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A 3-year PhD studentship in the Next Generation of Eco-friendly and high-performance Solar Cells


   Institute for Materials Discovery

  Dr Mojtaba Abdi-Jalebi  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 3-year funded PhD studentship to join the Functional Materials and Optoelectronic Device group led by Dr Mojtaba Abdi-Jalebi at the Institute for Materials Discovery (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/institute-for-materials-discovery/), University College London.

This is a 3-year funded exciting project, to begin in October 2022, which aims to discover, design and characterise emerging non-toxic semiconductors and optimise them for next generation of eco-friendly solar cells at the UCL Institute for Materials Discovery.

Solar energy technology is one of the most promising solutions to minimizing our dependence on fossil fuel–based energy sources to meet net zero carbon emissions goals by 2050. Halide perovskites are exciting materials for the next generation of high-performance solar cells with the power conversion efficiency >25%. However, many of these halide perovskites suffer from several issues that currently preclude their use in widespread commercial applications, including Pb toxicity, air and moisture sensitivity, and crystalline phase instability.

The PhD project will focus on the synthesis and solution processing of novel non-toxic materials as the absorber layer in solar cells (such as lead-free perovskites) and characterisation of thin-films and solar cells via the use a range of advanced techniques such as time-resolved photoluminescence and impedance spectroscopy as well as structural and morphological techniques to correlate charge transport properties with material structure and solar cell performance and stability. Such understanding will guide better material and device design, in turn pushing eco-friendly solar cells to their performance limits with long-term stability. 

The group’s research focuses on the structure, optical and electronic properties of advanced functional materials particularly emerging semiconductors including metal halide perovskites, nanostructured metal oxides and other organic semiconductors and incorporating them in optoelectronic devices such as solar photovoltaics (PV), photodetectors and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). We actively involve in exploitation of the academic research into actual products and bridging the gap between fundamental science and technology exploitation with active industrial collaborations for technology transfer into multiple emerging markets including photovoltaics, the Internet of things (IoT) and consumer electronics. There are also opportunities to participate in outreach and media activities, and dissemination via conferences and workshops.

The successful candidate must have (or expect to obtain) a 1st or strong 2:1 degree in materials science/engineering, chemistry, physics, electrical/chemical engineering and/or a broad range of relevant backgrounds with minimum four years of study at University level. Candidates with a keen interest in new materials development, energy materials, thin-film deposition and device fabrication technology and materials characterisations are encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will have a strong interest in materials design and experimental work. They should demonstrate strong initiative and a desire to learn and ability to innovate, as well as excellent oral and written communication skills, good team working skills, and a strong critical thinking capability. 

The successful candidate will conduct research in the state-of-the-art new Materials Discovery laboratory (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/institute-for-materials-discovery) with a well-funded consumables budget and access to a wide range of experimental facilities. This highly interdisciplinary research will involve many national and international academic and industrial collaborations. The group provides a dynamic, collaborative, interdisciplinary environment with diverse, talented researchers.

Applications must include a full CV, research proposal (2-page maximum) and covering letter providing information on why you would be suitable for this opportunity and funding. Applications to be sent directly to Dr Mojtaba Abdi-Jalebi ().

The project is expected to begin around October 2022. The vacancy will be available until a suitable candidate is found.


Funding Notes

The studentship would cover tuition fees and annual stipend of at least the Research Council minimum (currently £16,609) for eligible UK applicants. International and EU students may also be accepted on a self-funding basis.

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