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Earth abundant transparent conductors for photovoltaics (Ref: ReNU/Zeze)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Zeze
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • 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.

Solar energy conversion has been a critical focal point for scientific and engineering research over the last few decades. While the main emphasis is usually set on optimising the charge separation at the semiconducting junction, other factors, such as transparent electrodes materials and their impact on the environment are becoming increasingly important. This project is aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of solar cell fabrication, by exploring the new possibilities offered by earth abundant metal oxides for the use in photovoltaic energy generation.

The successful candidate’s work will combine:

1. Experimental research into the dynamic transport properties of earth abundant metal oxides.

2. Numerical modelling of current propagation in disordered conductors.

3. Sample preparation in a cleanroom environment.

The experimental work in this project will be based on a combination of two unique surface analysis instruments, which are available at Durham University: a Microwave Impedance Microscope and an Internal Photoemission Microscope. The combination of theoretical and experimental work would appeal to candidates who are interested both in practical measurement techniques and in electronic simulations.

This project is supervised by Prof Dagou Zeze. For informal queries, please contact Prof Zeze at [Email Address Removed].

For this project you must apply through the Durham University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this please navigate to and select ‘Apply now’ followed by ‘Apply for postgraduate study.’

When completing your application, please ensure that you note that you are applying for the appropriate ReNU project by completing the application fields as follows:

Course details

• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you been in contact with a potential supervisor?’

• Complete the ‘intended supervisor’s name’ with ReNU/Zeze

• Complete Engineering as the Department


• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you applied, or are you going to apply for a scholarship?

• Select ‘other’ from the drop-down list under, ‘Please indicate which scholarship you have applied for’

• Complete ‘Please enter the name of the Scholarship you have applied for or will be applying for’ with ReNU/Zeze

The application closing date is 11 May 2020. Please note that interviews, should they be arranged, will be online rather than in person due to COVID-19.

The applicant is expected to have a 1st or 2:1 class honours degree, or postgraduate Masters (preferably at Merit level) in Physics, Electronic Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science or a related subject as well as an appropriate IELTS score if required. Applicants should not be engaged with Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

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 2 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Durham University.

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