PhD Studentship: Pushing to 20% Efficient Solution Grown CIGS Thin Film Solar Cells 

Loughborough University

Start date: 1st October 2017


Primary supervisor: Dr. Jake Bowers

Secondary supervisor: Prof. Mike Walls

Project Detail:

Successful deposition of thin film solar cells, such as CdTe and CIGS, have historically been limited to devices grown using vacuum techniques, such as evaporation and sputtering. These techniques allow close control of the material properties, and have produced the highest performing devices. However, with an aim to reducing costs, solution processed absorbers have been slowly closing the gap between atmospheric and vacuum processed solar cells. Recently, Solar Frontier has announced a certified 17.7% efficient solution processed CIGS device. It is clear that the potential for cost reduction by atmospheric processes is becoming a reality.

Recently, work at CREST has focused on the solution deposition of thin films, using metal chalcogenide precursors in thiol-amine solvents. These precursors are ideal, since they contain no unwanted impurities (such as oxygen and halides), and can be sprayed under atmospheric conditions to form continuous films, with precise composition control. After selenization, CIGS devices of 10% have been reported.

With this in mind, the objectives of this project will be to utilise a range of advanced characterisation techniques for the development of solution processed CIGS solar cells.. This will include a variety of temperature dependent electrical measurements (such as admittance spectroscopy), as well as developing knowledge and understanding in less common measurement techniques such as time resolved photoluminescence. Jsc-Voc measurements and multi spectral LBIC measurements.

With this vast amount of data, from a comprehensive tool chest of measurement methods, handling the results will be an extremely important task. Another objective of the project, therefore, will be to develop an interactive materials measurement database of PV device manufacture and analysis. During the duration of the project (and beyond) a comprehensive materials database will be developed, which will be able to relate disparate measurement techniques with each other.

Find out more:

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in either Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Engineering or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: photovoltaics, renewable energy.

Funding information:

This studentship is funded for 4 years through the CDT in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics. Year 1 of the project will involve 14 weeks of external training in photovoltaics through the CDT at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool, Southampton, Sheffield, Bath and Loughborough (more information can be found at

The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. In order to qualify for a full award, all applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria including the minimum UK residency requirement. For further information see

Contact details:

Dr Jake Bowers,, 01509 635322

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Please quote the reference JB250417 on all correspondence. Please ensure that you select ‘Electronic and Electrical Engineering’ under program name on the application form. 

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Midlands of England