High efficient perovskite solar cells through colloidal chemistry approach, Renewable Energy – MPhil/PhD (Funded) Ref: 3184

About the award


Dr Senthil Sundaram University of Exeter
Dr Tapas Mallick, University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in Renewable Energy in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

The sudden rise in the conversion efficiency from 3% to 22% of the Perovskite solar cells makes them attractive as a cheaper alternative for many thin film technologies. The industrial scale perovskite solar cells production demanded newer robust technologies. The proposed project will focus on the development of perovskite inks for thin film perovskite solar cells (PSC) through inkjet printing technique and analyze the scale up challenges in perovskite solar cells.  Perovskite ink preparation and its feasibility to prepare thin films will be one of the key objectives for this proposal. Ultimately, inkjet printed perovskite thin films will be tested for solar cell applications on rigid and flexible solar cell fabrication.    Inkjet printing technique will have added benefit of reducing the cost of the perovskite solar cells without compromising its high efficiency values. The following key objectives will be achieved during the project period:

(i) Development and optimization of perovskite inks using colloidal chemistry approach
(ii) Achieve >15% conversion efficiency in inkjet printed perovskite based solar cells

This involves the following requirements and relevant experience in synthesis and materials characterisation:

(i) Development of new materials to replace Pb in conventional perovskite materials: For synthesis of the perovskite cells CH3NH3PbI, the following materials are required such as CH3NH3I and PbCl2. New and cheaper materials with environmental friendly materials will be synthesized with focus on Zn, Sn, Cu and Ir materials to replace Pb.
(ii) Development of inks for ink: cost effective method of thin film preparation will rely on formulation of inks for ink-jet printing techniques with CH3NH3PbI materials. This objective also focuses on making inks based on perovskite materials, including its materials characterizations.
(iii) Low cost synthesis of carbon HTM materials: Using carbon based hole transport materials to replace Spiro-OMeTAD. The stability of devices is expected to be increase with the use of carbon-based materials.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU/International tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU/Interantaional tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 
The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2018 and is subject to confirmation of funding.

Entry requirements

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, or 1st class Post Graduate degree in Physics, Chemistry, Material Science or Engineering. Experience in material characterisation is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents:

• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English

The closing date for applications is midnight on 16 July 2018.  Interviews will be held on the University of Penryn Campus the week commencing 30 July 2018.
If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 722730/5150.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.


Application deadline:16th July 2018
Number of awards:1
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Postgraduate Research Office stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk