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Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Systems

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Peter Smowton
    Prof Gao Min
  • 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 Internet of Things (IoT) is an exciting global megatrend and UK government priority area, which if to be realised, requires the development of a number of key enabling technologies with potentially huge scientific and market value. As part of the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (CS Hub) we are working with academic and industrial partners to enable development of interconnected systems for the IoT. A key part of the vision of the IoT is the large number of autonomous sensors relaying information back through the web. To be truly autonomous a sensor must be able to derive energy from the environment to perform the sensing action and to relay the information back to the connected system.
This project will focus on the mechanisms by which communications based on light emission by LEDs or lasers can be powered by energy harvested from the environment. The student will develop understanding of compound semiconductor heterostructure devices and the absorption and emission of radiation, the change and exchange of energy and entropy in such a system, design a laser or LED powered by the heat and light available in the environment, fabricating such a device and demonstrating communication of information at some level.
The project will follow a flexible timeline with completion feasible within 3.5 years including 0.5 year contingency. The first year will include a literature study and the development of suitable experimental and computational skills. The remainder of the PhD will include device development, device demonstrations and assessment and completion of the thesis. The student will integrate fully with the CS Hub research team comprising post-doctoral research associates, technicians and senior staff at Cardiff University, and make use of Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) facilities.
Candidates should have a strong background and interest in Optics/Photonics, Thermal Physics and Semiconductor Physics

Funding Notes

Full UK/EU tuition fees plus stipend matching UKRI Minimum.

Full awards are open to UK Nationals and EU students who meet UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the course including for full-time education.

A small number of awards may also be made available to EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement, provided they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least three years before the start of their proposed programme of study


1. S. Chen, W. Li, J. Wu, Q. Jiang, M. Tang, S. Shutts, S.N. Elliott, A. Sobiesierski, A. Seeds, I. Ross, P.M. Smowton, H. Liu. “Electrically pumped continuous-wave III–V quantum dot lasers on silicon.” Nature Photonics 10, pp. 307-311. (2016) (10.1038/nphoton.2016.21). Impact Factor 38.
2. H. Baig, Siviter J, Li W, Paul MC, Montecucco A, Rolley M, Sweet TKN, Gao M, Mullen PA, Fernandez EF, Han G, Gregory DH, Knox AR, Mallick T. “Conceptual design and performance evaluation of a hybrid concentrating photovoltaic system in preparation for energy.” Energy 147, pp. 547-560 (2018) (10.1016/ Impact Factor 5.582.

How good is research at Cardiff University in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 19.50

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

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