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PhD Studentship: Opportunity in Scalability of High-power Per Weight Halide Perovskites Photovoltaics

University of Surrey

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Guildford
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £15,609 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 28th July 2021
Closes: 22nd November 2021

Studentship description 

The UK strategy for a Net Zero economy by 2050 and the growing electrification of automotive and aircrafts is fuelling investments in the low carbon economy, predicted to be £170 billion per year by 2030. In parallel, portable electronics will reach trillions of units in the next years generating huge demand for energy sources with high power per weight (W/Kg). Perovskites are a new class of semiconductors for next generation photovoltaics, already achieving certified efficiencies of 25.2% in glass substrates. The manufacturing process is compatible with lightweight, flexible substrates, making it suitable for high W/kg applications (aircrafts, space, IoT devices, etc). However, the lower processing temperatures required on these substrates leads to loss of performance (~12-15% on 10cm2). Understanding local microstructure on the overall performance is critical together with device area increases due to the lack of fast measurements and methods for quantification of structure. We will develop an innovative and unique capability of advanced sampling and hybrid data strategy with spatially resolved fast spectroscopy to quantify electrical and spectroscopic data to support manufacturability of photovoltaics. The work supported by Airbus, who are examining multifunctional coatings with Surrey. Additionally, Surrey’s net Carbon Zero drive by 2030, envisages development of a solar farm that would provide a dedicated test site to validate lab with real outdoor performance. 

As part of the project output we will hope to demonstrate high power-conversion efficiency on large-area flexible substrates: >18% with aperture area >50 cm2; a measurement method (sampling and implementation) for fast spectroscopic and spatially resolved characterisation. Within the contact we will develop hybrid data analysis method with combined optical imaging and electrical characteristics. 

Benefits from the project will include accelerated development and validation of new materials and high W/Kg photovoltaics and the ability to provide significant insight into how to increase performance of flexible photovoltaics that will be evaluated in real applications. 

The novel sampling and analysis methods are transferable to a wide range of other thin film electronic applications, including power electronics, battery electrodes, etc. Availability of high W/Kg power sources will accelerate growth of the UK’s low carbon economy: portable electronic; electrification of automotive and aerospace industry, including autonomous vehicles. 

All facilities associated with the Advanced Technology Institute and NPL at Teddington relevant to the project will be made available to the successful candidate. This project will be supervised by Professor Ravi Silva and Professor Fernando Castro. 

This is a 4-year project starting in January 2022. 

Entry requirements 

First-class degree or equivalent or distinction at Masters. 

English language requirements: IELTS Academic 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category. 


Full UK tuition fee covered. Stipend at £15,609 p.a. Personal Computer (provided by the department). 

How to apply 

Applications should be submitted via the Advanced Technology Institute PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. 

Please state clearly the studentship project at you would like to apply for. 

Applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Ravi Silva on to discuss their application. 

Please include a research proposal and your CV. 

Closing date for applications 

22 July 2021 

Application enquiries 

For application enquiries, please contact Prof Ravi Silva on

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