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Job Advertisement: ESR-15: PhD at Merck Chemicals Ltd, United Kingdom
Topic: Design, characterization and manipulation of electronic spin interactions for efficient and stable organic solar cells
Supervisors: Dr. Graham Morse, Dr Priti Tiwana
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Application date: CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS
Starting Date: No later than 1 June 2017
Duration: 3 years

Design, characterization and manipulation of electronic spin interactions for efficient and stable organic solar cells

Fellowship description
Currently, bulk heterojunction organic solar cells (OSC) with greater than 12% efficiencies have been reported based upon a photoactive layer comprising a polymer (donor) and a small molecule (acceptor). These champion OSC devices achieve high power conversion by the efficient migration of excitons to free charge carriers, while minimizing charge recombination. Though this flow of excitons to free charge carriers is crucial to the performance of OSC devices, manipulation of electron spin state during this process still remains largely unexplored. The SEPOMO project, standing for Spins for Efficient Photovoltaic Devices based on Organic Molecules, is an EU public funded project poised to take advantage of the electron spin states of organic materials. SEPOMO is an interdisciplinary and intersectoral consortium comprised of 11 industrial and academic host participants. The project seeks to train 15 talented PhD students in all aspects of organic photovoltaics and spintronics.

The successful candidate will advance OSC performance and improved OSC stability by the manipulation of electronic spin interactions in organic solar cells. The performance and stability of these polymers will be evaluated in bulk heterojunction solar cells (normal & inverted architectures). Expertise in device characterization by UV/Vis, EQE, photo-CELIV, TPV, AFM, profilometry and JV analysis will be developed throughout the project.

The successful candidate will be affiliated and registered with the Technical University Chemnitz and co-supervised by Prof. Carsten Deibel but will be placed in the industrial laboratory at Merck Chemicals in Southampton, UK and supervised by Dr. Graham Morse and Dr. Priti Tiwana. The candidate will spend 28 months on the preparation, optimization and characterization of OSC devices at Merck Chemical. As part of the evaluation device stability will be tested using defined ageing protocols. In addition to working at Merck Chemicals the ESR will include secondments at Technical University Chemnitz (5 month) to study charge extraction losses and Universität Würzburg (3 month) to evaluate spin-dependent recombination in OSCs.

Tasks
The selected candidate will be required to:
- Develop an understanding of spin processes in OSCs
- Fabricate, characterize and optimize OSCs
- Improved performance and stability by manipulating electron spin interactions
- Evaluation of stability of OSCs under ageing protocols
- Develop an understanding of charge carrier dynamics using photo-CELIV and TPV

Training
The successful candidate will receive scientific training in:
• The laboratory scale printing equipment: doctor blades, spin-coaters, mini slot-die
• Surface characterization: AFM, profilometry, SEM
• Optoelectronic characterization: UV-Vis, EQE, photo-CELIV, TPV, solar simulators and equipment
• Fabrication and measurement of bulk heterojunction solar cells

He/she will also receive complementary training in: career development, public outreach, communication, entrepreneurial skills, organisation, networking, scientific writing, and meeting skills.

The successful candidate is expected to actively participate in workshops, summer Schools and conference organised by the SEPOMO consortium.

Requirements
He/she must not have carried out their main research activity in the UK for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.

Principally, he/she must be familiar with the handling of organic materials, ideally for electronic applications (e.g. solar cells), possessing robust practical skills required for characterisation techniques of organic materials (e.g. UV/Vis, profilometry). He/she should be proficient with Microsoft office applications and be able to record and present their work accurately and clearly. He/she should have a strong track record of innovation as demonstrated in their previous academic experiences.

Applicants should be fluent in spoken and written English and excellent communication skills are expected. He/she should demonstrate both the ability to work independently and constructively in a team as required.

Name of the host Institution
Merck Chemicals Ltd.

Name host supervisors
Dr. Graham Morse, Dr. Priti Tiwana

Secondments location
• Technical University Chemnitz (5 month) to study charge extraction losses
• Universität Würzburg (3 month) to evaluate spin-dependent recombination

Name and e-mail address of contact person
Dr. Graham Morse (Partner Leader; R&D Manager)
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Short description of host and co-host institution

Host
Merck Chemicals Ltd. UK R&D site located in Southampton is a pioneering facility for material development for display, electronic, and photovoltaic applications. Its state-of-art laboratories have expertise covering the full spectrum of material development from design & synthesis to application testing. The facility has local professional HR personnel who support training activities of personnel and the R&D activities are fully supported by legal, patent, and chemical production departments located at its parent company, Merck KGaA, in Darmstadt, Germany.

Co-host institution
Chemnitz University of Technology in Saxony, Germany, has over 10000 students, around 750 international students from 100 universities all over the world, and about 160 Professors. It was founded in 1836 as Royal Mercantile College ("Königliche Gewerbeschule") and became a technical university in 1986.

Full Address and website address of host
Merck Chemicals Ltd. - Chilworth Technical Centre, University Parkway, Southampton SO16 7QD, UK http://www.merckchem.co.uk

Main evaluation criteria
• Candidate skill set;
• Prior experience and publication record;
• Motivation for the SEPOMO project and the science & training proposed;
• Willingness to travel, exchange across preconceived scientific barriers and participate in complementary training activities

 

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