Thermoelectric transport theory in complex nanostructures for energy harvesting

   School of Engineering

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  Prof N Neophytou  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Start date: 3rd October 2023

Funding for: UK Students for 3.5 years

Supervisors: Professor Neophytos Neophytou

Project Description:The need for energy sustainability and the environmental consequences of fossil fuels make technologies for clean energy imperative. Thermoelectric (TE) materials can harvest enormous amounts of waste heat and convert it into useful electrical power. As 60% of all energy we use is lost into heat during conversion processes, the realization of efficient and scalable TEs can transform the energy-use/savings landscape. However, TEs traditionally suffer from low efficiencies.

Over the last few years, advancements in synthesis and growth have realized many materials with complex electronic structures and a high degree of nanostructuring. Nanostructuring reduced the thermal conductivity of materials significantly, which lead to dramatic improvements. However, recent theoretical works have demonstrated that specifically designed nanostructures can offer additional tremendous improvements in the so-called power factor, the second quantity which controls performance. Such a realization of combining reduced thermal conductivities and exceptional power factors will transform the field of TEs and energy harvesting materials, enabling widespread application.

The project is a part of a larger ERC grant (undertaken by UKRI), which uses advanced theory and large-scale simulations to design efficient TE materials. It is linked to ongoing activity in experimental labs in Europe (Italy and Spain), which synthesize such materials. The project develops multi-scale, multi-physics electronic transport methods (semiclassical and fully quantum), as well as inverse design techniques. It will work hand-to-hand with experimentalists from partner labs to realize high-performance materials. The expected candidate must be interested in theoretical methods and code development and have an undergraduate degree in physics or materials science/engineering. An MSc in these fields will be a plus. The post is open for UK applicants. For more information, contact [Email Address Removed].


Candidates should be eligible for home fees (typically a UK national), and the ideal applicant for the post would have an undergraduate or preferably an MSc degree in Physics, Materials, or Electronics Engineering, and experience or interest in programming.

How to apply:

Candidates should submit a formal application, details of how to do so can be found here 

  • In the application form funding section, enter: Source: NNT

If you have any questions or would like more information about this project, please contact Professor Neophytos Neophytou 

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The award will cover the full tuition fees at the UK student rate plus a stipend of £18,200 per annum for 3.5 years of full-time study.

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