Knowledge and solutions for a changing world

Hugh W. Hillhouse

Hugh HillhouseRehnberg Chair Professor

Office: Molecular Engineering & Sciences Building, Room 123
Phone: 206-685-5257
Fax: 206-685-3451

Education and Appointments

  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, Clemson University, 1995
  • M.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, 1996
  • M.S. Physics, University of Massachusetts, 2000
  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, 2000
  • NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow, Nanoscopic Physics, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, 2000-2002
  • Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 2002-2007
  • Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 2007-2010
  • Visiting Scholar (Sabbatical), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2008-2009
  • Harry A. & Metta R. Rehnberg Chair Professorship, University of Washington, 2010-present

Research Interests

  • Solar Energy Conversion (CIGS and CZTS solar cells, device architecture, simulation)
  • Nanomaterials (nanocrystals, nanowires, quantum size effects)
  • Colloidal & Interfacial Phenomena (self-assembly, nucleation & growth)
  • Electrochemistry (semiconductor electrochemistry, fuel cells, batteries)
Hillhouse’s research lies at the nexus of nanomaterials and energy conversion. Within the realm of molecular and nanoscale science many new molecules, nanocrystals, electronic materials, and device architectures can be envisioned that may be able to address our current energy harvesting, utilization, and storage challenges. However, the scientific understanding of the chemistry and fundamental processes involved and the engineering necessary to develop economic and sustainable solutions is still in its infancy. Research efforts within the group span the range from fundamental studies of molecular precursor chemistry, nanocrystal nucleation and growth, and materials defect chemistry to device fabrication, characterization, and modeling of solar cells and fuel cells to system-level analyses of the life-cycle and impact of potential new technologies. This system-level approach is used to identify opportunities, avoid unforeseen consequences (like indirect market effects and environmental issues), and enlighten the molecular and nanoscale approaches we develop. Please see the Research Section of the Hillhouse Research Group Website to learn more.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Researchers

The Hillhouse Group typically has openings for new students and postdocs. Please check for openings here.

Undergraduate Researchers

There are openings for two to three undergraduate researchers every year. Self-motivated University of Washington undergraduate students in Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Chemistry, or Physics should contact Prof. Hillhouse by email and send their resume or CV. There is a two quarter minimum, but the depth and impact of the experience will increase with the length of time in residence. Many undergraduate students stay in the group for a year or more and do research over the summer and even after graduation.


Hillhouse has developed and taught graduate courses on: (1) Advanced Solar Energy Conversion, (2) Electrochemistry, (3) X-ray and Neutron Scattering Methods, (4) Nanomaterials Chemistry and Engineering, and (5) Transport Phenomena. He has also developed an undergraduate course on the Principles of Molecular Engineering which is offered every year. He has been recognized for his teaching and received the Shreve Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Purdue University.

Selected Publications

  • Guo, Q., Ford, G. M., Agrawal, R., Hillhouse, H.W. “Ink formulation and low-temperature incorporation of sodium to yield 12% efficient CIGSe solar cells from sulfide nanocrystal inks.” Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications 2012, DOI: 10.1002/pip.2200.
  • Ki, W., Hillhouse, H.W. “Earth-Abundant Element Photovoltaics Directly from Soluble Precursors with High Yield Using a Non-Toxic Solvent.” Advanced Energy Materials 2011 1, pp. 732-735.
  • Ford, G.M., Guo, Q., Agrawal, R., Hillhouse, H.W. “Earth Abundant Element CZTGS Nanocrystals for Tunable Band Gap Solar Cells: 6.8% Efficient Device Fabrication,” Chemistry of Materials 2011, 23(10), pp. 2626-2629.
  • Kar, M., Agrawal, R., Hillhouse, H.W. “Formation Pathway of CuInSe2 Nanocrystals for Solar Cells,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011 133(43), pp. 17239-17247.
  • Midgett, A.G., Hillhouse, H.W., Hughes, B.K., Nozik, A.J., Beard, M.C. “Flowing versus Static Conditions for Measuring Multiple Exciton Generation in PbSe Quantum Dots,” J. Phys. Chem. C 2010, DOI:10.1021/jp1057786.
  • Hillhouse H.W., Beard M.C. "Solar Cells from Colloidal Nanocrystals: Fundamentals, Materials, Devices, and Economics," Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science 2009, 14, pp. 245-259.
  • Guo, Q.J., Kim, S.J., Kar, M., Shafarman, W.N., Birkmire, R.W., Stach, E.A., Agrawal, R., Hillhouse, H.W. "Development of a CuInSe2 Nanocrystal Ink for Low-Cost Solar Cells," Nano Letters 2008 8(9), pp. 2982-2987.
  • Urade, V.N., Wei, T.C., Tate, M.P., Kowalski, J.D., Hillhouse, H.W. "Nanofabrication of Double Gyroid Films," Chemistry of Materials 2007, 19, pp. 768-777.
  • Tate, M.P., Hillhouse, H.W. "General Method for Simulation of 2D GISAXS Intensities for Any Nanostructured Film Using Discrete Fourier Transforms," J. Phys. Chem. C 2007, 111, pp. 7645-7654.
  • Wei, T.C., Hillhouse, H.W. "Mass Transport and Electrode Accessibility through Periodic Self- Assembled Nanoporous Silica Thin Films," Langmuir 2007 23, pp. 5689-5699.

Contact Us

Dept. of Chemical Engineering

phone: (206) 543-2250
fax: (206) 543-3778