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Postgraduate research project

Photophysics and charge dynamics in semiconductors for solar cells

Competition funded View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Are you interested in understanding and exploiting light-matter interactions for the development of affordable and efficient solar cells for a green energy future? This project aims to investigate the charge transport and transfer dynamics in multi-layered semiconductor structures, and to improve efficiencies and stability of a new generation of affordable, high-efficiency solar cells.

Perovskite optoelectronics is one of the most exciting fields of research to emerge in recent years, offering stimulating scientific questions, interdisciplinary collaboration, and great technological potential. The development and optimisation of these technologies require a good understanding of the photophysics of multi-layered structures that form a functional photovoltaic device.

Innovations in solar energy technology have been driven by hybrid metal halide perovskite semiconductors. They offer high performance and low-cost fabrication. Crucially, they are also exceptionally versatile and tunable, making them ideal for multi-junction devices that can surpass the fundamental efficiency limits of traditional devices. This strategy will be key for making solar energy generation viable at a large scale. 

This project offers a good balance of experimental work and theoretical analysis, access to state-of-the art facilities, and interaction with international collaborators. You will develop interdisciplinary skills in:

  • thin-film processing and characterisation (X-ray scattering, electron microscopy)
  • operation of lasers and optical setups (microscopy, absorption and photoluminescence ultrafast time-resolved spectroscopy, terahertz photoconductivity)
  • programming (data analysis, numerical methods, and modelling)
  • project planning
  • management
  • other valuable transferrable skills

During this project, you will take part in this dynamic field and develop a strong background for a future career in academic research or emerging industries. This project will be supervised by Dr Silvia Motti and will integrate the Semiconductor Photophysics group and the wider Quantum, Light, and Matter group of the School of Physics and Astronomy. We are a welcoming and inclusive environment and a friendly and supportive local community. You will be offered comprehensive support, guidance and flexible arrangements while also being encouraged to develop independence and leadership.

Here are some relevant publications:

Controlling competing photochemical reactions stabilizes perovskite solar cells, Nature Photonics, 13, 532, 2019

Heterogeneous Photon Recycling and Charge Diffusion Enhance Charge Transport in Quasi-2D Lead-Halide Perovskite Films, Nano Letters, 19(6), 3953–3960, 2019

Phase segregation in mixed-halide perovskites affects charge-carrier dynamics while preserving mobility, Nature Communications, 2021, 12(1), 6955