Kai Zhu

Kai Zhu

Senior Scientist

Photo of Kai Zhu
(303) 384-6353
At NREL Since: 

Dr. Kai Zhu is currently a senior scientist in the Chemistry and Nanoscience Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He received his Ph.D. degree in physics from Syracuse University in 2003, where he studied the electrical and optical properties and device physics of solar cells based on amorphous-silicon thin films and dye-sensitized mesoporous TiO2 films. He then spent about one year at Kansas State University as a postdoctoral researcher, working on III-nitride wide-bandgap semiconductors for high-power blue and ultraviolet light-emitting diodes. In 2004, he joined NREL as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratories of Dr. Arthur J. Frank, working on fundamental charge-carrier transport and recombination in photoelectrochemical cells, especially dye-sensitized solar cells. Since 2007, he has worked as a staff scientist at NREL. His current research interests are focused on both basic and applied research on perovskite solar cells, including perovskite material development, device fabrication and characterization, and basic understanding of charge-carrier dynamics in these cells. In addition to solar cell applications, his research interests have included hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical cells as well as nanostructured electrodes for Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors.

Please see Kai Zhu's Google Scholar page for a full list of his publications.


  • 1998–2003 Ph.D., Physics, Syracuse University, with Prof. Eric A. Schiff

  • 1991–1998 B.S. and M.S., Physics, University of Science & Technology of China

Selected Publications 

  1. Park, N.-G.; Grätzel, M., Miyasaka, T., Zhu, K., Emery, K. (2016). "Towards stable and commercially available perovskite solar cells." Nature Energy (1); p. 16152.
  2. Zhao, Y. X.; Zhu, K. (2016). "Organic-inorganic hybrid lead halide perovskites for optoelectronic and electronic applications." Chem. Soc. Rev. (45); pp. 655-689.
  3. Aguiar, J. A.; Wozny, S.; Holesinger, T. G.; Aoki, T.; Patel, M. K.; Yang, M. J.; Berry, J. J.; Al-Jassim, M.; Zhou, W. L.; Zhu, K. (2016). "In situ investigation of the formation and metastability of formamidinium lead tri-iodide perovskite solar cells." Energy Environ. Sci. (9); pp. 2372-2382.
  4. Yang, M. J.; Zhang, T. Y.; Schulz, P.; Li, Z.; Li, G.; Kim, D. H.; Guo, N. J.; Berry, J. J.; Zhu, K.; Zhao, Y. X. (2016). "Facile fabrication of large-grain CH3NH3PbI3-xBrx films for high-efficiency solar cells via CH3NH3Br-selective Ostwald ripening." Nature Commun. (7); pp. 12305-12305.
  5. Li, Z.; Yang, M. J.; Park, J. S.; Wei, S. H.; Berry, J. J.; Zhu, K. (2016). "Stabilizing perovskite structures by tuning tolerance factor: Formation of formamidinium and cesium lead iodide solid-state alloys." Chem. Mater. (28); p. 284-292.
  6. Chen, B.; Yang, M. J.; Priya, S.; Zhu, K. (2016). "Origin of J-V hysteresis in perovskite solar cells." J. Phys. Chem. Lett. (7); pp. 905-917.
  7. Yang, M.; Zhou, Y.; Zeng, Y.; Jiang, C.-S.; Padture, N. P.; Zhu, K. (2015). "Square-centimeter solution-processed planar CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite solar cells with efficiency exceeding 15%." Adv. Mater. (27); pp. 6363-6370.
  8. Jiang, C.-S.; Yang, M.; Zhou, Y.; To, B.; Nanayakkara, S. U.; Luther, J. M.; Zhou, W.; Berry, J. J.; van de Lagemaat, J.; Padture, N. P.; Zhu, K.; Al-Jassim, M. M. (2015). "Carrier separation and transport in perovskite solar cells studied by nanometre-scale profiling of electrical potential." Nature Commun. (6); p. 8937.
  9. Zhang, T.; Yang, M.; Zhao, Y.; Zhu, K. (2015). "Controllable sequential deposition of planar CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite films via adjustable volume expansion." Nano Lett. (15); pp. 3959-3963.
  10. Zhao, Y.; Zhu, K. (2014). "Efficient planar perovskite solar cells based on 1.8 eV band gap CH3NH3PbI2Br nanosheets via thermal decomposition." J. Am. Chem. Soc. (136); pp. 12241-12244.

NREL Publications 

View NREL Publications for this staff member.