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A 3-Year PhD Studentship in Electronic Structure & Degradation of Hybrid Perovskites

   Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Material Science, UCL

   Saturday, April 15, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisors: Prof. Geoff Thornton (UCL), Dr. PAN Jisheng (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore)

Application deadline: 15/04/2023  

Interview date: 08/05/2023 

Start date: 25 September 2023

Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)

Subject areas: Photovoltaics, Thin-film hybrid perovskites, Angle-resolved photoemission 

The Studentship

This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore) Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year one followed by second and third years of the PhD at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) of A*STAR in Singapore, then return to UCL for the final six months to write up the thesis. If successful, the PhD will be awarded from UCL. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £19668 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a stipend of S$2700 per month directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student a one-off relocation allowance.

The project 

Over the past few years a dramatic rise in photovoltaic efficiency (>20%) has been achieved by replacing dye molecules with hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites such as CH3NH3PbI3 (MAPI). Hybrid perovskites are characterised by high carrier lifetimes and a high tolerance of defects, but there is an incomplete understanding of this behaviour. The primary aim of this project is to measure the electronic structure of a single crystalline thin film of MAPI using angle resolved photoemission. This will be carried out at A*STAR after the optimum growth method of the film has been identified at UCL. This will involve growth in ultrahigh vacuum using scanning tunnelling microscopy to identify the structure at the atomic level. The secondary aim of the project is associated with the degradation of MAPI by water vapour. A possible route to chemical stabilisation is to use the carrier collector as a passivating layer. For instance TiO2 is chemically inert, and recent calculations predict a promising matched interface with MAPI3. These studies will be pursued at A*Star with XPS, UPS and scanning probe measurements.

The candidate 

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class integrated masters degree (MSci, MChem, etc.) or 2:1 minimum BSc plus stand-alone Masters degree with at least a Merit in Physics, Chemistry or materials science. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good instrumental skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.

Interested candidates should initially contact the supervisors (Prof Thornton () or Dr PAN Jisheng () with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in the project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Please note that a suitable applicant will first be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. In addition, it is essential that suitable applicants complete an electronic application form at (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) prior to the application deadline and advise their referees to submit their references as soon as they possibly can. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Zhimei Du via

Funding Notes

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available on View Website.

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