Professor Bram Hoex

Professor Bram Hoex

2020, Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD)

2016, Graduate Certification in University Learning and Teaching (GCULT), UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

2008, PhD degree in Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

2003, MSc degree in Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

Professor Bram Hoex completed a MSc degree and PhD degree in Applied Physics from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands. His PhD work on functional thin films for high-efficiency solar cells was recognised by both the SolarWorld “Junior Einstein” and Leverhulme “Technology Transfer” awards. After completing his PhD degree in 2008, he joined the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) as head of the Photovoltaic Characterization group. From 2012 to the end of 2014 he was Director of the Silicon Materials and Solar Cells Cluster as well as group leader Monocrystalline Silicon Wafer Solar Cells. In 2015 he joined the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at UNSW Australia where he currently is Deputy Head of School (Research) and Director, International Strategy. His research group focusses on the development and characterization of high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells, typically working in close collaboration with equipment and solar cell manufacturers to ensure rapid transfer to the PV industry. Currently, he focusses on development and commercialization of high-efficiency device architectures that capitalise on the UNSW advanced hydrogenation technique. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on aluminium oxide for crystalline silicon surface passivation which is now the de facto standard for industrial PERC solar cells. He also pioneered the application of atomic layer deposition for silicon wafer solar cell manufacturing. During his career, he has raised over A$ 60 million in competitive research funding of which A$ 19 million as Lead Investigator. He has published over 200 journal and conference papers which have been cited over 7,000 times to date. In 2016 he was awarded the mid-career “IEEE PVSC Young Professional Award” for his significant contributions and his potential as a future leader in the field of photovoltaics and in 2018 he was selected as one of the "Solar 40 under 40" by Renewable Energy World.

Specialties: High-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells, solar energy, surface passivation, advanced characterisation of photovoltaic devices and materials.

Rm 132, L1, Tyree Energy Technologies Building (Building H6) University of New South Wales Sydney NSW 2052
  • Book Chapters | 2021
    Bonilla RS; Hoex B, 2021, 'Hydrogen passivation of silicon surfaces', in Hydrogen Passivation and Laser Doping for Silicon Solar Cells, Institution of Engineering and Technology, pp. 75 - 114,
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Chaudhari A; Cui X; Hoex B; Hyde L; Ironside CN; Jadwisienczak WM; Kordesch ME; Rahman F; Vispute RD, 2022, 'Zinc oxide family semiconductors for ultraviolet radiation emission – A cathodoluminescence study', Materials Research Bulletin, vol. 153,
    Journal articles | 2022
    Yuan X; Li J; Huang J; Yan C; Cui X; Sun K; Cong J; He M; Wang A; He G; Mahboubi Soufiani A; Jiang J; Zhou S; Stride JA; Hoex B; Green M; Hao X, 2022, '10.3% Efficient Green Cd-Free Cu2ZnSnS4 Solar Cells Enabled by Liquid-Phase Promoted Grain Growth', Small, vol. 18,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Li J; Pan T; Wang J; Cao S; Lin Y; Hoex B; Ma Z; Lu L; Yang L; Sun B; Li D, 2020, 'Bilayer MoOX/CrOXPassivating Contact Targeting Highly Stable Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells', ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, vol. 12, pp. 36778 - 36786,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Meng L; Ma F; Wong J; Hoex B; Bhatia CS, 2014, 'Extraction of Surface Recombination Velocity at Highly Doped Silicon Surfaces Using Electron-Beam-Induced Current', IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics,

2018 – 2021, Lead Investigator, “Advanced high-efficiency silicon solar cells employing innovative atomic scale engineered surface and contact passivation layers”, ARENA BH008, budget A$ 2.0M.

2018 – 2021, Chief Investigator, “Hydrogenated and Hybrid Heterojunction p-type Silicon PV Cells R&D Project”, ARENA BH007, budget A$ 1.7M plus A$ 0.5M from industry.

2018 - 2021, Chief Investigator, “Integrating industrial black silicon with high efficiency multicrystalline solar cells”, ARENA DP010, budget A$0.5M plus A$ 0.5M from industry.

2018 – 2021, Chief Investigator, “Development of Beyond 20% Efficiency Kesterite (CZTSSe) Solar Cells: win the PV race with sustainable low-cost, low-toxic and stable materials”, ARENA XH004, budget A$ 1.3M.

2018 – 2021, Investigator, “Efficient Adamantine Thin-Film on Silicon Tandem Cells: The Next Step in Commercial Cell Evolution”, ARENA MG020, budget A$ 3.2M.

2017 – 2021, Chief Investigator, “Development and commercialisation of high efficiency silicon solar cell technology”, ARENA 1-A060-extension, budget A$ 2.5M.

2017 – 2020, Chief Investigator, “Advanced manufacturing of solar cells using cutting-edge hydrogenation”, Global Innovation Linkages (Department of Industry, Innovation and Science), budget A$ 1M.

2017 – 2020, Chief Investigator, “Low cost, high efficiency Copper-Zinc-Tin-Sulphide (CZTS) on silicon multi-junction solar cells”, USO028-extension, Budget A$ 1.1M.

