Fully Funded PhD in polaron engineering for solar devices

Location: Sweden
Application Deadline: 31 March 2024
Published: 3 weeks ago

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Join our team at the forefront of research in condensed matter and materials theory, where you will be integral in advancing the field of solar energy. As a PhD student in our dynamic division, you will have the unique opportunity to engage in the development and understanding of innovative materials, specifically focusing on electronic structure modeling of polarons in solar devices.

Project description

We are looking for a PhD student to work on electronic structure modeling of polarons in materials for solar devices. The undeniable heart of a solar device is a specifically selected and engineered semiconductor. It serves as a photoabsorber, and converts solar photons to free electrons. Whenever we find a new material for this purpose, which improves on stability, sustainability, or efficiency, it often heralds a technological shift.

In the field of solar cells the last such transition was brought on by halide perovskites, which are heavily researched for a number of applications. In the field of photoelectrochemical solar-to-fuel conversion, for instance through water splitting, complex metal oxides are the most promising. But to harness the full potential of emerging materials, we need to comprehend how they function, exactly.

Among the many quantum mechanical processes that occur between capturing solar photons and electricity in the grid, charge-lattice interactions emerge as possibly the most enigmatic, yet exceptionally influential. In polarizable solids, excess charges brought upon by photon absorption can localize in potential wells, self-generated by displacing the surrounding ions, creating quasi-particles referred to as polarons. The present project will focus on comprehensive modeling of the effect of polarons in materials for solar application. Advanced electronic structure methods like hybrid functionals and ab-initio molecular dynamics simulations will be used.

Information about the division and the department

The division of Condensed Matter and Materials Theory constructs models for and develops an understanding of a large variety of materials and other condensed matter systems, sometimes leading to new materials, novel technological devices, or structured media with properties beyond those occurring naturally. To this end, we combine theoretical, methodological and computational techniques, often in close collaboration with local and international experimental groups. The work in the division is characterized by a strong interplay between fundamental and applied research and this allows us to address pressing societal challenges, e.g., related to sustainable energy or information technology.

We take active part in Chalmers’ undergraduate and postgraduate educational programmes. Our students gain experience in advanced theory and model-building, developing strong analytical, computational, and problem-solving skills along the way. They are exposed to collaborative efforts, often within our international research networks. Our vision is to foster the individual growth of our students, so they may in the future be insightful and effectively contribute to society, academia, and industry.

Major responsibilities

During the PhD project you will use state-of-the-art computational techniques based on density functional theory and artificial neural networks to examine how and to what extent polarons affect the functioning of a wide set of materials used in solar applications. You will also develop models to understand holistically the influence of polarons on materials properties. You will provide guidance on how to take advantage of charge localization, i.e. select and design materials in which the beneficial effects of polaron formation (reduced overlap, improved reaction kinetics).

You will engage in collaborations with experimental groups. As part of the project, you will be expected to communicate research results both orally at international conferences and in writing in scientific journals.

Qualifications

You should hold a Master degree or equivalent in physics, chemistry or materials science and have a strong interest in computational modeling and electronic structure calculations. You should enjoy working in a collaborative environment including interactions with both theoreticians and experimentalists

To qualify as a PhD student, you must have a master’s level degree corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in a relevant field.

The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English. If Swedish is not your native language, Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

Contract terms

Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.
Read more about doctoral studies at Chalmers here.

We offer

Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg.
Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with reference number 20240001 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, reference number)
• CV
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, ref.number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)
• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form.

Application deadline: 2024-03-31

For questions, please contact:
Associate Professor Julia Wiktor,
julia.wiktor@chalmers.se

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. ***



Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!

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