PhD Studentship: Group V and Substitutional Doping Strategies for Next Generation CdTe Solar Cells

Loughborough University

Application details:
Reference number: JBCDT2018
Start date: 1st October 2018
Closing date: 19th March 2018

Primary supervisor: Dr Jake Bowers
Secondary supervisor: Prof Mike Walls

Project Detail:
Over the last 6 years, CdTe photovoltaics (PV) have enjoyed a steady performance improvement after remaining relatively stagnant for the previous 10 years. This steady efficiency increase has come about from, in the first instance, focusing on increasing photon absorption to improve current collection. Whilst improving the current collection in these devices has yielded higher and higher efficiencies, it is important to address the voltage loss which CdTe devices currently suffer from. Only then will CdTe PV fully realise its potential.

Currently, CdTe suffers from a significant voltage deficit, which prevents devices from exceeding 900mV open circuit voltage. This voltage deficit has been attributed to two phenomena: a) Low doping density of around 1014/cm3 and b) low minority carrier lifetime (typically less than 5ns). Simultaneously improving both will lead to improved open circuit voltages. Strategies to improve doping in CdTe include using group V dopants, such as phosphorus, will be investigated in this project to improve doping levels in CdTe thin films from 1014 to 1016/cm3, which are typical in high efficiency CIGS solar cells. In addition to group V doping, selenium alloying will also be explored in this project.

There is growing evidence that alloying CdTe with Se (to form CdTe­­Se­1-x­) can significantly improve the minority carrier lifetime of the film without resorting to exotic growth methods. In addition to this, alloying CdTe with Se also represents a unique opportunity to grade the band gap of the film, which has been successfully used in CIGS PV to promote a back surface field, which promotes collection of electrons generated near the back of the device. This is particularly important in materials which have high doping density. The investigation of the CdTe­Se­1-x ­ material as well as group V doping represents a significant opportunity to improve CdTe device efficiency

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 £14,777 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 and to qualify for a full award, all applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria including the minimum UK residency requirement.

Contact details: Dr Jake Bowers,, 01509 635322

How to apply: All applications should be made online at Please ensure that you select ‘Electronic and Electrical Engineering’ under program name on the application form.

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Midlands of England