Professor Ted Sargent, winner of the 2012 Steacie Prize, is a global leader in the field of solar cell technology (photo by John Hryniuk, MIT)

Sargent wins Steacie Prize for outstanding young Canadian researcher

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Edward (Ted) Sargent is the winner of the 2012 Steacie Prize.

Not only is Professor Sargent the fourth consecutive University of Toronto recipient of the prestigious award, but he’s ensuring the award stays in the family; last year’s recipient was his wife, U of T Pharmacy Professor Shana Kelley.

The Steacie Prize is awarded each year to one person 40 years of age or younger who has made notable contributions to research in Canada. The prize is administered by the Trustees of the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fund, a private foundation dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering in Canada.

"This award celebrates the remarkable advances made by a team of incredibly skilled, and deeply dedicated, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, undergraduate students, research associates, and research engineers,” Sargent said. “Many of these talented people have since gone on to start their own research groups and companies, and many continue to push the frontiers of nanotechnology and its applications, both at U of T and in the wider world.”

Vice-Dean, Research, of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Sargent is widely known as the inventor of full-spectrum solution-processed solar cells, a new class of solar energy harvesting devices based on colloidal quantum dots (CQD). He holds the world record for the highest-performing solar cell in this promising new class of materials. Sargent has also made fundamental contributions to understanding how electronic transport proceeds in CQD solids and to advancing the materials chemistry of novel nanomaterials.

Sargent has been named one of the ‘Scientific American 50’, one of ‘Canada’s Top 40 Under 40’ and one of the world’s 100 top young innovators by MIT Technology Review. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineers.

His publications have been cited more than 6,000 times. In the past six years, he has authored 18 papers in some of the world’s most prestigious journals, including Science, Nature, Nature Materials, Nature Chemistry, Nature Nanotechnology and Nature Photonics. His research has also been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. Professor Sargent’s book The Dance of Molecules: How Nanotechnology is Changing Our Lives (Penguin 2005) has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Arabic. He is a KAUST Investigator.

“I wholeheartedly congratulate Ted Sargent on receiving this prestigious award and I thank the selection committee of the Steacie Prize,” said U of T Engineering Dean Cristina Amon. “Ted is a brilliant researcher. His innovative work in solar cell technology is rapidly moving us toward the reality of an efficient and economical source of solar energy.”

The award has been won 18 times by U of T researchers since its inception in 1964. Last year, Professor Kelley won the award for her work on development of nanomaterial-based detection systems that can track minuscule quantities of biomolecular analytes.

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