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PhD studentship in Organic Photovoltaics

  • Full or part time
    Dr D G Lidzey
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are delighted to announce a studentship in organic photovoltaic devices which is sponsored by the multi award-winning company Ossila Ltd (www.ossila.com). Ossila is based in Sheffield (UK) and synthesises and retails a range of organic semiconductors for application in thin-film devices including photovoltaics, with their main customers being academic researchers interested in the development of new types of device. The company wishes to increase its portfolio of so-called ’non-fullerene acceptor’ molecules (NFAs). Photovoltaic devices based on polymer:NFA blends have undergone a resurgence in interest over the past 5 years, with devices demonstrated having power conversion efficiencies in excess of 16%. Ossila already retails a number of NFAs, and will shortly start synthesising a range of new materials in their custom synthesis labs. The company would like to sponsor a PhD student to help them validate the new materials that they produce, with the student fabricating photovoltaic devices using the NFA materials supplied by Ossila. The student will evaluate such devices to determine their relative efficiency, stability and performance metrics and will report the results of their experiments to Ossila who will use this information to support product sales.

As part of the project, the student will explore the nanostructure that exists within the polymer:NFA active layer that exists within such solar cell devices. Here, the arrangement of molecules at length scales of a few angstroms to 10s of nm is critical in determining the efficiency by which the solar cell can generate and then facilitate the extraction of charge. The student will explore such structure using a range of techniques such as grazing incidence X-ray scattering, atomic force microscopy and also optical spectroscopy to understand the processes of charge separation and extraction. The student will also conduct a study to determine the relative stability of polymer:NFA solar cell devices when they are operated under a range of operational conditions.

The student will be based in the Electronic and Photonic Molecular Materials Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University at Sheffield, and will have full access to the wide range of device fabrication and testing facilities available (see https://epmm.group.shef.ac.uk). The student will also have regular meetings with the technical and commercialisation teams at Ossila, and will also undertake two secondments at Ossila lasting around 6 months in total. These will be done towards the mid-point of the PhD, with the student assisting the development of web-based materials that will be used in the commercialisation of the materials on which they have worked. These secondments will provide high-level expertise working in a busy company environment, and will be a perfect spring-board for an industrial focussed career.

This fully funded studentship lasts for 3.5 years and would suit a recent graduate with a 2.1 (or better) in physics, physical chemistry, materials science or electronic engineering. This position is only open to UK/EU nationals. Please contact Prof. David Lidzey () for further details.

Funding Notes

This fully funded studentship lasts for 3.5 years and would suit a recent graduate with a 2.1 (or better) in physics, physical chemistry, materials science or electronic engineering. This position is only open to UK/EU nationals.

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