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The integration of photovoltaic devices with carbon-fibre composites

  • Full or part time
    Dr D G Lidzey
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

We seek a PhD student who will be an integral part of a team working on the development of perovskite solar-cell devices by spray-coating. Our research vision is to develop solar cells that are inherently non-planar and are continuously coated over 3-dimensional surfaces. As an exemplar, we will use the material carbon-fibre composite as a device substrate, as it can be easily formed into non-planar structures and is widely used for its very high strength-to-weight ratio. The systems we will develop will find potential applications as decentralized, mobile power sources for use in low-energy vehicles and aerospace-technology. Key to this integration is the development of spray-based techniques that permit PV to be coated over 3D surfaces in a seamless and unobtrusive fashion.

The student will be charged with the development of techniques that will allow non-planar (curved) surfaces to be coated with various semiconductor materials by spray-coating. This will require a careful control of spray-based deposition techniques and control over drying rates. The student will help develop a sample rotation system that will be used to rotate a 3D substrate its surface is spray-coated. She / he will explore techniques to control film drying-rates, and will also control the properties of the material solutions (inks) to be spray-cast using various viscosity modifiers. The student will then characterise the spray-cast films using a variety of microscopy and analytical techniques. Finally, the student will help fabricate and test the performance of the 3D photovoltaic devices created.

This project will suit a student having a background in physics, physical-chemistry or materials-science having good experimental skills and an interest in solar-energy and new technology. You will be part of the vibrant Electronic and Photonic Molecular Materials Group which is based in the department of Physics and Astronomy.

Science Graduate School:
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School – a community of postgraduate researchers working across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

If you submit your application after the 31 March 2019, you will be considered for any remaining funding, but please note all of our funding may be allocated in the first round.

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