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PhD Studentship in Intermolecular charge transport: A novel design paradigm

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

Project Description

Number of awards:


Start date and duration:

September 2019 for 4 years.


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 described below 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.

Hybrid perovskite solar cells combine earth-abundant elements that can be printed with the highest power conversion efficiency of any polycrystalline photovoltaic technology at 23.3%. However, further progress is hindered by the organic hole transporter used in state-of-the-art solar cells. Its use leads to unbalanced charge extraction and therefore to charge build-up and recombination at the device interfaces, limiting the overall device performance.

The aim of this PhD is therefore to combine theoretical and experimental work to reveal the factors controlling the performance of recently developed hole transporter with disrupted conjugation in the backbone of the molecule which leads to improved performance and better charge transport. This knowledge will subsequently be exploited to design improved hole-transporter materials based upon our scientific understanding rather than the commonly employed trial-and-error approach.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (

Name of supervisor(s):

Dr Thomas Penfold, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (

Dr Pablo Docampo, School of Engineering (

Eligibility Criteria:

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in chemistry, physics, materials science or a related subject.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria (, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply:

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account ( To do this please select ‘How to Apply’ and choose the ‘Apply now’ button

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:
•click on programme of study
•insert 8100F in the programme code section and click search
•select Programme name ‘PhD in Chemistry (full time) – Chemistry’
•insert renu194 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code renu194 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.
•Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further details, please contact:

Dr Thomas Penfold
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7686

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full UK/EU fees (eligibility criteria applies to EU students) and an annual living allowance of £14,777 (at the 2018/19 UKRI rate).

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