PhD Studentship: The Microstructure and Electrical Properties of Grain Boundaries in Polycrystalline Thin Film Photovoltaic Devices

Loughborough University

EPSRC CDT-PV PhD Studentship on Thin Film Photovoltaic Devices

Start date: 1 October 2017

Interview date: 22 August 2017


Primary supervisor: Dr. Yau Yau Tse

Secondary supervisor: Prof. Mike Walls and Dr. Jake Bowers


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Detail:

Applications are invited for a full time EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDTPV) PhD studentship in New and Sustainable photovoltaics, to commence on Oct 2017. CDT-PV is a multicentre team composed of seven universities - Liverpool, Bath, Sheffield, Loughborough, Southampton, Oxford and Cambridge - that will train highly-skilled students capable of transforming state-of-the-art research and development across the sustainable energy and PV sectors. This will in turn aid the country to achieve its renewable energy obligations, and will generate jobs in the technology sectors. See for more information.

The studentship starts with a 1-year expert training program of 7 x 2-week intensive courses on photovoltaic science and technologies where will be based at seven universities. The following 3 years will be based at Loughborough University where the PhD research program will be carried out.

The project aims to improve the electrical performance of thin film photovoltaic devices by understanding the correlation of the process-microstructure-property of the photovoltaic films.  Defects and grain boundaries (GBs) are detrimental to the electrical performance of thin film photovoltaic devices. To optimize the cell efficiency via GB engineering and understand the underlying mechanisms, we will use the world classed characterization facilities in Loughborough Materials Characterization Centre (LMCC), e.g. in-situ TEM, FIB-assisted EBSD, EBIC, etc. In conjunction with the Centre of renewable energy system technology (CREST) in Loughborough University, the optimized fabrication techniques and resulting electrical performance can be evaluated systematically. 

Find out more:

More information about the PhD program of CDT- PV can be found at

Details of LMCC and CREST can be found at

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Hons Bachelors degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Material Science or a related subject. A Masters will be an advantage. A background in Photovoltaics is not essential as training will be provided through the CDT. The successful candidates should be highly motivated, able to work within a team and have good communication skills.

Funding information:

Due to funding restrictions, this is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. The studentship will cover a tax-free stipend of £14,296 per annum for a maximum of 4 years; tuition fees at the Home/EU rate; support for research training and research.

Contact details:

For more information about the project contact Dr. Yau Yau Tse ( and Prof. Mike Walls (

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Materials

Please quote reference number: MP-YYT-1718

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Midlands of England