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Back contact engineering for high performance kesterite solar cells (Ref: RENU20/EE/MPEE/QU)

  • Full or part time

    Dr V Barrioz
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU)is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2020.

The growth in distribution applications defines a new era for photovoltaics. Envisioned to be deployed widely in, for example, smart cities and Internet of Things, “self-powered” distributed applications will be required to harvest energy from surrounding energy sources. Thin film photovoltaics devices fabricated from the kesterite absorber Cu2ZnSn(SxSe1−x)4 (CZTSSe) combine high efficiency, low-cost and non-toxic materials, providing an attractive energy harvesting solution for the vast number of distributed applications in healthcare, transportation, construction, aerospace and consumer devices. Kesterite solar cells have the added benefit of solution-based fabrication via nanoparticle inks (Y. Qu, et al,. Prog. Photovolt. 2016) which is compatible with high volume and high value manufacturing.
The ability to manufacture high efficiency CZTSSe thin film solar cells depends on achieving sufficiently high open circuit voltage. In this project, we aim to fabricate high performance CZTSSe solar cells by engineering the interface at the back contact. In addition to the ReNU specialist training in business, innovation and internationalisation, you will also be trained to gain multidisciplinary research skills in nanomaterial fabrication, characterisation and semiconductor engineering for PV applications. Beyond the strong team in ReNU, you will be benefited from the collaboration with researchers at the Middle East Technical University, Turkey to develop back contact assessing techniques and deploy new back contact electrodes. You will also have the opportunity to disseminate your research outcomes in academic journals and at prestigious international conferences.

Prospective students graduated or going to graduate from Chemistry, Physics, Materials or Applied Science, Electrical and Electronic or related disciplines are invited to apply.

This project is supervised by Dr Yongtao Qu. For an informal discussion about your interests in this project, please contact .

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 1st Class (Hons) or 2:1; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above) in an appropriate subject area.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

The application closing date is January 31st and interviews will take place in February.

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RENU20/.....) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full Home fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rates (for 2019/20, this was £15,009 pa). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

Please note that the scholarship award is set at the Home/EU level of fees. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. Note that up to 5 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Northumbria University.

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