu, A.; Plochocka, P.; Portugal, O.; Wang, J. T. W.; Stranks, S. D.; Snaith, H. J.; Nicholas, R. J., Direct Measurement of the Exciton Binding Energy and Effective Masses for Charge carriers in Organic-Inorganic Tri-halide PerovskitesNat. Physics, 201511582-587
  • Stranks, S. D.; Wood, S. M.; Wojciechowski, K.; Deschler, F.; Saliba, M.; Khandelwal, H.; Patel, J. B.; Elston, J. S.; Herz, L. M.; Johnston, M. B.; Schenning, A. P. H. J.; Debije, M. G.; Riede, M. K.; Morris, S. M.; Snaith, H. J. Enhanced Amplified Spontaneous Emission in Perovskites using a Liquid Crystal ReflectorNano Lett., 2015, 15, 4935-4941
  • Stranks, S. D.; Burlakov, V. M.; Leijtens, T.; Ball, J. M.; Goriely, A.; Snaith, H. J. Recombination Kinetics in Organic-Inorganic Perovskites: Excitons, Free Charge, and Subgap StatesPhys. Rev. Applied, 2014, 2, 3.
  • Stranks, S. D.; Eperon, G. E.; Grancini, G.; Menelaou, C.; Alcocer, M. J. P.; Leijtens, T.; Herz, L. M.; Petrozza, A.; Snaith, H. J. Electron-Hole Diffusion Lengths Exceeding One Micrometer in an Organometal Trihalide Perovskite AbsorberScience2013342, 341-344


Selected media and press releases: