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All prospective students must register their interest before being invited to apply for a CDT-PV project.

Spray-coating perovskite PV devices over curved substrates

Conventional PV cells based on the ubiquitous semiconductor crystalline-silicon most often come in the form of flat, rigid and relatively heavy panels. Despite the fact that PV devices can be manufactured on flexible substrates, methods to integrate PV devices over the surface of non-planar (3-dimensional) objects are not well developed. Whilst the collection of sunlight for power generation in solar-farms or roof-mounted systems is well served by conventional two-dimensional devices, there is a range of applications in which it is desirable to cover the surface of 3D object with PV devices. These include building cladding, solar-powered vehicles and consumer products embedded with software, sensors and internet connectivity. The central objective of this experimental research project is to develop a deposition process that will allow efficient PV devices to be integrated in an unobtrusive fashion over the surface of 3D objects. A key technique used in this project will be ultra-sonic spray-coating. We have already shown that spray coating can be used to fabricate perovskite solar cells over planar (2D) surfaces (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08642-2). Now the challenge is to adapt our processes to spray-coat perovskite PV over curved (3D) surfaces. To do this, the student will develop a toolbox of materials and spray-coating techniques that can be applied to coat devices over curved surfaces formed from materials such as perspex and polystyrene. The key science challenge to be addressed is to explore the compatibility between different materials and process routes, and to cope with surfaces having some degree of roughness. This project will involve careful metrology of surface properties and the development of techniques to create ultra-smooth and homogeneous perovskite films. Once a stable deposition process has been established, the student will fabricate solar cells over curved substrates and characterize device performance and efficiency. This project will suit a student having a background in physics, physical-chemistry or materials-science having excellent experimental skills and an interest in the development of new technologies. For further information on the project and how to apply, please email Prof David Lidzey, d.g.lidzey@sheffield.ac.uk

For more information on what to expect as a CDT-PV student then please see our CDT-PV Handbook.