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Enabling the rational design of Tandem OPVs with efficiencies >20%

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 08, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Organic Photovoltaic diodes (OPVs) have been the subject of intense research for more than 20 years due to the possibility of cheap, scalable manufacture of a renewable energy source which is well-suited to small-scale generation. For much of that time, tweaks in molecular structure and processing yielded devices with non-viable efficiencies of 10% or less. However, recent step-changes in OPV efficiency to above 17% have been demonstrated for Tandem architectures, suggesting that Tandem devices may be the key to unlocking the potential of organic semiconductors for energy generation.

A roadblock in the development of Tandem OPVs is the lack of accurate device simulations to i) enable rational design of the complex multi-layer structure and ii) understand the key issues of Tandem OPVs separate to single junction OPVs. This project will involve the student developing and validating new multi-scale models to link physical processes to performance of Tandem OPVs. These models will be used to understand the key trade-offs inherent in Tandem OPV design and suggest paths forward to >20% Tandem OPV efficiency. This project would especially suit students with an interest in coding and the physics of how semiconductor devices operate. Help would be provided at all stages from staff with experience of modelling over multiple lengthscales.

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 2019.

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/Groves
• 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/Groves
Note that it is not necessary to include a research proposal as part of your application.

The application closing date is Friday 8th March and it is planned that interviews will take place on the week of the 18th March.

Applicants are normally expected to have one of:
• A minimum of an upper second class honours degree from a 4-year integrated Masters undergraduate course in Physics, Electronic Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science or a related subject.
• A 3-year undergraduate Bachelors in one of the above disciplines plus a Masters degree and/or one year experience in a relevant industry.
We particularly encourage UK applications from those traditionally under-represented in STEM subjects, such as women and mature students.

Funding Notes

The studentship and covers tuition fees and an annual living allowance of £15,009 (at the 2019/20 Home/EU rate) and significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges). Please note that EU students must meet UKRI eligibility criteria (View Website) and that studentships will not cover tuition fees for overseas fees status students. Note that up to 4 offers of a PhD place will be made for the 6 ReNU CDT projects advertised by Durham University.

How good is research at Durham University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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