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Kai Zhu

Senior Scientist

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

Dr. Kai Zhu's research interests include sensitized solar cells, electrical energy storage, and charge transport and recombination in nanostructured electrode materials. His current research focuses on experimental and theoretical studies aimed at establishing a basic understanding of the principal physical and chemical processes governing the charge-transport dynamics and interfacial charge-transfer kinetics in sensitized, nanostructured solid-state and liquid-junction solar cells. The research involves the use of frequency- and time-resolved photocurrent and photovoltage measurements, electrical impedance spectroscopy, and computer modeling and simulations.


  • 2008–present Research Scientist, Chemical and Biosciences Center, NREL. Charge dynamics and electrode characteristics of nanostructured electrode materials for sensitized solar cells and electrical energy storage.

  • 2004–2007 Postdoctoral Researcher, NREL, Dr. Arthur Frank's group. Charge transport and recombination in dye-sensitized solar cells.

  • 2003–2004 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Physics Department, Kansas State University. Electrical and optical properties of III-Nitride wide-bandgap semiconductors.

  • 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. Zhu, K.; Vinzant, T.B.; Neale, N.R.; Frank, A.J. (2007). "Removing Structural Disorder from Oriented TiO2 Nanotube Arrays: Reducing the Dimensionality of Transport and Recombination in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells." Nano Lett. (7); p. 3739.
  2. Zhu, K.; Neale, N.R.; Miedaner, A.; Frank, A.J. (2007). "Enhanced charge-collection efficiencies and light scattering in dye-sensitized solar cells using oriented TiO2 nanotube arrays." Nano Lett. (7); p. 69.
  3. Zhu, K.; Kopidakis, N.; Neale, N.R.; van de Lagemaat, J.; Frank, A.J. (2006). "Influence of surface area on charge transport and recombination in dye-sensitized TiO2 solar cells." J. Phys. Chem. B (Special issue: Arthur J. Nozik Festschrift) (110); p. 25174.
  4. Yu, P.; Zhu, K.; Norman, A.G.; Ferrere, S.; Frank, A.J.; Nozik, A. J. (2006). "Nanocrystalline TiO2 Solar Cells Sensitized with InAs Quantum Dots." J. Phys. Chem. B (110); p. 25451.
  5. Kopidakis, N.; Neale, N.R.; Zhu, K.; van de Lagemaat, J.; Frank, A.J. (2005). "Spatial Location of Transport-Limiting Traps in TiO2 Nanoparticle Films in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells." Appl. Phys. Lett. (87); p. 202106.

NREL Publications 

View NREL Publications for this staff member.