Group V and substitutional doping strategies for next generation CdTe solar cells PhD

Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Entry requirements:
4 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
01 October 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
19 March 2018



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Project detail

Over the last 6 years, CdTe photovoltaics (PV) have enjoyed a steady performance improvement after remaining relatively stagnant for the previous 10 years. This steady efficiency increase has come about from, in the first instance, focusing on increasing photon absorption to improve current collection. Whilst improving the current collection in these devices has yielded higher and higher efficiencies, it is important to address the voltage loss which CdTe devices currently suffer from. Only then will CdTe PV fully realise its potential.

Currently, CdTe suffers from a significant voltage deficit, which prevents devices from exceeding 900mV open circuit voltage. This voltage deficit has been attributed to two phenomena: a) Low doping density of around 1014/cm3 and b) low minority carrier lifetime (typically less than 5ns). Simultaneously improving both will lead to improved open circuit voltages. Strategies to improve doping in CdTe include using group V dopants, such as phosphorus, will be investigated in this project to improve doping levels in CdTe thin films from 1014 to 1016/cm3, which are typical in high efficiency CIGS solar cells. In addition to group V doping, selenium alloying will also be explored in this project.

There is growing evidence that alloying CdTe with Se (to form CdTe­­Se­1-x­) can significantly improve the minority carrier lifetime of the film without resorting to exotic growth methods. In addition to this, alloying CdTe with Se also represents a unique opportunity to grade the band gap of the film, which has been successfully used in CIGS PV to promote a back-surface field, which promotes collection of electrons generated near the back of the device. This is particularly important in materials which have high doping density. The investigation of the CdTe­Se­1-x ­ material as well as group V doping represents a significant opportunity to improve CdTe device efficiency.


Primary supervisor: Dr Jake Bowers

Secondary supervisor: Prof Mike Walls

Find out more

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

To find out more about Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) please visit our website.

To find out more about EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training please click here.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in either Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Engineering or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: photovoltaics, renewable energy.

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.

This studentship is funded for 4 years through the CDT in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics. Year 1 of the project will involve 14 weeks of external training in photovoltaics through the CDT at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool, Southampton, Sheffield, Bath and Loughborough (more information can be found here).

The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,777 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees and to qualify for a full award, all applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria including the minimum UK residency requirement.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Please quote reference number: JBCDT2018

Application details

Reference number:  JBCDT2018
Start date: 01 October 2018
Application deadline: 19 March 2018