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  Radiation tolerant silicon solar cells for space applications

   School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE)

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  Prof Gavin Conibeer, Prof Bram Hoex  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) is widely regarded as the one of the leading Photovoltaics research hubs in the world. Building on its world-leading research, the school attracts leading international researchers in the area of photovoltaic, consistently ranked amongst the leaders worldwide in the photovoltaic field through international peer review. It is one of the eight schools within the Faculty of Engineering at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia and grew out of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence in response to the growing photovoltaic and renewable energy industry.

We are looking for excellent students to develop radiation tolerant silicon solar cells for space applications.

This is an ARC Linkage project and you will work closely with the collaborating company Extraterrestrial Power (ETP) and with project partner AMOLF (NL). You will develop new methods and approaches that reduce the losses caused by high energy particle radiation in the space environment. This will include working developing appropriate light trapping and cell thinning mechanisms and characterisation of the solar cell performance under a range of insolation conditions, as well as developing mini-module designs that can handle the harsh space environment. There is a strong link to development of commercial products with this project and you will collaborate with ETP towards making the processes commercially viable.


SPREEs Research Activities

UNSW has been responsible for developing the most successfully commercialised new photovoltaic technology internationally. Most of the solar cell technology that dominates the market (in particular the ‘PERC’ design) was invented and developed here. Currently there are a wide range of activities in the school spanning novel processing techniques for improved performance of commercial silicon cells, advanced characterisation techniques, integrating silicon with novel materials for the development of multi-junction solar cells, as well as advanced concepts for totally new approaches to photovoltaic device designs. There is a growing capability for testing of space based solar cells, with AM0 solar simulator and space array testing facilities being established.


Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor degree in Photovoltaic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics or Materials Science or similar. Overall GPA must be at least 80%.

Prior research experience is considered valuable for competitive scholarships for international students.

The supervision team would consist of Prof Bram Hoex, A/Prof Jay Katupitiya and Prof Gavin Conibeer.

For more details please contact Prof Gavin Conibeer ([Email Address Removed]).

Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Suitable students will be awarded a Tuition Fees Scholarship for 3.5 years (PhD duration in Australia is typically 3-3.5 years). The scholarship covers university fees and would come with a stipend provided by the project to cover living costs (currently ~ AUD 29,000 per year). There is also a conference attendance allowance to support attending at least one scientific international conference during the PhD. Additional financial support may be available from success in competitive external funding rounds for exceptional candidates.
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