Karl Leo

Bio Outline


  • Fellow
  • Bio-inspired Solar Energy


  • TU Dresden
Institut für Angewandte Photophysik


  • Germany


Dr rer nat (Physics), Universität Stuttgart
Privatdozent (Physics), RWTH Aachen
Dipl-Phys (Physics), Universität Freiburg


Karl Leo, who works in the physical science of condensed matter physics, has more than 550 refereed publications and holds about 50 patents.

His research interests focus on organic semiconductors and emerging photovoltaic
technologies. His work on carbon-based solutions – as opposed to the classical silicon-based electronics – has led him to applications such as organic light- emitting diodes (OLEDs) and organic solar cells.

A major force behind Leo’s research, and also his entrepreneurial endeavours, is to increase the efficiency level of organic solar cells. One of the eight spin-off companies he has launched, located in Dresden, is the current world-leader, with an organic photovoltaics (OPV) efficiency rate of 12 per cent. This is a significant improvement from the early rate of one per cent when organic PVs were introduced in the 1980s. Leo’s goal is to attain around 20 per cent. His spin-off companies have employed more than 250 people and generated significant revenue. One of them supplied materials for organic LEDs and was purchased
by Samsung; another plays a leading role in the application of organic solar cells.


Member of the European Academy of Sciences, 2014

Hector-Prize and Fellow, 2014

Dr. techn. h.c., University of Southern Denmark, 2013

Rudolf-Jaeckel- Prize of the German Vacuum Society, 2012

German Future Prize, 2011

Relevant Publications

Lüssem, B. et al. "Doped Organic Transistors: Inversion and Depletion Regime." Nat. Commun. 4, no. 2775 (November 2013).

Brückner, R. et al. "Phase-locked coherent modes in a patterned metal-organic microcavity." Nat. Photonics 6, no. 5 (May 2012): 322–26.

Reineke, S. et al. "White organic light-emitting diodes with fluorescent tube efficiency." Nature 459, no. 7244 (May 2009): 234–38.

Schwartz, G. et al. "Harvesting Triplet Excitons from Fluorescent Blue Emitters in White Organic Light-Emitting Diodes." Adv. Mater. 19, no. 21 (November 2007): 3672–3676.

Walzer, K. et al. "Highly efficient organic devices based on electrically doped transport layers." Chem. Rev. 107, no. 4 (April 2007): 1233–1271.

Leo, K. High-Field Transport in Semiconductor Superlattics. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2003.


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