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Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Robert Hoye

Dr Robert Hoye

Thomas Nevile Junior Research Fellow (Magdalene College)

Robert Hoye is accepting applications for PhD students.

K28, Kapitza Building
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue, CB3 0HE
United Kingdom

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 337287


Dr. Robert Hoye conducts research into optoelectronic materials for clean energy conversion. He holds a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge (2012-2014) and a BE(Hons) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand in Chemical and Materials Engineering (2009-2011). He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Photovoltaics Research Laboratory (PV Lab) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2015-2016) prior to joining the Optoelectronics Group as a Junior Research Fellow. Currently, he collaborates closely with the Device Materials Group (Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy).

In 2012, Dr. Hoye was one of two recipients of the Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial Scholarship, which fully-funded his PhD. He was awarded the prize for best thesis by his College in 2014. His work on bismuth-based solar absorbers with the PV Lab was recognised as one of 12 Science Highlights of 2016 among all 605 groups funded by the US Department of Energy. In 2018, he received a Young Engineer of the Year Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. Dr. Hoye has contributed to writing three grants in the UK and US, worth a total of £1 million. As of the end of 2017, five of his papers are ranked in the top 1% according to Web of ScienceTM

Research Interests

Dr. Robert Hoye’s main interests are in (1) the discovery of defect-tolerant semiconductors for optoelectronics, and (2) techniques for the scalable synthesis of high-quality functional materials.

Defect-tolerant semiconductors offer the opportunity to achieve high performance when synthesised by low-cost, low-temperature methods. This is particularly important for technologies that currently rely on high-purity inorganic materials synthesised by expensive techniques, such as photovoltaics and solid-state lighting. Materials that are defect-tolerant are characterised by shallow defect levels in the bandgap, high dielectric constants and low effective masses. This results in the defects being more benign, which relaxes constraints in how carefully the material needs to be synthesised. Lead-halide perovskites are a family of defect-tolerant semiconductors that have been very successful in optoelectronics. Synthesised by cheap solution-processing, long diffusion lengths (> 1 μm) and high photoluminescence quantum efficiencies (>80%) have been achieved and reproduced by many groups around the world. This has resulted in rapid increases in the efficiencies of photovoltaics and light emitting diodes (LEDs) after only a few years development. Dr. Hoye has developed new oxide electrodes to pair lead-halide perovskite with silicon to create efficient and stable tandem solar cells, as well as to achieve ultrasharp emission, which has important implications for ultrahigh definition displays. However, a key part of his research into defect-tolerant semiconductors is to find lead-free alternatives to the perovskites, achieving recent success with several bismuth-based compounds, such as bismuth oxyiodide.

Realizing low-cost optoelectronics commercially requires high-throughput synthesis methods. On this topic, Dr. Hoye is developing new oxide materials using atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition (AP-CVD). This is a technique he worked on during his PhD. He has shown that AP-CVD grows thin films an order of magnitude faster than conventional atomic layer deposition, but at lower temperatures than chemical vapour deposition. He has shown it possible to finely tune the properties of several metal oxides (such as ZnO, TiO2 and SnO2) to achieve highly-performing solar cells and LEDs, as well as achieve films that are conformal to high-aspect ratio nanostructures.


Dr. Hoye supervises Materials IB (Year 2 Materials Science) and lectures a Part III Course on Semiconducting Materials Characterization.



  • scale-up
  • Optical spectroscopy
  • Polymers
  • Energy
  • Hybrid Nanomaterials,
  • Metal-organic
  • Nanomanufacturing,
  • Photovoltaics
  • NanoPhotonics
  • Organometallic compounds
  • Synthesis

Key Publications

A full publication list can be found on Google Scholar 

Photovoltaic materials discovery

Highlighted in press release

Highlighted in ACS special issue on lead-free perovskites and listed in sample of best research from Chemistry of Materials.

Hybrid lead-halide perovskites

  • Kevin A. Bush, Axel F. Palmstrom, Zhengshan J. Yu, Mathieu Boccard, Rongrong Cheacharoen, Jonathan P. Mailoa, David P. McMeekin, Robert L. Z. Hoye, Colin D. Bailie, Tomas Leijtens, Ian Marius Peters, Maximillian C. Minichetti, Nicholas Rolston, Rohit Prasanna, Sarah Sofia, Duncan Harwood, Wen Ma, Farhad Moghadam, Henry J. Snaith, Tonio Buonassisi, Zachary C. Holman, Stacey F. Bent, and Michael D. McGehee. 23.6%-Efficient Monolithic Perovskite/Silicon Tandem Solar Cells with Improved Stability. Nature Energy, 2, 17009 (2017).

  • Jeremy R. Poindexter, Robert L. Z. Hoye, Lea Nienhaus, Rachel C. Kurchin, Ashley E. Morishige, Erin E. Looney, Anna Osherov, Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, Barry Lai, Vladimir Bulović, Vladan Stevanović, Moungi G. Bawendi, and Tonio Buonassisi. High tolerance to iron contamination in lead halide perovskite solar cells. ACS Nano, 11, 7101-7109 (2017).


Metal oxides

Atmospheric pressure vapour deposition