Scientific Internship: Stabilizing perovskite solar cells by controlling and using ion migration

Date posted October 4, 2022
Type Scientific Internships

Since their invention, almost all solar cells have been made from silicon as the active semiconductor. Recently a new material, perovskite semiconductors, emerged. Perovskites can be deposited from an ink, making it possible to print highly efficient solar cells on a foil. Perovskite solar cells could be faster to scale up, cheaper, and easier to integrate than silicon solar cells. The main barrier for their large-scale commercialization now is their limited stability.

We have several MSc projects available to work on improving the stability of perovskite solar cells.

The first MSc project concerns the role of strain on the stability. Any perovskite solar cell is strained from the production process, and during its life it will encounter additional strain. While this is unavoidable, in this project you will study if strain can also be used to make the solar cell more stable. Strain can reduce the migration of ions through the material, which should lead to much more stable solar cell operation.

The second MSc project is a computational project to model the flow of ions and electrons through a perovskite solar cell. For perovskite cells this requires new research because both ions and electrons are both mobile electric charges moving through the material, while in traditional silicon solar cells, only the flow of electrons is determining their performance. You will use the simulations to make predictions about experiments, which we can then test in the lab to understand the properties of the mobile ions. When we understand them, then we can find ways to suppress their motion. Perovskites without mobile ions could be as stable as silicon solar cells.

The efficient mixed ionic-electronic conductivity in perovskites also enables novel applications that are not possible with conventional semiconductors. In the third MSc project you will work on artificial synapses based on lead halide perovskite that use the ionic conduction to change the resistance of the device. These devices enable efficient forms of computing inspired by information processing in the brain. The aim of the project is to make the artificial synapses as energy-efficient as biological synapses. To achieve this aim, you will develop a lithography procedure to prepare halide perovskite synapses on the microscale.

About the group

The Hybrid Solar Cell Group focuses on novel paths towards more efficient solar cells using both organic and inorganic materials. We aim at combining the unique properties and the richness of organic materials with the highly efficient, well-characterised inorganic materials.

We provide a highly collaborative and supportive environment, both within the group and with our national and international collaborators. Master students are full members of the research group and take part in all the activities, colloquia, meetings, workshops, and outings.

More information about the group can be found at  https://amolf.nl/research-groups/hybrid-solar-cells

Qualifications

We welcome applications from highly motivated candidates studying towards a masters in physics, chemistry, material science, or engineering and an interest in solar cells. The internship must be a mandatory part of your curriculum. You have a nationality of an EU member state and/or you are a student at a Netherlands University. Please note: As of January 2021 the UK is no longer an EU member state.The project duration needs to be at least 6 months. To apply, please upload your motivation letter and grades (so far) and indicate which project(s) you are interested in.

Terms of employment

At the start of the traineeship your trainee plan will be set out, in consultation with your AMOLF supervisor.

Contact info

Prof. dr. Bruno Ehrler
Group leader Hybrid Solar Cells
E-mail: Ehrler@amolf.nl
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  List of followed courses plus grades;
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).

Applications without this motivation will not be taken into account. However, with this motivation your application will receive our full attention.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment. Hence, we greatly encourage candidates from any personal background and perspective to apply.

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