The microstructure and electrical properties of grain boundaries in polycrystalline thin film photovoltaic devices PhD

Entry requirements:
4 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
1 October 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
31 March 2018



in the UK for Engineering - Materials and Minerals

Guardian University Guide 2018


in the UK for Materials Technology

The Complete University Guide 2018

Over £3m

in annual research funding


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

A full-time EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDTPV) PhD studentship in New and Sustainable photovoltaics, to commence on 1st Oct 2018. CDT-PV is a multicentre team composed of seven universities - Liverpool, Bath, Sheffield, Loughborough, Southampton, Oxford and Cambridge - that will train highly-skilled students capable of transforming state-of-the-art research and development across the sustainable energy and PV sectors. This will in turn aid the country to achieve its renewable energy obligations, and will generate jobs in the technology sectors. For more information please visit the Centre for Doctoral Training website.

The studentship starts with a 1-year expert training program of 7 x 2-week intensive courses on photovoltaic science and technologies based at seven universities. The following 3 years will be based at Loughborough University where the PhD research program will be carried out.

The project aims to improve the electrical performance of thin film photovoltaic devices by understanding the correlation of the process-microstructure-property of the photovoltaic films. Defects and grain boundaries (GBs) are detrimental to the electrical performance of thin film photovoltaic devices. To optimize the cell efficiency via GB engineering and understand the underlying mechanisms, we will use the world classed characterization facilities in Loughborough Materials Characterization Centre (LMCC), e.g. in-situ TEM, FIB-assisted EBSD, EBIC, etc. In conjunction with the Centre for Renewable Energy System Technology (CREST) in Loughborough University, the optimized fabrication techniques and resulting electrical performance can be evaluated systematically.


Primary supervisor:  Dr Yau Yau Tse

Secondary supervisor: Prof Mike Walls and Dr Jake Bowers

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Yau Yau Tse or register your interest and ask us a question.

More information about the PhD program of CDT- PV can be found here.

Visit the LMCC website or CREST website to find out more.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, material science or a related subject.  A Masters level will be an advantage. A background in photovoltaics is not essential as training will be provided through the CDT. The successful candidates should be highly motivated, able to work within a team and have good communication skills.

Applicants must meet the minimum English Language requirements, details available on the website.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Due to funding restrictions, this is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. The studentship will cover fees and a tax-free stipend of £14,553 per annum for a max of 4 years plus  support for research training and research.

How to apply

All applications should be made online.  Under programme name, select Materials Department

Please quote reference number: MP-YYT-1803

Application details

Reference number: MP-YYT-1803
Start date: 01 October 2018
Application deadline: 31 March 2018
Interview date: 01 April - 15 May 2018