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PhD student position in thin film growth and dynamic processes in thin film solar cells (MSCA COFUND projects PRISMAS)

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 54,000 students, more than 7,500 employees and a turnover of around SEK 8 billion.


PRISMAS - PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron expertsco-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme.

As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state-of-the-art tools that will bring to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. Complemented with a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Ångström Laboratory provides an innovative and international research environment that can take on technical and societal challenges both now and in the future. The department has 8 divisions including Myfab, our infrastructure for cleanroom-based research.

The division of Solar Cell Technology was founded in 2020, but the solar cell activities at Uppsala University started already in 1994 and developed into a well-established research group. The Solar Cell Technology division consists of about 20 full time active researchers and will expand further in 2023. Read more here: https://www.materialvetenskap.uu.se/solar-cell-technology/

The PhD education at the division of Solar Cell Technology will give you a broad knowledge base within material science and solar cell technology for a career within academia or industry.

The research within the division of Solar Cell Technology is dedicated to fundamental understanding as well as development of effective and potentially low-cost solar cells based on thin film technologies. The focus is on materials containing chalcogens such as sulfur and selenium, e.g. (Ag,Cu)(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) and Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTS), but also perovskites, such as ZrBaS3 and lead-based perovskites. The division has own laboratories in the Ångström clean-room lab and much of the research is carried out in smaller or large collaborations. Part of the research in the group focuses on the use of synchrotron-based methods to study thin film solar cells.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

Project description
Thin film solar cells offer sustainable solution to energy conversion and possibilities to be used in high-efficiency devices (tandem solar cells). A key challenge in thin film solar cells is the understanding of the atomic and chemical structure and their surfaces/interfaces and how they change during fabrication processes or operation, which can limit their performance.

The aim of the project is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the atomic and chemical structures in thin film solar cells under processing conditions or outdoor relevant environments. The focus will be on CIGS and CZTS thin film solar cells, with the overarching goal to increase their efficiency.

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. Supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

Work duties
In the project you will work on both solar cell fabrication and materials characterization mainly by employing X-ray methods, as well as data analysis and publication of research results. You are expected to carry out most of the experimental work at large scale synchrotron radiation facilities (priority: MAX IV Laboratory in Lund/Sweden), but also synthesis of dedicated samples for analysis in the clean-room facility in the Ångström laboratory at Uppsala University. In particular, ambient pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy at the Species beamline at MAX IV will be employed to study: i) thin film growth by atomic layer deposition; ii) annealing dynamics and surface chemistry of absorbers and related interfaces; iii) stability under outdoor relevant environments and operating conditions, i.e., temperature, humidity, oxygen.

You will work in close collaboration with senior researchers at the Department of Physics, Lund University and staff at the Species beamline at MAX IV. The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge. A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

Qualifications requirements
To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2020-05-01 to 2023-05-02 for work or studies as main occupation.

By the employment date (before 01/09/2023) you must have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, have been awarded a Master´s degree or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad. Within the 60 credits from second-cycle courses an independent project of at least 15 credits should be included for admission at Uppsala University.

In addition to the criteria abovementioned, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field, such as physics, engineering physics, chemistry or material science or equivalent which includes courses in solid state physics, advanced materials characterization and surface science/chemistry, semiconductor physics or solar cells.

You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme, if you are a doctoral candidate, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

We require excellent English skills, both oral and in writing.

Additional qualifications
It is an additional merit if you have knowledge and documented laboratory work experience on X-ray material characterization methods, in particular X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, surface chemical reactions and/or thin film technology (i.e.., atomic layer deposition or other vacuum methods), photovoltaics and/or semiconductor material

Personal qualities, such as the ability to manage and run scientific projects and to simultaneously interact with other researchers are very important. The applicant needs to be determined, structured and able to work effectively both individually and in groups

Instructions for applying
The application should consist of:

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.
  • at least one reference letter
  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of academic records (including marks for all coursework) with a transcript of diploma in English,
  • and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

These documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded. The application shall be written in English.

The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience.

Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (lu.se)

Uppsala University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

About the employment
Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines.

The employment is a temporary position for four years at 100% of full time according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. The position is foreseen to start on 01/09/2023. Placement: Uppsala

For further information about the position or research project, please contact: Professor Charlotte Platzer Björkman (charlotte.platzer@uu.se) or dr Natalia Martin (Natalia.Martin@angstrom.uu.se)

If you have questions on the selection process, please contact: prismas@maxiv.lu.se

Please submit your application no later than 2nd May 2023, UFV-PA 2023/837

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? Find out more about what it´s like to work and live in Sweden.

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position

Pay: By agreement

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO tco@fackorg.uu.se
Seko Universitetsklubben seko@uadm.uu.se
Saco-rådet saco@uadm.uu.se

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2023/839

Last application date: 2023-05-02

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