Engineering: Fully Funded PhD Scholarship at Swansea University: Interfaces, Stability and Energy Efficiency: Photochemical Characterisation of Perovskites for Printable Photovoltaics

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 29 June 2018

Subject areas: Printable photovoltaics, physical chemistry, photochemistry, perovskites, chemistry, materials engineering

Start date: October 2018

Considering that the solar irradiance on the whole Earth’s surface per year is more than 5000 times the current annual global energy demand, converting sunlight directly into electricity (i.e. photovoltaics, PV) appears to be the most attractive way to supply clean and sustainable energy.

The remarkable evolution of perovskite-based solar cells (PSCs) during the last few years, reaching certified power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) over 20% makes them an extremely strong candidate to develop a low cost, low embodied energy, performance-competitive PV technology. Currently, international progress in PV research and technology is running at an unparalleled rate, with major contributions from the SPECIFIC group at Swansea University. However, further progress in some key areas such as the device robustness and up-scaling are desperately needed to develop a reliable perovskite-based PV technology contributing to the future world’s renewable energy mix.

This project aims to develop the understanding of printable perovskite photovoltaic technologies through applied photochemical characterisation to understand and improve charge transfer, particularly at interfaces, degradation pathways and energy efficiency with aim to hasten the commercialisation. The photoluminescence (PL) of perovskite thin-films is well documented with an intense emission close to the bandgap of the perovskite (~780 nm) and lifetimes in the 10’s-100’s ns depending on material preparation and as short as 170 ps in the presence of emission quenching charge extraction layers. Time-resolved PL (TR-PL) can determine carrier lifetime in perovskites, a key indicator in PV performance. PL lifetimes for perovskite thin films have shown great variation in the literature, and are even known to vary substantially between different grains even in high quality films due to trap states which act as non-radiative recombination sites. The bulk PL of perovskite films is extremely sensitive to the environment (% humidity, temperature, atmosphere) and has been shown to undergo rapid photobrightening and photodarkening. Photobrightening has been associated with the photo-induced passivation of trap states and photo-induced ion-migration. These observations indicate that, despite their remarkable device efficiencies, the perovskite films are still not optimised for stabilised device performance.

The overall aim is to develop an understanding of device photophysics and photochemistry resulting in the development of new materials to improve stability and cost, leading to world leading, high impact articles in the premier international journals in the field. This position will be based on Swansea University’s newly developed Bay Campus. You will work in the research group of Dr Matthew Davies as part of an EPSRC funded research project.


Applicants must hold, or be predicted to obtain, at least a 2.1 degree in chemistry, materials engineering or physics.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.


The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend of ÂŁ14,777. Additional funding is available for other expenses.


Please visit our website for more information.

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