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Developing Perovskite Solar Cells for Applications in Water Splitting and C-H Oxidation

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof Petra Cameron  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2022 under the supervision of Prof Petra Cameron in the Department of Chemistry.

Eligible applicants will be considered for a fully-funded studentship – for more information, see the Funding Notes section below.

Overview of the Project:

Perovskite solar cells have developed at an amazing speed over the last 10 years, reaching a record certified efficiency of 25.7%. In our own lab we prepare CsPbBr3 perovskite solar cells with cheap printable carbon contacts. CsPbBr3 is yellow and has a wide band gap of 2.3 eV which means that we can produce cells with open circuit voltages of up to 1.45 V. This high open circuit voltage allows us to use perovskite solar cells for the light driven oxidation of water and organic pollutants. Sunlight driven splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen is a promising approach for the generation of sustainable hydrogen both as a fuel and as a feedstock for the chemical industry.

Our method is to protect the water-soluble perovskite solar cell with a thick layer of carbon, we then submerge the cell in water and use sunlight to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. By attaching an Ir based water oxidation catalyst to the carbon surface we can improve the kinetics of water oxidation. In our latest results we have managed to get high oxidation currents for a record 140 hours.

This project will focus on (1) making and optimizing perovskite solar cells with high open-circuit voltages; (2) encapsulating and surface functionalising the cells for use underwater; (3) pushing the limits of water oxidation to understand and prevent cell failure and (4) investigating the feasibility of using perovskite solar cells for the direct oxidation and removal of organic pollutants such as bisphenol A. 

Project keywords: Perovskite Solar Cells, photovoltaics, water splitting, water oxidation, C-H oxidation, catalysis, photocatalysis. 

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in Chemistry or a closely related discipline. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Petra Cameron (email: [Email Address Removed]).

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be considered for a 3.5-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC DTP) studentship. Funding covers tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum). EPSRC DTP studentships are open to both Home and International students; however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International candidates will be limited to 30% of the total.


Graphite-protected CsPbBr3 perovskite photoanodes functionalised with water oxidation catalyst for oxygen evolution in water, Nature communications, 2019, 10 (1), 1-10
Screen printed carbon CsPbBr3 solar cells with high open-circuit photovoltage, Journal of Materials Chemistry A 6 (38), 18677-18686
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