New materials for solar cells

Project Description

We have a vacancy for a PhD student to work on the synthesis and characterisation of new materials for solar cells.

Hybrid lead halide perovskites are attracting considerable interest due to their potential as photovoltaic materials for solar cells with very high efficiencies. However, these materials contain toxic lead and degrade rapidly, and therefore there is a need to discover alternative materials that offer the high conversion efficiency of the hybrid lead perovskites, together with long-term stability and low toxicity. This project will investigate the synthesis and the characterisation of the optical properties of hybrid bismuth halides, as possible alternative materials to the lead halide perovskites currently under investigation for solar cell applications.

The project will involve solvothermal and mechanochemical synthesis and structural and physical property characterisation, including the use of techniques such as powder X-ray diffraction, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis, FT-IR, and UV-vis diffuse reflectance. Our research group is a major user of central facilities (ISIS, Diamond) at the nearby Harwell campus, and there will be opportunities to characterise these materials by neutron diffraction or inelastic neutron scattering.

Funding Information

This is a self funded project, there is no funding attached.

Eligibility Requirements

Self funded students only.

Application Process

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Paz Vaqueiro ([email protected]).


Y. Cai, A. M. Chippindale, R. J. Curry and P. Vaqueiro, “Multiple roles of 1,4-diazabicyclo[2.2.2]octane in the solvothermal synthesis of iodobismuthates”, Inorg. Chem, in press (doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c00318). S. Z. M. Murtaza and P. Vaqueiro,”Rapid synthesis of chalcohalides by ball milling: preparation and characterisation of BiSI and BiSeI”, J. Solid State Chem., 291, 121625 (2020).

To apply for this PhD, please email

Before sending your email, please double check you have followed all guidelines in this listing and have included a reference number if asked to do so.