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He is known as the father of third generation dye-sensitised solar cells, which offer much promise in the search for affordable, renewable energy technologies.

Michael Gratzel, after whom the relatively low cost/high performance 'Gratzel cells' have been named, was Wednesday named winner of the prestigious Millennium Technology Prize at a ceremony here.

The concepts behind Gratzel cells can also be applied in the production of hydrogen and batteries, both important components of future energy needs, organisers of the prize said on their website.

Gratzel is director of the laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, Switzerland.

Winners of the prize receive a trophy carrying the name 'Peak'. It is given to people for technology innovation.

Two other scientists shortlisted for the award included Stephen Furber, professor of Computer Engineering in Manchester University, and Sir Richard Friend, professor of physics in Cambridge University, UK.

Furber is the principal designer of the ARM 32 bit RISC microprocessor, found in most handheld electronic devices and in more than 98 percent of the world's mobile phones.

Friend's work in plastic electronics revolutionised the field of optoelectronics, with far-reaching consequences for energy efficient applications in display devices, lighting, sensing and solar energy harvesting, the organisers said.

The international panel of experts, which recommends the Laureates and ultimate winner of the Millennium Technology Prize to the Technology Academy Finland, is chaired by Risto Nieminen, professor of physics at Helsinki University of Technology.

V.S. Ramamurthy, renowned Indian nuclear scientist with several research contributions in the areas of nuclear fission and heavy ion reaction mechanisms, is one of the members of the selection committee.


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