Scalability of high-power per weight halide perovskites photovoltaics

The UK strategy for a Net Zero economy by 2050 and the growing electrification of automotive and aircrafts is fuelling investments in the low carbon economy, predicted to be £170 billion/yr by 2030. In parallel, portable electronics will reach trillions of units in the next years generating huge demand for energy sources with high power per weight (W/Kg). Perovskites are a new class of semiconductors for next generation photovoltaics, already achieving certified efficiencies of 25.2% in glass substrates. The manufacturing process is compatible with lightweight, flexible substrates, making it suitable for high W/kg applications (aircrafts, space, IoT devices, etc). However, the lower processing temperatures required on these substrates leads to loss of performance (~12-15% on 10cm2). Understanding local microstructure on the overall performance is critical together with device area increases due to the lack of fast measurements and methods for quantification of structure.

We will develop an innovative and unique capability of advanced sampling and hybrid data strategy with spatially resolved fast spectroscopy to quantify electrical and spectroscopic data to support manufacturability of photovoltaics. The work supported by Airbus, who are examining multifunctional coatings with Surrey. Additionally, Surrey’s net Carbon Zero drive by 2030, envisages development of a solar farm that would provide a dedicated test site to validate lab with real outdoor performance.

Start date
1 January 2022
4 years
Application deadline
Funding information
  • Fully funded iCASE award from EPSRC
  • Full UK/EU tuition fee covered
  • Stipend: £15,609 per annum
  • Personal computer (provided by the department).


As part of the project output we will hope to demonstrate high power-conversion efficiency on large-area flexible substrates: >18% with aperture area >50 cm2; a measurement method (sampling and implementation) for fast spectroscopic and spatially resolved characterisation. Within the contact we will develop hybrid data analysis method with combined optical imaging and electrical characteristics.

Benefits from the project will include accelerated development and validation of new materials and high W/Kg photovoltaics and the ability to provide significant insight into how to increase performance of flexible photovoltaics that will be evaluated in real applications.

The novel sampling and analysis methods are transferable to a wide range of other thin film electronic applications, including power electronics, battery electrodes, etc. Availability of high W/Kg power sources will accelerate growth of the UK’s low carbon economy: portable electronic; electrification of automotive and aerospace industry, including autonomous vehicles.

All facilities associated with the Advanced Technology Institute and NPL at Teddington relevant to the project will be made available to the successful candidate.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates must hold a First-class degree or equivalent or distinction at Masters.

This studentship is only available to UK students. 

IELTS requirements: For non UK based courses an English requirement of 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via the Advanced Technology Institute PhD programme page.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Ravi Silva to discuss their application

Please include a research proposal, your CV and two references. 

Application deadline

Contact details

S. Ravi P. Silva
20 ATI 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689825

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