2017 – 2020, Chief Investigator, “Overcoming the performance and cost limitations of commercial solar cells”, 1-A060, ARENA-ASI Core Project Funding Partner Contribution (Lerri Solar Technology), budget A$ 1.04M

2017, Chief Investigator, “Dual chamber evaporator”, UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme, budget A$ 150k.

2016 – 2019, Chief Investigator, “Development and commercialisation of UNSW’s advanced hydrogenation (ah) technology”, 1-A060, ARENA-ASI Core Project Funding Partner Contribution (SolarWorld Innovations), budget A$ 1.04M

2016 - 2017, Lead Investigator, “Impact aluminium oxide on screen-printed contacts”, Jiangsu Leadmicro nano-equipment technology, budget A$ 20k.

2016 – 2019, Chief Investigator, “Development and commercialisation of high efficiency silicon solar cell technology”, 1-A060, ARENA-ASI Core Project Funding Partner Contribution (CEC Energy Pt. Ltd.), budget A$ 1.04M

2016 – 2019, Co-Lead Investigator, “Passivated hole contacts for next-generation industrial silicon wafer solar cells”. NPR9-021-2-009, budget A$ 1M.         

2014, Lead Investigator, “Cost-effective silicon wafer solar cells using inkjet-printed front metallisation”, NRF2014EWT-EIRP001-016, budget A$ 1.3M. Industry partner Roth & Rau.

2014, Chief Investigator, “Advanced metallization concepts enabling cost reduction for industrial high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells”, NRF2013EWT-EIRP002-007, budget S$ 5.4M. Industry partner MECO.

2014, Chief Investigator, “Feasibility of multicrystalline silicon aluminium local back surface solar cells”, NRF2013EWT-EIRP002-005, budget S$ 500k. Industry partner REC Solar.

2013 - 2016, Chief Investigator, “Novel dielectric coatings for silicon wafer solar cells”, NRF2012EWT-EIRP001-014, budget S$ 1.2M. Industry partner DSM.

2013 – 2019, Lead Investigator, “Ion implantation for low-cost high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells”, NRF2012EWT-EIRP001-023, budget S$ 5.6M. Industry partner Intevac.

2012 – 2017, Lead Investigator, “Ultrafast atomic layer deposition for cost-efficient high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells”, NRF2011 EWT-CERP001-018, budget S$ 3.3M + S$ 390k (industry). Industry partners: SoLayTec and AkzoNobel.

2011 – 2017, Chief Investigator, “Development of high-efficiency crystalline/amorphous silicon heterojunction solar cells on thin wafers’, NRF2010EWT-CERP001-022, budget S$4.8M. Industry partners: Singulus, DEK, DuPont, REC Solar, and First Philec

2010 – 2013, Chief Investigator, “Screen-printed all-back-contact silicon wafer solar cel”, budget S$ 4.7M. Industry partner Trina Solar.    

2009 – 2012, Lead Investigator, “Development of industrial high-efficiency multicrystalline silicon wafer solar cells – Application of novel cell architectures and manufacturing technologies”, NRF2009EWT-CERP001-056, budget S$ 3.9M + S$ 330k (industry). Industry partner REC Solar.

2018, Staff Excellence Award in Research Excellence, Faculty of Engineering, UNSW Sydney.

2018, Listed on the “Solar 40 under 40” list from Renewable Energy World

2018, UNSW Scientia Fellowship, UNSW Sydney.

2017, Arc Postgraduate Council Supervisor Award, UNSW Sydney

2016, IEEE PVSC Young Professional Award, arguably the most prestigious mid-career price in the field of photovoltaics

2014, Shortlisted for “Young Scientist Award 2014”, Singapore

2013, Shortlisted for “Young Scientist Award 2013”, Singapore

2013, Nominated for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review TR35 list for world’s young innovators

2011, “Best Poster Award” in Symposium O at the ICMAT 2011 meeting (co-author)

2011, “Best Poster Award” at the 37th IEEE PVSC meeting (co-author)

2011, Nominated for the MIT Technology Review TR35 list for world’s young innovators

2010, Nominated for the MIT Technology Review TR35 list for world’s young innovators

2008, “Best Poster Award” at the 33rd IEEE PVSC meeting (presenting author)

2008, SolarWorld “Junior Einstein Award” for best international PhD thesis in the field of photovoltaic research

2008, Leverhulme Trust “Technology Transfer Award” of € 70,000 for the successful transfer of technology from academia to industry in the Netherlands

2008, “Best Oral Presentation” Award at the IUMRS-ICEM 2008 meeting, Sydney, Australia

Solar cells convert light to electricity, and we are always aiming for the highest energy conversion efficiency at the lowest costs. The efficiency potential of a single junction solar cell is governed by the material properties of the absorber material(s). However, the efficiency of actual devices is significantly lower due to non-optimal optical and electronic properties of the device.

Our research focusses on the application and optimisation of thin films in a wide range of solar cells in order to minimise optical and electronic losses. In particular electronic losses can be minimised by the application of multifunctional thin films such as interface passivation layers or electron or hole transport layers. The best results can be achieved when the composition of these thin films can be controlled with atomic layer precision, and this can be achieved by atomic layer deposition. You can find more information about our work on our group’s website.