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Toward next generation of solar cells: the correlation between efficiency and interface atomic structures in perovskite solar cells

Project Description

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have the potential to revolutionise the field of solar cells. Their efficiency in the last decades has increased by an order of magnitude, which is unprecedented in this field. In addition, they are cheap to be made and easy to manufacture. Hence the tremendous interest in perovskite solar cells as the next generation of efficient and cost effective solar cells. Further efficiency enhancement, improving their stability as well as making them environmentally friendly requires: i) the fundamental understanding of the interfaces between the TiO2 and the perovskite layer and ii) the developing of a Pb-free perovskite absorber layer. This project aims to address these two outstanding challenges by atomic level characterisation and quantum mechanical modelling using density functional theory (DFT).

Very recently, GreatCell Solar has shown that halide treatments of TiO2 nanopowders, used as electrode material in perovskite cells, further boost the perovskite solar cells efficiency. However, this important empirical finding is limited due to the lack of the understanding of the mechanism of improved efficiency. The first goal of the project is to understand how the structure and chemistry of the TiO2 electrode and its interface with the perovskite layer affects the efficiency of the solar cells. This will be done by employing state of the art atomic resolution imaging and spectroscopy coupled with quantum mechanical calculations. Achieving of this goal will enable developing a new doping strategy for more efficient cells. The second goal of the project is to develop a new absorber perovskite layer that is Pb-free, which will lead to environmentally friendly perovskite solar cells. This project will be conducted jointly with GreatCell Solar, the UK leader in perovskite solar cells research.

Funding Notes

The majority of decisions on funding for PhD positions will be made in March following interviews in February. Apply by 31 January 2019 to be considered for funding.

Start date for the project is October 2019.

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