4 New PhD Topics - Looking for International and Domestic Research Students - PhD - at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

4 New PhD Topics
Looking for International and Domestic Research Students - PhD - at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Of interest 
Scholarships at UNSW 
Graduate Research at UNSW

 


 

PhD opportunities at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

The School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) is school is widely regarded as the one of the leading Photovoltaics research hubs in the world. Building on its world-leading research, the school attracts leading international researchers in the area of photovoltaic, consistently ranked amongst the leaders worldwide in the photovoltaic field through international peer review. It is one of the nine schools within the Faculty of Engineering at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia and grew out of the Australian Research Council Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence in response to the growing photovoltaic and renewable energy industry.

For more details regarding any of these projects please contact A/Prof Stephen Bremner (stephen.bremner@unsw.edu.au).

Important Information About Scholarships

Suitable students will be awarded a full scholarship for 3.5 years (PhD duration in Australia is 3-3.5 years). The scholarship fully covers university fees and provides a stipend to cover living costs (currently ~ AUD 27,000 per year).

Applications for the next round of UNSW scholarships with studies commencing in Term 1, 2020 need to be submitted by 20 September 2019. (https://research.unsw.edu.au/key-dates)

There is also a conference attendance allowance of  $3,000 per conference (to support attending a scientific international conference; at least two conferences during the PhD). Additional financial support may be available from success in competitive external funding rounds, this can be discussed.

 

SPREEs Research Activities

UNSW held the world record for silicon solar cell efficiencies for over twenty years and has been responsible for developing the most successfully commercialised new photovoltaic technology internationally throughout the same period. Most of the solar cell technology that is predicted to dominate the market in the next decade (in particular the ‘PERC’ design) was invented and developed in our school. Currently there are a wide range of activities in the school spanning novel processing techniques for improved performance of commercial silicon cells, advanced characterisation techniques, integrating silicon with novel materials for the development of multi-junction solar cells, as well as advanced concepts for totally new approaches to photovoltaic device designs. As part of these efforts an increasing research effort in III-V materials, including their integration with silicon, is under way with excellent facilities on campus, through both SPREE and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).

 

Requirements:

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering, Physics or Materials Science or similar. Overall GPA must be at least 80%.

Masters Degree: Priority will be given for those who graduated from a Masters by research program, with a strong semiconductor physics emphasis, can be theoretical or experimental focussed.

 

Projects Available Now:

1.   Next Generation Silicon sub-cells for high efficiency III-V/Si multi-junction solar cells

The aim of this project is to realise the next generation III-V/Si tandem solar cells by developing novel silicon sub-cell design at UNSW compatible with Ohio State University's unique III-V top cell design using Si-lattice compatible buffer layers. Building on an existing collaboration between these two outstanding groups, high efficiency devices will be fabricated, characterized, and optimized, with the delivery of a two terminal monolithic III-V/Si tandem device with efficiency greater than 25% a key goal of this work. The approach is manifold, beginning with a conventional p type wafer polarity design, along with rear junction designs optimized for thin silicon. The use of thin silicon will enable novel device designs exploiting carrier selective contacts and other novel rear contacting techniques, as well as room temperature rear contacting methods, in order to simplify the processing of high performance final devices.

The main project aims are to:

  • Optimise conventional silicon sub-cell designs for III-V on Si multi-junction devices
  • Investigate the use of novel materials such as transition metal oxides for carrier selective contact schemes on the rear surface of silicon sub-cells
  • Designing thin silicon sub-cells in close consultation with our collaborators at OSU
  • Develop optical management schemes for III-V on Si multi-junction devices

The supervision team would consist of A/Prof Stephen Bremner and A/Prof Anita Ho-Baillie

 

2.   Integration of III-V compound semiconductors with silicon substrates

The aim of this project is to realise integration methods for growing III-V materials, such as GaAs, InGaAs, GaSb and more, onto silicon substrates. This is an important step in realising novel device architectures where a local light or energy generation source is required. The Gen930 MBE system in the UNSW ANFF node has the capability of growing III-V material on silicon substrates (ANFF https://www.anff-nsw.org/), with initial results for GaAs on Si proving the viability of the approaches being planned. The project would consist of optimising several different approaches to the material integration, including methods to reduce threading dislocation density in the grown layers (dislocations are like fine cracks in the semiconductor that degrade optoelectronic performance). Work would entail operation and maintenance of the MBE, after a suitable training period, development and execution of growth recipes, materials characterisation of the grown layers by methods such as X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and any others that are relevant.

The main project aims are to:

  • Optimise III-V integration on Si by MBE via different methods
  • Develop models of the initial growth nucleation and lattice relaxation of the III-V material to develop new and improved methods for integration and for dislocation density reduction
  • Fabricate and measure the characteristics of optoelectronic devices fabricated using the grown III-V layers, such as solar cells, photodetectors, etc.

The supervision team would consist of A/Prof Stephen Bremner

 

3.   Investigation of novel Arsenide Bismide materials for optoelectronic applications

The aim of this project is to study in detail the growth and materials properties of novel arsenide bismide materials. The growth technique to be used is molecular beam epitaxy, using the only growth system in Australia capable of dilute bismide growth. Coupled with these studies, detailed characterisation of the incorporation of bismuth, as well material quality assessments for things like dislocation density (how many cracks there are in the crystal lattice due to lattice constant mismatch). Growth will be done using the Gen930 molecular beam epitaxy system that is part of the Australian Nanofabrication Facility (ANFF https://www.anff-nsw.org/). All of these efforts will be to explore the potential use of arsenide bismides for a wide range of optoelectronic applications including teraherz emission and multi-junction solar cells.

The main project aims are to:

  • Study in detail the impact of growth conditions on the incorporation of Bismuth into arsenide compounds, as well as the impacts on material quality.
  • Detailed characterisation of Arsenide Bismide compounds by photoluminescence, deep level transient spectroscopy and more.
  • Investigating the applicability of Gallium Arsenide Bismide for inclusion in mutli-junciton solar cells as a 1.0 eV band gap device.

The supervision team would consist of A/Prof Stephen Bremner, A/Prof Ned Ekins-Daukes, and Dr Peter Reece

 

4.   Low Band Gap Semiconductor Growth

The aim of this project is to optimise methods for growing low band gap III-V materials, such as  InAs, GaSb, InSb and combinations of these materials to realise structures for novel optoelectronic devices. The Gen930 MBE system at the UNSW ANFF node (ANFF https://www.anff-nsw.org/) has the capability of growing low band gap III-V materials, with sources for In, Ga, Sb, Bi, and As. The system features  new in-situ monitoring that will allow for rapid process optimisation of these materials. The project entails understanding and optimising the epitaxial growth procedures for low band gap materials and characterising the interfaces between the different materials. The candidate would both operate and help maintain the MBE system, after a suitable training period, and both develop and execute the epitaxial growth of electronic devices.  The resulting epitaxial layers will undergo structural characterisation using methods such as X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and the performance of processed optoelectronic devices evaluated.

The main project aims are to:

  • Develop the deposition of low band gap III-V heterostructure semiconductors by MBE
  • Study properties of interfaces between the low band gap semiconductor materials
  • Fabricate low band gap optoelectronic devices and evaluate their performance.

The supervision team would consist of A/Prof Stephen Bremner, A/Prof Ned Ekins-Daukes

 


 

 

All contacts:

For more details regarding any of these projects please contact A/Prof Stephen Bremner (stephen.bremner@unsw.edu.au).

 

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